Morning Report: Notes From a Heavyweight Day; Roy Nelson Demos Shaolin Kung-Fu Training

Esther Lin, MMA FIghting

The routine of fight week is relatively set in stone by now. Wednesday is open workouts. Thursday is the press conference. Friday is weigh-ins. It's a slow build-up meant to crest on fight night, and I have to say, it does a fantastic job, with just enough crumbs trickling out of open workouts to get the anticipation rolling.

Of course, yesterday was no exception.

What we learned:

1.) Junior dos Santos believes he can compete with any professional boxer with just three months training, including Vitali and Wladimir Klitschko, the two longtime Ukrainian heavyweight titleholders. Obviously, the odds on JDS topping the reigning world champs are slim-to-none, but you've got to love the confidence. (Plus, who here can honestly say they wouldn't love to see that just to see it.)

2.) Cain Velasquez effectively shut down the idea of fighting his AKA coach/training partner Daniel Cormier (saying, "There's no point in taking it,") before cracking the door open just a smidge if a belt was involved ("For the title? We'll talk about it if that time comes.") Cormier is basically a top-5 guy now, his UFC debut is inevitable, and both he and Cain have a ton of miles left in this sport. Expect this topic to be revisited.

3.) Frank Mir thought Nick Diaz was "in the clear" before his regrettable hearing with the Nevada State Athletic Commission earlier this week, and found the ruling of a one-year suspension to be "very scary." Just another reminder that the athletes involved in mixed martial arts are just as disenchanted with the state commissions as fight fans.

(Even better, Roy Nelson's distrust in the system is so high that at this point he's willing to fork over his own dime to have his next opponent randomly tested.)

4.) The removal of Alistair Overeem left Bigfoot Silva completely unmotivated to fight Cormier in the Strikeforce Grand Prix semi-finals. And we know what happened there. The lesson in all of this? Never underestimate a massive man who also happens to be an undefeated former Olympian.

5.) Dave Herman, he of the positive marijuana test, was just out "vacationing" in Amsterdam. (Love how he could barely say it with a straight face. You keep doing what you're doing Sasquatch/Pee-Wee/Bigger Country.)

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

UFC 146 open workouts. Whet your appetite for this weekend's heavyweight extravaganza with our exclusive UFC 146 workout photos and complete playlist of pre-fight interviews from Wednesday's open workouts.

The martial chronicles. John Nash recounts the fascinating story of the World Martial Arts Fighting Association, an early precursor to the UFC that started up in the 1980's and nearly revolutionized combat sports.

UFC 146 predictions. Luke Thomas picks the winners of Saturday's UFC 146 heavyweight main card.

K-1 live streams. Mirko Cro Cop returns to the ring to take on Loren Javier Jorge in a K-1 heavyweight superfight at this weekend's K-1 Rising 2012 fight card.

Bellator 70 preview. Get predictions and analysis for tonight's Bellator 70 season finale, featuring a heavyweight title bout that pits surprise season-five winner Eric Prindle against reigning champion Cole Konrad.

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MEDIA STEW

UFC Countdown shows are always worth a look, but watching Roy Nelson evoke the Kung-Fu Panda in part-two of Countdown to UFC 146 is pretty incredible. (For the lazy, Big Country's Shaolin training starts at 4:10. You can also check out part-one with JDS and Mir here.)

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We really don't know what to say about this. I guess it's all fun and games until a bike lands in the cage. (HT: MiddleEasy)

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Remember that whole beef between Rampage Jackson and Joe Rogan? The one where Rampage said Rogan might as well be playing the rusty trombone? Well, here's how they squashed it. (HT: Reddit)

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With all this talk of heavyweights, let's not forget this violent, violent man is fighting on Saturday.

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CHALLENGING THE MAN TO HIS FACE

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BIRTHDAY WISHES

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PAT BARRY THE TROLL

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WOULD PAY TO WATCH THIS

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced yesterday (Wednesday, May 23, 2012):

- UFC on FX 4: Jimmy Hettes (10-0) out, Joey Gambino (9-0) in against Steven Siler (20-9)

- UFC on FX 5 announced for September 7, 2012 at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana

- TUF Live Finale: Justin Lawrence (3-0) vs. John Cofer (7-1)

- TUF Live Finale: Myles Jury (9-0) vs. Chris Saunders (9-2)

- TUF Live Finale: Cristiano Marcello (12-3) vs. Sam Sicilia (10-0)

- TUF Live Finale: Daron Cruickshank (10-2) vs. Chris Tickle (7-4)

- TUF Live Finale: Jeremy Larsen (8-2) vs. Joe Proctor (7-1)

- TUF Live Finale: Byron Bloodworth (6-2) out, Erik Perez (10-4) in against John Albert (7-2)

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes from Mckeeever, who takes the leap to ask: Is Daniel Cormier A Legitimate Challenger to Jon Jones' Throne?

Right now is the time for Cormier to strap on his thinking cap and thoroughly assess his future in the sport. A desirable showdown with 205lb. kingpin Jon Jones, or a claim to the UFC heavyweight title with teammate and ally Cain Velasquez as a foreseeable opponent?

Let's assume the former in this particular case and predict Cormier to endure a calculated training regime with the head coaches at AKA in an effort to cut down to 205lbs. How does the man being hailed as "The Black Fedor" stack up against Jon Jones?

A plethora of former wrestlers seeking to transition into the world of Mixed Martial Arts often struggle to integrate their raw wrestling prowess into the game. Daniel Cormier and Jon Jones however, are unusual exceptions to the rule.

I perceive Daniel Cormier as a Rashad Evans 2.0 prototype. The AKA prized pupil has managed to seamlessly blend his Olympic wrestling abilities into the MMA sphere effortlessly, demonstrated in his recent contest with the hardened grappler, Josh Barnett. On top of his world class grappling prowess, I also believe Cormier possesses the finer tuned striking. The Olympic wrestling powerhouse illustrated his striking finesse in both of his clashes with Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva.

Given the increasingly shallow 205lb. division, I can't think of a better challenger to Jon Jones' ruthless throne. Daniel Cormier has proven to possess a devastating knack for grappling, along with a diverse and ever improving striking game.

Found something perfect for the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's post.

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