Between GLORY's action-packed takeover of New York plus the retirement of one of the greats, to the curiosity surrounding Nick Diaz's entry into the promoting game and a slew of regional goodness, this weekend offered no shortage of distractions for the combat sports aficionados out there.
As always, we're here catch you up on anything that might've slipped through the cracks. So without further ado, pour yourself that morning coffee and let's plow ahead to some headlines.
7 MUST-READ STORIES
UFC on FS1 #3. According to a report from Brazil's Portal do Vale Tudo, a pair of high-profile bouts -- Glover Teixeira vs. Ryan Bader and Yushin Okami vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza -- are in the works for UFC on FS1 #3 on September 4, 2013 at Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Ortiz on Bonnar. Speaking to MMA Junkie, Tito Ortiz said of the UFC's two newest Hall of Fame inductees: "Forrest deserves it. He beat me, and he beat some other really good guys. He was a world champion. He had some great fights. I think he deserves it. As far as Stephan, I have nothing against the guy, but you've got to be a world champion, I think, to be in the Hall of Fame."
Fujii retires. WMMA pioneer Megumi Fujii announced plans to retire at the age of 39 following her upcoming fight at Vale Tudo: Japan on October 3, 2013. With a 26-2 professional record, including a remarkable 22 consecutive wins to start her career, Fujii exits the stage as one of the greatest female fighters to ever compete in the sport.
UFC roster cuts. Six fighters received their walking papers from the UFC following recent losses: Eddie Mendez, Roger Hollett, Anthony Smith, Nah-Shon Burrell, Karlos Vemola and Leandro Silva.
Diaz talks scoring. In an interview with Bloody Elbow, Nick Diaz discussed his views on modern MMA judging. "It's all geared toward this certain scoring criteria that's really ass-backwards," Diaz said. "Spastic movements are made on account of a lack of technical aspects, so some fighters try to make up for this lacking technical aspect with some sort of frantic, spastic movement. And they're awarding points for more of that stuff. They spazz out, all over the f--king place. And, all of a sudden, at the end of the fight, you realize ... Hector Lombard lost [to Tim Boetsch]? What the f--k is that? He landed all the clean shots and stood his ground. That dude [Boetsch] had to bounce around and move around all over the place. Frantically!"
So far this highlight seems to be getting mixed reviews, but damn, that was such a wild fight.
UFC 162's latest:
Tyrone Spong, ladies and gentlemen. That's a bad, bad man right there.
Soccer + rugby + fighting = Calcio Fiorentino, an ancient Italian sport where, at least to my uneducated eyes, it seems like almost anything goes. Seriously, folks, poke around this video for a while and you're bound to see more than a few ridiculous skirmishes.
This is just violent. No other way to describe it. (For the lazy, jump to 3:30.)
How about one more gem from Poland? What this finish lacks in sheer brutality, it more than makes up for in unexpectedness. (For the lazy, jump to 4:00.)
It's official, fight contract just got signed pic.twitter.com/FznDrmY3JG— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 22, 2013
I guess the next stops Vegas— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 22, 2013
My first movie offer from the producer who produced "juice" with the great tupac shakur and all the… http://t.co/elusots2bF— Jon Bones Jones (@JonnyBones) June 21, 2013
AOKI TEST CUTS TO 145
NOW!!!!!少し飲んで明日の朝の計量に備えるぜ！！！こんにちわ。フェザー級！！Hello !!! feather weight class !!!! pic.twitter.com/EnmWwQoHeu— 青木真也 | Shinya Aoki (@a_ok_i) June 22, 2013
KING OF THE RING
For all the fans thank you I wanna let you guys know that u make fighters and I appreciate u guys! It's also because of u I go hard!— TyroneSpong (@Tyrone_spong) June 24, 2013
So thank u all my fans and a big shout out to u all! SALUTE!!!!!— TyroneSpong (@Tyrone_spong) June 24, 2013
#Skywire look at the wind f*****ck! Lets count the Jesus's lol— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) June 24, 2013
This is insane!— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) June 24, 2013
Watching #skywire and sweating profusely— Andrew Craig (@aHIGHLIGHTcraig) June 24, 2013
I barely can walk across the street . The Grand Canyon tho #skywire— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) June 24, 2013
#skywire wow this insanely amazing— Diego Sanchez UFC (@DiegoSanchezUFC) June 24, 2013
All joking aside though, this guy is CRAZY #SkyWalk— Stipe Miocic (@smiocic) June 24, 2013
Soo much more rope to go.. how many times is this guy going to thank Jesus— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) June 24, 2013
Yea bro god has nothing better to do than calm the cable that you volunteered to walk across— Al Iaquinta (@ALIAQUINTA) June 24, 2013
If that was me walking on that tight rope over the Grand Canyon . I would've looked down and fainted ... GAME OVER #Skywire— Derek Brunson (@DerekBrunsonMMA) June 24, 2013
THE BOYS ARE BACK
@LorenzoUFCfan lmao I wish knew also— Nah-shon Burrell (@ttherocknrolla) June 22, 2013
NOT BUYING INTO THE HYPE
Dana says all the fighters he talked to have weidman beating silva. He didnt talk to me. I have silva keeping his belt.— Brad Tavares (@BradTavares) June 23, 2013
@BradTavares he's the goat for a reason. I agree.— Bigslow (@LukeBarnatt) June 23, 2013
@BradTavares got silva all day— Jerome-Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) June 23, 2013
THAT'LL SHOW 'EM
Things I love to do! pic.twitter.com/QWpPoitR2V— Duane Ludwig (@DUANEBANGCOM) June 24, 2013
He doesn't always party with fighters . But when he does it's top UFC welterweights! pic.twitter.com/WPYqWIks1h— Mike Pyle (@Mike_Pyle) June 23, 2013
Announced over the weekend (Friday, June 21, 2013 - Sunday, June 23, 2013):
- UFC on FS1 #3: Glover Teixeira (21-2) vs. Ryan Bader (15-3) targeted for main event, according to Portal do Vale Tudo
- UFC on FS1 #3: Yushin Okami (29-7) vs. Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (18-3), according to Portal do Vale Tudo
- UFC on FS1 #3: Joseph Benavidez (18-3) vs. Jussier Formiga (15-2)
- UFC on FS1 #2: Nandor Guelmino (11-4-1) vs. Derrick Lewis (9-2)
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day is a nostalgic look back, courtesy of Newman24: The 10 Best Fighters Never To Fight In the UFC
After absorbing Strike Force and its roster of fighters earlier this year, the UFC is now, let's be honest, the only ‘big game' in town when it comes to MMA. Sure, Bellator and World Series of Fighting seem to be doing okay for themselves, but really they're light years behind the Zuffa juggernaut. In turn this means that the list of great fighters who have never fought under the UFC umbrella has become that much smaller. Names you would've put on a list like that such as Melendez, Mousasi and Overeem are now fully fledged members of the UFC roster. So that begs the question - who are the best fighters to never fight for the UFC?
I've compiled a list of the ten fighters I'd consider the greatest to never set foot inside the Octagon. Ten fighters who, if things had turned out differently, may have made an impact in the world's biggest MMA promotion. A couple of things to consider, though. Before anyone screams about Sakuraba, for instance, I'm also counting the pre-Zuffa era here, and Saku of course had a cup of coffee in the UFC in the SEG era. Secondly, I won't be mentioning the likes of King Mo Lawal, Eddie Alvarez, and a number of currently unsigned top-ranked Flyweight contenders, as those fighters are still in their primes and could well make their way into the UFC in the future. I'm looking more at those fighters who have either retired or are so far past their best that a UFC run is now highly unlikely. So without further ado....
Honorable Mention: Alexandre Franca Nogueira
‘Pequeno' was the king of the Featherweights in Shooto back in the early 00's; of course, this was when Shooto was pretty much the only promotion to be running that division properly. With his deadly guillotine choke he ruled the division with an iron fist and although he did suffer a couple of losses, he was able to avenge these to keep hold of his title from 1999 to 2005, which is hugely impressive by anyone's standards. The reason he isn't on this list? A UFC run for him was never really a possibility, given UFC didn't run a 145lbs division until 2011 and Pequeno's active career realistically ended in 2009 (he has fought once since; in 2012). Still, I believe a prime Pequeno today could've done great things in the UFC's division. He's a man who came ten years before he should've, really.
#10: Kazuo Misaki
This one might seem like a strange choice given Misaki retired earlier this year with a record of 25-11-2, but the ‘Grabaka Hitman' was actually a tougher out than most give him credit for. I mean, think about it - wins over Dan Henderson, Phil Baroni, Ed Herman, Joe Riggs and Denis Kang are nothing to sneeze at, especially when you consider he was largely undersized at 185lbs for the majority of his career.
Beginning the first stretch of his career under the Pancrase banner, Misaki's best successes undoubtedly came in PRIDE, most notably in 2006 as he was able to upset the odds to win the Bushido Welterweight (183lbs) Grand Prix. Granted, personally I didn't think his victory was very fair, given he came into the finals as an alternate after losing his semi-final to Paulo Filho, but to his credit he did fight an excellent fight to overcome the hot favourite in Denis Kang to capture the championship. Arguably Misaki's biggest career win is one you won't find on his official record, as he knocked out Yoshihiro Akiyama on the Yarrenoka! show on 12/31/2007, but used a soccer kick to do so which was illegal under that promotion's rules. Had the fight been in Misaki's usual stomping ground of PRIDE, he would've come away with a career-defining win over one of the biggest stars in Japanese MMA and a man who was ranked firmly in the top ten at 185lbs at the time.
How would he have done in the UFC, had he come over when he had the chance? Well, that would've been in mid to late 2007, after the PRIDE buyout took place. At that point Misaki was coming off a surprising loss to the out-of-retirement Frank Trigg at PRIDE 33 - a loss which badly damaged his ranking at 185lbs - , but given his stablemate and fellow PRIDE fighter Akihiro Gono instantly dropped to 170lbs upon signing with the UFC I think you could guess that Misaki would've followed suit. At Welterweight I think Misaki might've done alright for himself - his style, almost similar to that of Dan Hardy with a lot of striking, movement, and a slight penchant for brawling - would've been enough to keep him around the mid-level I think for at least a while. I don't think he would ever have made it into title contention - wrestlers like Fitch and Koscheck and eventually the likes of Story, Hendricks and Brenneman probably would've been kryptonite to him, but I don't think it's a stretch to say he would've had at least a five or six fight run in the Octagon.
#9: Sergei Kharitonov
Ranked as high as #4 at Heavyweight during his prime days of 2004/5, Sergei Kharitonov is definitely a man that most MMA fans would've loved to have seen in the UFC at some point in his career. Sergei burst onto the scene largely from nowhere in 2004, coming into PRIDE on the back of winning a pair of tournaments in Ukraine and his native Russia. He made immediate impact, taking out Murilo ‘Ninja' and Semmy Schilt en route to making the semi-finals of the 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix, where he lost out to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira by decision in an entertaining fight. Kharitonov started 2005 with a bang by knocking out Choi Mu Bae and former UFC title challenger Pedro Rizzo, but after a lacklustre decision victory over the then-inexperienced Fabricio Werdum, a reoccurring shoulder injury gave him some serious problems and in his next fight he was upset by Alistair Overeem in his first foray into the Heavyweight division. The scene of Overeem smashing Sergei's face to pieces with some brutal knees was one of the most stunning of 2006. Another loss followed - this time to Aleksander Emelianenko - and that was enough for Kharitonov's stock to tumble badly.
Although he has shown flashes of his former glory since then - most notably with a revenge knockout of Alistair Overeem, this time under the K-1 Hero's banner in 2007, and a knockout of former UFC titleholder Andrei Arlovski in StrikeForce in 2011 - he's never really been able to recapture the form he showed back in 2004 when people were talking about him as a potential challenger to Fedor Emelianenko for the crown of the best Heavyweight in the world. When Zuffa bought out StrikeForce in 2011 the possibility of Sergei making a run in the UFC came back to the forefront, but it never came off and he's been dabbling more and more into kickboxing as of late, meaning I doubt we ever see him enter the Octagon in the future.
What would a UFC run have looked like for Kharitonov? Bring over prime Sergei in 2004/5 and I think he probably would've ended up with the title as the UFC's division was pretty much just Sylvia and Arlovski at that point, but of course, PRIDE was the juggernaut then and a crossover would've been unlikely. He could've come over when PRIDE was bought out in early 2007, but that period was a real nadir for Sergei and most likely he would've crashed and burned and been seen by a certain portion of fans as another PRIDE star who couldn't really cut it in the UFC - in a similar vein to Mirko Cro Cop, for instance. I don't think, for example, he would've matched well at all with Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez, or even the 2007-8 versions of Gabriel Gonzaga and Cheick Kongo. In 2011 following his brief StrikeForce run you're probably looking at similar results. Really, Kharitonov's prime was cut short by injury which is sad, as he could've developed into one of the true great Heavyweights had he continued to rise from the point he reached in 2005. As it is, he's a missed opportunity, but I still think he belongs on this list.
Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me on Twitter @shaunalshatti and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.