Author Archives: oleg

Impact of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ on the UFC

28 Sep , 2020,
oleg

It is unquestionable that the UFC would not be what it is today, if not for ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ reality TV series. Prior to the first season of TUF, which featured 16 fighters competing for two six-figure contracts in the light-heavyweight and welterweight divisions, UFC – and MMA as a whole – were more or less on life support. At the time when an opportunity to produce a UFC-themed reality show presented itself, the fans could only watch UFC on Pay-Per-View (PPV), with on average 5-6 events held every year. The success of ‘TUF’ season 1, and especially it’s live finale – the first time live MMA was broadcast on a US cable network – propelled MMA & UFC into the eye of the mainstream US viewer.

The winners of the first season, Forest Griffin and Diego Sanchez, became instant stars and household names. The bloody, back-and-forth war between Griffin and Stephen Bonnar is to this day widely regarded as one of the most exciting and important match-ups in MMA history. Griffin became the first of many Ultimate Fighter alumni to capture the UFC gold, retired while not far removed from his peak, and still holds a back office job with the company. Sanchez on the other hand remains an active fighter – the only Season 1 contestant to still fight in the Octagon, having racked up 32 bouts book-ended by his win at the Season 1 finale and his most recent loss to Jake Matthews at UFC 253.

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Most Anticipated MMA Comebacks for 2021

20 Sep , 2020,
oleg

What a year it has been! I don’t know about you but I for one am ready for 2020 to be over.  While we still have a few fun fights to look forward to this year, like the upcoming UFC 253 with double-header title matchups – or the highly anticipated matchup between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje in October, my curiosity has been piqued by the recent rumors of several retired fighters who will be making a return to action next year. These bouts might be even more exciting if you wager money on your favorite fighter, but be sure to first read online casino reviews before placing a bet.

Georges St. Pierre

The MMA GOAT won’t be coming out of retirement for just anyone. Since hanging up the gloves and relinquishing the UFC welterweight title in 2013, GSP had only one fight, beating Michael Bisping for the middleweight belt in 2017 and promptly retiring again. Now, rumors are swirling for St. Pierre to return to the Octagon one more time – to take on lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, for a chance to win the third divisional title for GSP.

There are many obstacles in the way of this fight happening.  For one, Khabib would have to get past Justin Gaethje in his scheduled title defense at UFC 254. Then, there is the negotiating process involved to put together a match-up of this magnitude. Let’s all hope that Nurmagomedov, GSP, and UFC president Dana White will all be on the same page to make this happen.

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Online Casinos: Is It Worth Joining One?

2 Jun , 2020,
oleg

Gambling is something that has always received its fair share of good reviews as well as negative criticism. However, with time, people are now becoming more receptive to the whole idea of gambling. The introduction of the online casinos heightened the whole gambling experience, and this is something that gamblers can attest to. Many people worldwide have joined online casinos such as Casino EnergyCasino, and they enjoy every bit of it. If you are a bit skeptical about taking the plunge, here are some reasons why joining one is without a doubt a good idea:

They are convenient

Convenience is something that wins the hearts of many people. Anything that has been made easier for you is something you should take advantage of- and this is exactly what online casinos did! You can now say goodbye to the long trips to the physical casinos, the loud casino noises, and the stress you had to go through before deciding what attire to wear to the traditional casino. Today the online casinos are a click away. All you need to access an online casino is a mobile device and a good internet connection, and that’s just it!

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Therapy for the Sports Fans

7 May , 2020,
oleg

We’re now approaching two months into an almost complete lock-down of the United States, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As our nation and the rest of the world are looking to gradually resume normalcy, the state of professional sports is not looking good for the rest of 2020. While NFL is still planning to kick off the 2020-2021 season in the fall, both NBA and NHL likely won’t start their regular seasons until the very end of the year – and that’s the best case scenario. However MMA followers might have it better than the fans of more traditional ball-and-stick team sports: there are only 3 people who have to be in the combat arena at any given time, which makes it far more reasonable to practice some semblance of social distancing. UFC president Dana White has been raring at the bit to bring back violent action in the Octagon. And while UFC 249 had to be postponed from the originally scheduled date of April 18th, it looks like things have finally fallen into place – though we won’t be seeing the long awaited lightweight title bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov just yet, we are going to see some actual MMA fights this Saturday! (Fingers crossed).

Of course in the big scheme of things, lack of professional sports is a comparatively minor problem during a pandemic. Aside from the obvious worrying about infection and illness, a huge number of people are out of work and have a hard time paying the bills or putting food on the table. And even those of us who are lucky to still have a job – and perhaps even an ability to work remotely from the safety of our homes – are bound to be affected by the uncertainty of the current situation.  The anxiety can build up, leading to depression and other psychological issues. If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, please seek professional help. You might think that you can’t afford it, but the cost of therapy may be less than you realize. And while it’s easy to dismiss sports as meaningless entertainment, for those of us who are used to watching MMA fights every weekend – or basketball games several times a week, the change in routine brings additional free time to fill. This is certainly not helping anyone’s mental state. Luckily, Dana White and UFC are coming to the rescue. Let’s take a look at three top-billed fights from each of the three UFC events scheduled in the next ten days.

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The 3 Benefits of Boxing as a Sport

19 Feb , 2020,
oleg

Boxing is one of the oldest sports in existence. However, it can be argued that it has experienced a decrease in popularity in recent years compared to the olden days. This is due to the rise of other sports which continues to grow in fame, and in turn may be siphoning away some of the boxing fans.

The decline in popularity can also be linked to the fact that many people think that boxing is only meant for professionals. The assumption is not true since the sport is suitable for people of different age groups and skill levels. Regardless, boxing remains to be of the greatest sports ever.

Boxing affords boxers and lovers of the sport with three main benefits:

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Jon Jones and the State of the Light-Heavyweight Division

3 Feb , 2020,
oleg

UFC is kicking off 2020 with back-to-back Pay-Per-View events showcasing two of their biggest stars: while UFC 246 featured the long-awaited return of Conor McGregor, this coming Saturday UFC 247 will take us to Houston, Texas – where the reigning light-heavyweight champion and top ranked Jon Jones will put his title on the line against the undefeated [#9] Dominick Reyes.

Besides the big stars in the main event, these cards have something else in common. For one, a relatively weak undercard – something to be expected these days with a big-name main event. UFC 247 does have another title fight, with Valentina Schevchenko defending the women’s flyweight belt against Katlyn Chookagian in the co-main, but the quality of match-ups drops off drastically after that. The quality of the undercard aside, even the main event seems like a foregone conclusion. This was true for McGregor vs Cerrone, and the fight played out much like most fans and pundits envisioned.  The same seems to be the case for Jones vs Reyes. Some MMA sportsbooks are offering great odds for this fight, if you want to drop a few bucks on the champion, or try to win big betting on the underdog challenger. But I am not a gambler, so I will instead examine this fight from the sporting perspective – as well as the overall state of the UFC’s light-heavyweight division, which was once the showcase of the promotion.

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McGregor vs Cerrone – Preview

5 Jan , 2020,
oleg

After taking a couple of weeks off, UFC will be kicking off 2020 with a return of their biggest star of the decade taking on the most decorated veteran and record holder who has never held a title. UFC 246: McGregor vs Cerrone will be one of those events that doesn’t have a star-studded undercard, and is marketed on the strength of the main event alone.

Conor McGregor will be facing Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone at welterweight; and while this is not a particularly meaningful fight from the divisional title perspective and not exactly a ‘Super-Fight’ either, it is an interesting bout which should be competitive and fun for as long as it lasts.  Here, I will be taking a look at the careers of both fighters, the numerous acclaims and records they hold in the UFC, and the stylistic matchup. And if you are into UFC betting, putting some cash on whoever you think will take home the W might make watching this fight even more exciting.

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UFC 239 Preview

27 Jun , 2019,
oleg

It’s been almost a year since I’ve done a UFC event preview blog. We are now halfway through 2019 – which will be remembered in MMA history as the start of the UFC & ESPN partnership – and quickly coming up on what is shaping up to be the biggest card of the year so far, assuming all the fighters make it to the opening bell without suffering injuries, failing USADA tests, or any other mishaps.

As UFC 239 approaches, the odds for the two champions on the card, Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes, are getting longer. Jones opened as roughly a -900 favorite against the aging Thiago Santos, but is now closer to -650. Nunes’ dip is less pronounced, going from about -375 to -330 in her bout with dangerous striker Holly Holm. Once fight night rolls round and you want to know a trusted source based on first-hand experiences for UFC betting, look no further than my top sportsbooks lists of sites which are given ratings from users and editors.

The appetizer to the main events, Ben Askren, has seen his odds improve. Initially a -215 favorite against Jorge Masvidal, Askren’s been bet up to -350. Bettors likely see Masvidal, who was taken down four times by Demian Maia, having a huge problem staying off the mat against Askren’s Olympic-level wrestling.

With all that in mind, here is a brief preview of the UFC 239 main card:

(C) [#1 LHW] Jon Jones vs [#6 LHW] Thiago Santos for the UFC Light Heavyweight title

While Jon ‘Bones’ Jones is unarguably one of, if not the greatest fighter in the history of the sport, he is just as unarguably one of the most controversial. Whatever trouble Jones manages to get himself into seems to always roll off him like water off a duck’s back – whether it be PED failures, lawsuits or running afoul of the law, he comes out of every scandal virtually unscathed – only to soon become entangled again in a new set of shenanigans.  While his troubles have not been an overall significant detriment to his career, they forced him to take an occasional break from action. Because of this Jones has only fought once a year dating back to 2014.  This trend has now been turned around, as he will be defending his title for the second time this year and taking his third fight overall in seven months since regaining the title in a rematch with Alexander Gustaffson at the end of 2018.

Jon’s slated opponent Thiago “Marreta” Santos,  much like his previous opponent Anthony Smith, started out his UFC career as a middleweight and had a somewhat spotty record prior to moving up to 205 lbs and winning three in a row before getting a shot at Jones. There, the similarities end.  While Anthony Smith is a well rounded fighter who is equally adept at taking his opponents out with strikes as he is at making them tap out, the Brazilian Hammer Santos focuses almost exclusively on destroying his opposition with a wide array of strikes thrown with the most damaging intentions. And while Smith was very passive and almost timid in his fight with Jones, which allowed Jon to effectively neutralize Anthony and cruise to a one-sided decision, I don’t feel that Santos will change his ultra-aggressive style for anyone. Unfortunately for Thiago, his aggression may very well play right into Jon’s hand. Marreta’s path to victory is clear: throw everything including the kitchen sink at Bones in hopes of dealing concussive damage. The longer this fight goes on, the less likely are the odds that Santos lands a knockout strike. And I just can’t pick someone whose best chance is a striker’s chance, to beat Jon Jones. Nor have I seen the type of takedown defense or ground skill from Santos that would allow him to survive until the final bell without Bones choking him out or destroying his face with brutal elbows from the top position as he’s done to many of his past opponents.

The real burning question headed into this fight is how many picograms of Turinabol will show up in Jon’s bloodstream this time around. I wonder if there are any sportsbooks taking prop bets on this action.

Prediction: Jon Jones by submission or TKO (ground and pound).

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Cowboy Cerrone continues to shatter UFC records

12 Jun , 2019,
oleg

Donald ‘Cowboy’ Cerrone has been competing as a professional MMA fighter for over 20 years, and in the UFC Octagon since 2011. While he’s never held a UFC belt (not even an interim one), coming up short in his only title shot against then lightweight king Raphael dos Anjos in 2015, Cerrone has remained among the MMA elite for his entire career. He has consistently been ranked in the Top 20 fighters in the world at lightweight or welterweight since his third UFC fight, a first round stoppage over Charles Oliveira, and has reached as high as #2 at 155 lbs and #5 at 170. He is also the winningest and the most active fighter in UFC history.

Last year, we published an article musing on who will be the first UFC fighter to achieve 30 fights in the promotion, and did a follow-up piece a few months later. Since then, Cowboy went from 27 UFC bouts at the time of the first article, to the current record of 32. So despite a disappointing loss to Tony Ferguson at UFC 238, Cerrone remains a legend of the Octagon and a future lock for the UFC hall of fame.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at Donald’s accomplishments (striking statistics courtesy of UFCStats.com).

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Boxing vs MMA: When Worlds Collide

20 Feb , 2019,
oleg

Through the ages, long before the term ‘Mixed Martial Arts’ has ever been uttered or even conceived, the practitioners and spectators of various martial arts and combat sports have asked the question: which art is the most effective of them all? And the beginnings of modern MMA were intended to precisely answer that question (and the answer, at least around the time of early UFCs, was Brazilian Jiu Jitsu). Of course the days of “style vs style” are long behind us, and today to be a successful mixed martial artist, one needs to have a diverse skill set that borrows from a plethora of martial arts and styles. However we still experience an occasional cross-over matchup between practitioners of different arts. In this article, I will examine some of the most notable cross-overs between mixed martial arts and boxing.

Conventional wisdom dictates a significant “home court” advantage in a style-vs-style matchup: if a boxer faces a mixed martial artist in a ring under boxing rules, the boxer is a lot more likely to win than if the bout took place under MMA rule set – and vice versa. Betting odds reflect this, and so do most of the past fight outcomes. So if you’re a gambler, you could place a large, relatively safe bet for a comparatively small payoff on the odds favorite. Or you could take a big risk with a small bet on the underdog, in hopes of a big payoff if your prediction comes true.  Either way, next time your favorite MMA star steps into the boxing ring, you can get some help from the UK’s betting sites.

Art Jimmerson vs Royce Gracie

While this can’t be exactly be called a “boxing vs MMA” matchup – since MMA did not exist yet, and Royce Gracie represented BJJ in the first UFC – we have to start at the beginning. The very beginning might technically be Muhammad Ali vs Antonio Inoki, but UFC 1 is usually a good starting point for anything MMA-related. Of course the first UFC was organized and promoted by the Gracie family as a means of letting the world know about Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and to show that GJJ/BJJ was the supreme martial art. To this end, rumor has it that UFC 1 competitors were not truly the best of the best at their individual sports, to assure an easier path to victory for Royce. Art Jimmerson is a good example of this – while he had a respectable boxing record of 29-5 prior to his fight with Gracie, Jimmerson did not earn many accolades in the boxing world. He also went 4-13 upon returning to the right after his brief UFC stint, indicating that he may have already been past his prime when he faced Gracie. Regardless, Art clearly had no clue of what he was getting himself into – of course, neither did most other UFC 1 contestants. Inexplicably, Jimmerson showed up to his one and only match in the Octagon wearing a single boxing glove, and was quickly taken down and mounted by Gracie. Trapped on his back with no idea how to escape the position, Jimmerson panicked and tapped out rather than absorb needless punishment. And thus began the legend of Royce Gracie.

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