UFC 113 – Pick’em

Posted in MMA with tags , , , , on May 7, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

The UFC’s mindset lately has been more quantity than quality.  Although every now and then in the UFC’s flooded PPV schedule you will find one that will not allow you to take any bathroom breaks.  UFC 113 is one of those cards and has been marked on my calendar for months.  No Kimbo talk here (because it’s not worth the space) but this card has fights really worth talking about:

Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley



Two loud mouth jerks.  One a bruising British striker.  The other an American wrestler who wants to be a striker (see Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans).  Each wishing to become the next in line to challenge, and I use that word lightly, for Georges St. Pierre’s welterweight championship.

Koscheck has been on the brink of a 2nd title shot for seems to be an eternity.  Paul Daley is one of the hottest rising stars in the promotion’s deepest division.  He’s left a path of broken and busted bodies since crashing onto the UFC scene.  Josh Koshceck has been up and down over the past few years. Although the current form of Koscheck arms the perfect foil for Daley’s championship hopes.  So who wins?

Pick:  Josh Koscheck

Simply put, Koscheck finally remembered his meal ticket has always been his wrestling.  By going back to the basics he thrashed Anthony Johnson.  Daley has plenty of trouble holding his own against strong wrestlers.  There is nothing that would have me believe Daley has corrected this problem.  Koscheck will use his superior wrestling and extinguish Daley from any talk about title contention.

Light Heavyweight Championship : Lyoto Machida vs. Mauricio Rua


This is what mixed martials arts is all about.

Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida almost effortlessly tore through the division on his way to the top.  No one had been able to even brush Machida much less connect with a meaningful shot.  Then along came Mauricio “Shogun” Rua.  Shogun did what most people thought was impossible.  He made Machida look mortal.  He came into the 1st fight with a brilliant game plan pushed Machida to his breaking point.  It was a masterful performance by Shogun, but too bad it wasn’t enough.

The controversy that followed prompted an immediate rematch.  Fight fans are beaming for another fight between these two geniuses of the sport.

Pick:  Lyoto Machida

Lyoto Machida was thrown for a loop when Shogun approached the fight the way he did. It forced him to dig down deep and pull a razor thin decision.  That said more about Lyoto Machida than many of his other wins.  Shogun will undoubtedly have another surprising plan but Machida is maybe the most intelligent fighter in the UFC.  Machida will be more evolved, more aware and better prepared for anything Shogun has in store for the rematch.  He’ll be ready for anything and he will add to his growing legend by winning a clear decision.

Advertisements

A Heavy Load

Posted in Boxing, MMA with tags , , , , on April 27, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Rumors are hard to keep in this day and age.  With the power of the internet at your fingertips, you can find out anything about anybody at any given time.

Even though Dana White has yet to confirm what we already know, it’s safe to say it maybe the most pivotal match in MMA history.

Randy Couture will present MMA at UFC 118 against former boxing champion James Toney.  Captain America vs the Detroit Motormouth.  The weight of an entire sport is resting firmly on the aging shoulders of Randy Couture.

Talk about pressure.

The seemingly endless debate of boxing vs. MMA will reach a conclusion in an intriguing battle between these over-the-hill stars.

Although I wish it were someone other than Randy Couture to get the call, but I have to say the fight makes sense.  Both guys are well past their primes and who better to test a boxer in the cage than the man who set the standard for modern-day grapplers?

Some skeptics will say that Toney is Dana White’s sacrificial lamb, but they obviously know nothing about James Toney.  He’s no slouch; not by any stretch of the imagination.

Although if you believe a traditionalist mixed martial artist, then Toney will be finished the moment he’s taken down.  James Toney has the best hands in the UFC. Hands down.  No one else in the promotion comes close.  If he lets his hands go, then it can be a nightmare for aspiring grapplers shooting for a take down.

That doesn’t bode well for Couture has been TKO’d in most of his losses.

Speaking of loses, Toney’s whiskers have never failed him.  Once he signed he immediately became the man with the best chin in the UFC stable.  Finishing him via strikes will prove to be most difficult.

Making Couture’s plight worse is that the entire sport of MMA is counting on him for the proverbial “I told you so”.  A loss suffered here will set back the sport for a long time.

Forget Sidney Crosby, Lance Armstrong and Tiger Woods.  Never before has a sport been so deeply hinged on a single performance by one of its athletes.  James Toney and boxing nothing to lose in this fight.  Both will be fine win or lose.  If Couture gets put to sleep then so does MMA.  It’ll go back to being regarded as a novelty act.

If that happens neither Couture nor MMA would want to awaken from that slumber.






There Goes The Superbowl

Posted in NFL with tags , , , on April 22, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Damn it, damn it, damn it!  Drew Brees was voted to be on the cover of Madden 2011.  People scoff at the talk of a curse but you can’t ignore the overwhelming evidence that supports it.  It’s hard enough to make the playoffs the season following the Super Bowl but now the Saints have some serious voodoo on their franchise player.  Drew Brees has always defied the odds and he accomplished the impossible by winning a Super Bowl in New Orleans.  So if anyone can break the curse it’s Drew Brees.  Although me saying that doesn’t make me feel any better.

Sucker Punch: Strikeforce

Posted in MMA with tags , , on April 19, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

What’s not to love about Strikeforce?  Strikeforce did it again this past Saturday by providing us with an absolutely free card featuring some of the biggest names in the sport.  With any fight card, “Strikeforce:  Shields vs. Henderson” had it high points and some really low points.  Either way, Strikeforce gave us plenty to talk about Monday morning at the water cooler:

Say what you want about Jason Miller interrupting Jake Shield’s interview….

but the Cesar Gracie camp should feel like punk bitches for the post fight melee.  They need to realize the damage their actions caused the promotion that employs many of them.  There was no need for the entire team to shamelessly swarm and beat on Miller like they did on live television.  Post-fight challenges and shoving matches are nothing new in the fight business.  It’s how many future matches come to realization and certainly a simple intervention would have been sufficient. The wolf pack mentality has no place in the sport often praised for its all-around respect.  Cesar Gracie’s lynch mob did more damage to MMA then they did to Miller when they jumped him.

Mad props goes to….

Gilbert Melendez for putting a final stamp on his win over Japanese superstar Shinya Aoki.  Melendez bashed Aoki on every corner and when Aoki crab crawled after him, Melendez nailed him as he did the whole fight.  Melendez wanted to finish strong and was simply not content with a stellar shut out win.  That killer instinct is what makes him special.

Mo Lawal won but…

rounds 1 & 2 of fight should serve precedent for re-evaluating position versus damage scoring. How can you constitute an elbow to the head to be more valuable than just lying on top of someone and absorbing damage?  Dominant position has value when a fighter imposes his will but if his will gets him beat up from the guy in the inferior position (bottom), then how does he win the exchange?  Should a submission hold more value if the victory comes from a dominant position?  Of course not.  Therefore striking from the bottom should not cease to exist just because the man on top is unable mount any offense.  It’s an unfair advantage that only benefit wrestlers and eradicates everything we learned from Royce Gracie.

Someone needs to tell….

Dan Henderson to go in to a championship fight with a better game plan than just wanting to end the fight with a big right hand.  Henderson got lazy and was humiliated because of it.  Getting schooled by a blown up welterweight was a total embarrassment for Henderson and he’s been in this sport too long for him to have Chuck Liddell syndrome.



Bust or Bust

Posted in NFL with tags , , on April 14, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

When a college quarterback enters the NFL draft you know almost immediately if he is going to be a quality player in the NFL.  Hyping up players before the draft is nothing new, but this is a bad year for quarterbacks – period.  Regardless of what the media says about either Sam Bradford or Jimmy Clausen, neither are going to set the world on fire once they’re pros.

What triggered me the most is the way the media was all over Jimmy Clausen because he only threw 2 incomplete passes on his pro day.  So what? The ESPN the Magazine does and article on the way Clausen throws a pretty spiral.  Like any of this is going to translate into him becoming a quality NFL QB.

How about focusing more on how immature he is and that he has an attitude problem?  Getting knocked the hell out after leaving a restaurant should throw up a flare about the kind of negative attention he brings.  He’s a punk and character goes a long way in the NFL (see Matt Ryan).

Sam Bradford gets injured his last year, come back with like 13 lbs. of added muscle and suddenly he’s a stud?  I don’t get it. Brady Quinn is bulging with muscles all over his body and he can’t complete a pass to save his life.  Not to mention he played in the same offensive system as Clausen and it didn’t matter if it was pro-style because he still sucks.  When a quarterback has it you just know it.

The media keeps trying to spin this and blow it up as they always do, but the added attention they give Clausen and Bradford clearly show how bad this draft class is regarding QBs.  Quarterbacks are the poster boys of a franchise and any GM should proceed with extreme caution when drafting either Clausen or Bradford.  It’s like choosing either JaMarcus Russell or Brady Quinn all over again.  And we all know how well that turned out for those teams.  Face it, either way the drafting teams are screwed.



Guaranteed Money

Posted in Boxing with tags , , , on April 13, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley

Floyd Gayweather knows a thing or two about money.  He knows how to make it.  He knows how to throw it away.  He also knows how to stay money inside the ring.

Come May 1st, I will not be one of the many forking over $50 for Gayweather’s match against “Sugar” Shane Mosley.  There’s no need to when Gayweather’s victory is pretty much guaranteed.  Barring some freak occurrence, boxing’s biggest bitch will walk away with a decision win.

Two fights ago, Mosley stopped Ricardo Mayorga at 2:59 of the very last round.  Had the fight not been waved off, Mosley would have won by majority decision.  The encounter was a victory but it’s a prime example of Mosley’s masked declining ability.

It was a rare case where the finish depreciates a fighter.  Mayorga’s was everyone’s favorite come back victim because he could be easily outclassed by a technical boxer.  He was the perfect opponent for a fighter wanting to knock some rust off and look dominant in the process.  Mayorga should have never seen the championship rounds in that fight.  Oscar De La Hoya ran through him in 6; Tito Trinidad in 8.  There’s no excusing the fact Mayorga shouldn’t have survived as long as he did considering how overmatched he was against Mosley.

It’s hard to take away from a win much less two, but Mosley’s win against Antonio Margarito is another that deceived many.  Margarito can say he didn’t know about the illegal hand wraps, but every boxer knows how his hand wraps are done.

Judging by the look on his face and the way he fought, Margarito just wanted out of there.  He didn’t know what to do without the plaster wraps and he didn’t want to find out.  How else do you explain Margarito retreating, half the production of his normally furious pace, unwillingness to hunt down and walk through shots?  He fled and essentially gave up.  Mosley deserves credit for finishing him, but it’s another fruitless triumph due to the deflated version of Antonio Margarito that night.

There is almost nothing I would much rather see than to watch Gayweather lose, but unfortunately I will have to wait a little bit longer.  Mosley is one of the finest fighters of any generation but the sun is setting on his career.  It goes without saying Gayweather is well aware of this.  It’s why the fight was made in the first place.  The Mayorga and Margarito fights illustrated the bleak chance of an upset.

Shane Mosley doesn’t use his jab much anymore.  His rolling shoulders are gone.  His speed isn’t what it used to be.  He has his work cut out for him against the defensive mastery that Floyd Gayweather brings.  Mosley will land his shots but not enough of them to supplant Gayweather.

Mosley’s best chance is to turn it into a fight instead of a boxing match.  It’ll never happen against Gayweather.

Floyd Gayweather’s perfect record was no accident.  He’s reached his perch by following a carefully crafted and cunning plan.  He remains there by risking little and talking a lot.  Against Shane Mosley, Gayweather is out of harm’s way and will have plenty to brag about with Mosley’s name on his resume’.





Heartbroken

Posted in Wrestling with tags , , on April 1, 2010 by Dallas O'Malley


HBK. The Showstopper. The Icon that can still go. Mr. Wrestlemania. The journey that began back in Texas circa 1984 came to a sad end this past Monday night in Arizona; the birthplace of the Heartbreak Kid. Fittingly, one of the greatest careers in wrestling history ended where he life trek to wrestling superstardom began. Unlike most retirements in pro wrestling, Shawn Michaels’ is honest and not another carefully created storyline.

His career truly transcended wrestling. His Ironman Match against Bret Hart at Wrestlemania XII is arguably the best wrestling match of all-time. Shawn Michaels’ gift was pushing the envelope and setting a standard that will never be matched.

When the WWE needed a superstar to introduce a groundbreaking match, Shawn Michaels got the call. It’s a true testament to the masterful artistry of his craft. With it he captured the imagination of everyone who had the privilege of watching him perform. His ability was breathtaking. His sense for the moment was unsurpassed.

Even well past his physical prime, he currently rides a 6 year (2004-2009) streak of winning Match of the Year by Pro Wrestling Illustrated. Prior to his injury imposed exile following Wrestlemania XIV, Michaels owned a 4 year streak for Match of the Year.

Pro wrestling lost the greatest performer in its history Monday night. He forever has a place at wrestling’s round table with the likes of Hulk Hogan, Bret Hart, Ric Flair, Andre the Giant, Stone Cold Steve Austin and the Undertaker. Like his iconic peers at that table, Shawn Michaels will never be replaced. If the WWE was Motley Crue, then he was Vince Neil and those following him would be John Corabi. The business of pro wrestling will roll on, but it certainly will never be the same without HBK.

So long Shawn Michaels and thanks for all the memories.