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Articles of 2006

Unstoppable?!? Anderson Silva Stops Franklin

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Saturday's UFC 64: Unstoppable at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas delivered a fight night full of surprises and the main event was the pinnacle of such as Brazilian Anderson Silva shocked Rich “Ace” Franklin to capture the UFC Middleweight title.

Champion Franklin is one of the sport's most respected and well-conditioned stars with an impressive record and a balanced freestyle attack that mixes striking well with a tight ground game. In taking on Anderson “The Spider” Silva, Franklin was meeting a very dangerous striker with Anderson having a solid Muay Thai and Jiu-Jitsu background. Wagering lines for the main event had Franklin holding as a solid -200 favorite at Diamond Spotsbook (www.betdsi.com) right up until fight time as backers of Silva took back +170. Although each weighed in at the 185 pound middleweight limit, Franklin was more physically impressive with his ripped, muscled physique. Still, the entire premise of disciplines such as Jiu-Jitsu is that weaker can overcome stronger by using leverage and submissions against seemingly stronger opponents and the show certainly would go on.

The bout began in a manner which would most favor the underdog from Curitiba as the two fighters began throwing kicks and punches, which is the style a feared striker like Silva preferred. Fresh off a 49 second destruction of Chris Leben, Silva would prove the victory over Leben inside the Octagon was no fluke. As the fighters first got close Franklin was all too willing to engage in a clinch with Silva, and this may have been the beginning of the end for “Ace.” The fighters traded knees to the body as Silva seemed to get the better of these exchanges despite Franklin attempting to land uppercuts on the inside. After briefly separating, the two were back to a clinch where Silva was set to do his best work. Franklin had a hard time getting free of Silva and decided to trade blows inside with the feared striker and the knees to the body from Silva clearly did more damage.

Spinning Franklin to the cage, Silva began to punish his opponent to the head and body with his wicked blows as the champion fought back as best he could yet seemed unable to break free or block, and was definitely getting the worse of the battle. In an attempt to cover his battered body, Franklin dropped his hands and left an opening upstairs. The experienced Silva took advantage with efficiency, firing a pulverizing knee to the face that broke the school teacher’s nose on impact and contorted Franklin's face.

Shaken to his molars and clearly out of it from the devastating blow, Franklin began his long lonely walk on Queer Street by wobbling toward the fence and tasting another partial kick as Silva jumped on his injured opponent. Before sustaining much more damage, the now former middleweight champion crumbled to the canvas in a heap. Silva did not pounce but rather hesitated just enough for referee “Big” John McCarthy to call a stunning finish to the one-sided beat down.

It was surprising to see that Rich Franklin did not have a different plan of attack, or that he wasn't able to implement one. It could be that Franklin simply underestimated his opponent and his power. However, considering the manner in which Silva destroyed granite-chinned Chris Leben that shouldn't have been the case. The Cincinnati native Franklin is always in fantastic condition and is more than capable of winning a possible rematch, but he may have to wait his turn. At the post-fight conference Mike “Quick” Swick called out his claim to the title shot, although UFC President Dana White correctly suggested that Swick may still need a fight or two under his enthusiastic belt.

Very notable on the undercard was shaggy Clay “The Carpenter” Guida taking on dangerous “Pretty Boy” Justin James in a 15-pound bout. With the UFC's new commitment to the lower weight divisions Guida is well positioned to have success should he continue to fight the way he did against James on Saturday. Well-rounded with an excellent chin to back up his strong college wrestling experience, Guida has had success with regional titles on his way to recording over 20 MMA victories.

The bout began with Justin James using his hands and kicks to keep Guida away, obviously well aware of Guida's wrestling expertise. After an early exchange that favored the “Pretty Boy,” the fighters were reset to the center of the ring. The -230 betting favorite, Guida used the opportunity to clinch again and absorbed some shots on his way to taking the fight to the ground. “The Carpenter” began to throw anything and everything as James found himself defending for most of the round. His patience nearly paid off as he maneuvered an arm bar with Guida on top of the now face-down James. Despite having a deep position James was unable to get enough leverage from the position in order to finish the bout. That, and the fact that Guida is very flexible and crafty, lead to Guida being able to maneuver into position to extract his arm and fight on another round.

The second and final round of the action-packed fight saw Guida with an all-out attack on his striking opponent as The Carpenter took Double-J to the ground once more. “Ground and pound” it was as Guida threw punches, elbows and even Mongolian chops down on his opponent in a ferocious attack. Relentless until the end, Guida had James seeking to take cover and in the process gave the fight away by giving up his back. That was the end as Guida skillfully seized the opportunity to secure a rear naked choke hold forcing James to tap out. Guida's granite chin, wrestling expertise and infectious enthusiasm make the Illinois fighter a fighter one to look out for.

The blood fest that was Lightweight Championship saw “Muscleshark” Sean Sherk overcome a strong willed Kenny Florian to take a unanimous five round decision. Sherk, a -350 favorite Saturday, was cut badly near his hairline as Florian landed at least two sharp elbows from the bottom that split Sherk open and had him dripping blood like a leaky faucet all through the bout. Still, Sherk was simply too strong for Florian and dominated the bout on the mat putting his wrestling background and strength to good use. Florian fared well with kicks when the fighters were standing up, but those moments were few and far between as Sherk effective dropped elbows inside and simply wore down his determined opponent.

Upset of the night as far as bettors were concerned had -500 favorite Cheick Kongo losing a split decision to undefeated yet untested Carmelo Marrero. Kongo utilized his Muay Thai expertise well but Marrero kept his distance and took advantage on the ground where Kongo was his weakest.

Up-and-coming Jon Fitch was the slight favorite and went on to win a lopsided decision over Kuniyoshi Hironaka. Hironaka holds impressive wins over several name fighters among UFC fans but simply couldn't get anything going against Fitch who defended a deep triangle early in the bout and won the bout fighting effectively both from his feet and on the ground.

Kurt Pelligrino forced Junior Assuncao to tap out in the first round after the submission specialist Pelligrino took the fight to the ground and in short order had his opponent's back. A rear naked choke hold ended things at 2:04 of the opening round of the night's opening bout.

Yushin Okami starched Canada's Kalib Starnes by third round TKO as Okami's striking was simply too much for Starnes. Still with lot's of potential, Starnes had taken a big step up in competition, but gained some valuable experience in the loss.

Spencer Fisher attacked with knees and punches to the head and body then tossed an uppercut-right combination that ended the night for underdog Dan Lauzon. “King” Fisher defended well off his back early in the fight as his young opponent tired late in the opening round and Fisher seized the opportunity by landing knees to the body as well as several unanswered strikes. Lauzon, just 18 years old and the youngest fighter to enter the Octagon, took the fight on short notice and it showed as he faded badly in a bout he had been winning.

Articles of 2006

Peter/Toney Ii: Peter Has The Brutal Punch

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Samuel Peter claims he has dynamites in my two hands?

Heavyweight contenders Samuel “The Nigerian Nightmare” Peter and James Lights Out? Toney get it on a second time this Saturday from the Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Fla. (Showtime).

The hard-slugging Peter, unlike Toney, is one of those strong, silent types notorious for letting their fists to the talking one the opening bell sounds, but the Nigeria Nightmare is as confident as ever and determined to turn Lights Out’s lights out for good.

I have got dynamites in my two hands,? said Peter, according the Lagos, Nigeria Vanguard, and I will crush James Toney once and for all. The Toney camp made the mistake of their lives by protesting and seeking a rematch. I am ready to teach him a bitter lesson.?

Sam Peter walked away with the W for Peter/Toney I at the Staples Center in LA last September, but it was by disputed split decision a verdict so disputed, there was even a dispute about the dispute which forced the WBC’s hand into mandating Saturday’s rematch.

Samuel Peter is the biggest thing to hit African boxing since Ghanaian superstar Azumah Nelson rocked the feather and junior welterweight divisions. The President of the Nigeria Boxing Board of Control, Prince Olaide Adeboye, admitted, according to allAfrica.com, We are rooting for Samuel Peter, of course. He is one boy we believe in to bring back the country’s lost glory in professional boxing. I am personally making arrangement to be at the ringside to see him fight Toney again. I was at the first fight in Los Angeles in September.

Peter has the brutal punch, and to me he was the clear winner of the first fight. But the WBC Board of Governors, of which I am a member, voted 21-10 for a rematch. There was nothing those of us Africans on the board could do in the circumstances. But I believe Peter will confirm he is better than Toney and will then go ahead to meet the champion and claim the belt for Nigeria and Africa.?

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Articles of 2006

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings for Asia

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There are claims that boxing is dying. Hogwash. The heavyweight division isn’t the only division in boxing and 2007 promises to be a banner year in boxing; especially for boxers hailing from Asia.

While Asia isn’t Vegas or Atlantic City, it is a region packed of diamonds in the rough; undiscovered gems and potential superstars who wait for their moment in the sun.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Asia

1) Manny Pacquiao – There’s no way to dispute Pacquiao is the best fighter in Asia, if not all of boxing. He’s exciting, he wins with Je Ne Sais Quois and is definitely “the man” in boxing.

2) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam – Although his competition leaves much to be desired, his longevity and skills are undeniable. He is currently Thailand’s only world champion and is undefeated in ten years. Need I say more?

3) Chris John – A victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, however controversial, shows he belongs at the top of the heap. He easily outpointed Renan Acosta to close out 2006 and should have no trouble defending against Jose Rojas in February. A fight with Pacquiao would not be a good move on his part but a rematch with Marquez would not hurt – especially if he defeats the Mexican again.

4) Hozumi Hasegawa – Hidden away in Japan, Hasegawa is a sharp punching southpaw who put former champion Veeraphol Sahaprom to sleep. He recently bested Genaro Garcia and his herky-jerky style will give fits to any one who steps in the ring with him.

5) Masomori Tokuyama – Tokuyama has never shied away from a good fight and although he only fought once in 2006 (UD12 Jose Navarro), he ledger shows wins over Katsushige Kawashima (twice), Gerry Penalosa (twice) and In Jin Chi (twice). A fight with Hozumi Hasegawa is a distinct possibility in 2007.

6) Nobuo Nashiro – With only seven fights under his belt he took on WBA champion Martin Castillo – and defeated him. Although he’s only fought a total of nine fights, nearly all have been against quality opposition. A victory in a rematch with Castillo would cement his claim as the king of the 115-pound division.

7) Yukata Niida – This light-hitting minimumweight defended his title twice in 2006, winning a technical decision against unbeaten Eriberto Gejon (Tech Win 10) and the other on points over Ronald Barrera (W 12). Scheduled to meet Katsunari Takayama early next year – the best has yet to come for this WBA belt holder.

8) In Jin Chi – Won back the title he lost to Takashi Koshimoto in January from Rudolfo Lopez. While there’s little uncertainty to his skills, at thirty-three, 2007 may provide some insight as to just how much he has left.

9) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai –Sor Nonthachai is an exciting, top-shelf fighter with an iron chin. Has no trouble making mincemeat of mid-level opposition and deserves a title shot in 2007. Time is running out.

10) Rey Bautista – He’s young, relatively inexperienced in big-time boxing, but will continue to shine in 2007. One of the better prospects in boxing, he should snag a title in 2007.

Asian Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pound for Pound:

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #2

Jr. Lightweight

Manny Pacquiao (Philippines): #1
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9

Featherweight

Chris John (Indonesia) #1
In Jin Chi (Korea) #3
Takashi Koshimoto (Japan) #5
Hioyuki Enoki (Japan) #7

Jr. Featherweight

Somsak Sithchatchawal (Thailand) #4

Bantamweight

Hozumi Hasegawa (Japan) #2
Veeraphol Sahaprom (Japan) #3
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin (Thailand) #6
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Thailand) #10

Jr. Bantamweight

Nobuo Nashiro (Japan) #1
Katsushige Kawashima (Japan) #7
Pramuansak Phosuwan (Thailand) #10

Flyweight

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Thailand) #1
Takefumi Sakata (Japan) #7
Daisuke Naito (Japan) #10

Jr. Flyweight

Koki Kameda (Japan) #1

Minimumweight

Yukata Naiida (Japan) #2
Eagle Kyowa (Japan/Thai) #4
Katsunari Takayama (Japan) #5
Rodel Mayol (Philippines) #7

Boxing in Thailand

There’s no shortage of boxers in Thailand. With a huge pool of Muay Thai fighters to draw from and several talented amateur boxing prospects turning pro after the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thailand seems destined to remain a boxing powerhouse in Asia.

The country is known for having tough, determined and disciplined fighters who give their all whenever the step in to the ring. However, consistently losing while fighting abroad and padding their records with no-hopers has done nothing to enhance their reputation.

Whether because of a lack of marketability, a lack of funds or their unwillingness to travel abroad, the vast majority of boxers from Thailand remain a mystery to fans in the west. If anything though, the boxing scene involving Thai fighters will be active. In fact, it’s one of the most active in the world; since 2000, the number of fights has nearly doubled in the country.

The Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand – August 2006

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam
2) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym
3) Somsak Sithchatchawal
4) Wandee Singwancha
5) Sirimongkol Singwancha
6) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai
7) Veeraphol Sahaprom
8) Pramuansak Phosuwan
9) Terdsak Jandaeng
10) Oleydong Sithamerchai

Current Sweet Science P4P Rankings – Thailand

1) Pongsaklek Wonjongkam (Flyweight) – Definitely the top dog in Thailand

2) Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai (Super Lightweight) – He’s a seasoned fighter who has proven himself in the big-time. He’s one Thai who can fight outside of Asia. He has an abundance of skills and one-punch power. His overall ability and ease in dispatching anyone other than championship caliber get him the runners-up spot.

3) Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (Super Bantamweight) – After losing to Vladimir Sidorenko he’s bounced back. He’s young, he can punch, but the former interim champion needs to prove himself against a name fighter.

4) Somsak Sithchatchawal (Super Bantamweight) – Was his win over Monshipour a fluke or was Celestino Caballero just that good? Did Sithchatchawal catch Monshipour at the right time and can he rebound from the devastating loss? The jury is still out.

5) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

5) Sirimongkol Singwancha (Super Lightweight) – Get this guy a fight. He’s better than Jose Armando Santa Cruz and would have beat up Inada had the fight taken place. He’ll fight anyone but his biggest obstacle is staying motivated fighting tomato cans in Thailand. Like many Thais, he needs a fight against a name opponent.
6) Wandee Singwancha (Flyweight) – He doesn’t have much of a punch which will be his downfall in the end. He can box, as was evidenced in his recent victory over Juanito Rubillar, but this won’t be enough. He can no longer make the Jr. Flyweight limit and with no punch he’ll have a hard time competing against the “big boys.” Although he’s now rated second by the WBC, he doesn’t deserve to be.

7) Pramuansak Phosuwan (Super Flyweight) – A genuine tough guy. Always calm and focused no matter how heated the battle. But at thirty-eight, he’ll be in trouble should he fight one of the division’s elite.
8) Veeraphol Sahaprom (Bantamweight) – Will be lucky to get another crack at the title. Although he has a puncher’s chance of winning a belt, that’s about all he has left at this point. A third shot at Hasegawa is unlikely.

9) Oleydong Sithamerchai (Minimumweight) – He’s fought better than the usual opponents faced by Thais at his level and he moves up one spot with the departure of Terdsak Jandaeng. He lacks the punch and is in the wrong division to become a superstar. He’ll need to defeat a name opponent to convince me.

10) Saenghiran Lookbanyai / Napapol Kittisakchokchai (Super Bantamweight) – These two square-off in early March, supposedly to see who deserves a shot at Israel Vasquez. Kittisakchokchai has the edge in experience but some feel Lookbanyai has the edge in heart and is the favorite.

Neither has defeated a top twenty fighter and yet are ranked number one and two respectively in the WBC’s world.

In Kittisakchokchoi’s lone shot at the big-time, he was TKO’d in 10 by Oscar Larios. His dreadful performance against Larios and lack of quality opposition leads me to believe Saenghiran might have more of a shot at beating him than some suspect. Regardless, neither of them lasts longer than six rounds with Israel Vasquez.

Honorable Mention: Wethya Sakmuangklang, Denkaosan Kaovichit, Devid Lookmahanak, Nethra Sasiprapa, Chonlatarn Piriyapinyo, Pornsawan Kratingdaenggym

Thai Fighters Ranked in Ring Magazine

Pongsaklek Wonjongkam: #1 Flyweight
Pramuansak Phosuwan: #10 Jr. Bantamweight
Veeraphol Sahaprom: #3 Bantamweight
Ratanachai Sor Vorapin: #6 Bantamweight
Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym: #10 Bantamweight
Somsak Sithchatchawal: #3 Jr. Featherweight
Yodsanan Sor Nanthachai: #9 Lightweight

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Articles of 2006

Iceman Stops Tito Ortiz Win Streak

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LAS VEGAS—UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck “Iceman” Liddell’s fists proved too much for Huntington Beach’s Tito Ortiz who was stopped in the third round before a sold out crowd at the MGM Garden Arena on Saturday.

The punching machine Liddell (20-3, 13 KOs) repeated his victory in UFC 66 over the much-improved grappler Ortiz who has improved his punching and blocking. Ortiz was trying to avenge his loss of April 2004.

Despite all the new weapons displayed by Ortiz it wasn’t enough as Liddell pummeled the former champion and retained his title with a technical knockout at 3:59 of the third round. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bout.

“This was the most satisfying victory of my career,” said Liddell, 36, of Santa Barbara. “Tito came back real tough.”

Ortiz (15-5, 8 KOs), a former wrestler, worked on his boxing technique knowing he would need it against the former boxer Liddell. But Liddell’s experience allowed him to find the right moment to pounce on Ortiz.

“I had him hurt, I just kept throwing punches,” said Liddell who also knocked down Ortiz in the first round with a left hook.

Ortiz was gracious in defeat.

“Chuck is the best fighter Pound for Pound in the (mixed martial arts) world,” said Ortiz, 31, who suffered a gash on the side of his left eye from a punch. “I’m disgusted by myself. I let my fans down.”

Other bouts

Underdog Keith Jardine (12-3-1) knocked out Forrest Griffin (13-4) at 4:41 of the first round in their light heavyweight showdown. A right uppercut followed by a left hook wobbled Griffin who was sent to the floor by a barrage of punches. On the ground Jardine landed right after right until referee John McCarthy stopped the fight for a technical knockout.

“I couldn’t believe he was hurt,” said Jardine about Griffin who is known for his resiliency. “I was so nervous coming into this fight, but now I know I belong here.”

Canada’s Jason McDonald (18-7) choked out Chris Leben (15-3) in a middleweight bout that was up for grabs. Though Leben seemed to control the fight with stunning left hands, once the fight went to the ground McDonald managed a chokehold at 4:03 of the second round. Referee Steve Mazagatti saw Leben was unconscious and stopped the fight.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (12-5) caught Brazil’s Mario Cruz (2-2) with a sneak right hand while both were tangled on the ground. Then the Belarusian pummeled Cruz until referee Herb Dean stopped the fight at 3:15 of the first round.

Third season winner of the Ultimate Fighter television reality season Michael Bisping (12-0) of Great Britain won by technical knockout over Eric Shafer (9-2-2) at 4:29 of the first round. A knee knocked Shafer groggy then Bisping knocked him to the ground and pounded him. Referee Mario Yamasaki stopped the bludgeoning.

Thiago Alves (16-4) caught Peru’s Tony De Souza (15-5) with a knee as he attempted to dive for his legs in a welterweight contest. After that it was pretty much over as Alves pummeled De Souza at 1:10 of the second round forcing referee John McCarthy to halt the bout.

Gabriel Gonzago (7-1) proved too strong for Carmelo Marrero (6-1) in a heavyweight bout. At 3:22 of the first round Gonzago of Massachusetts manipulated his way into arm bar forcing Pennsylvania’s Marrero to tap out.

Japan’s Yushin Okami (19-3) pounded Georgia’s Rory Singer (11-6) into submission at 4:03 of the third round of a middleweight bout. Okami seemed the more-rounded fighter with effective kicks to the head and more accurate punching.

Christian Wellisch (8-2) jumped to a quick start with an accurate left hook that rattled Australia’s Anthony Perosh (5-3) in a heavyweight bout. During the first round it seemed the Sacramento fighter might end the fight but the Aussie hung tough. Wellisch won by unanimous decision.

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