Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Daniel Puder: The Original WWE to MMA fighter...where is he now?

Back in the day when Strikeforce was just a fledgling San Jose, California based MMA promotion, they tried to used a tactic to draw fans in. Use a name that, even though he has minimal MMA experience, he is a name and people will want to see him fight. So the MMA career of Daniel Puder had a jump start. Puder was a winner of the formerly popular WWE reality series Tough Enough, and was thrust into the stoplight. However, about a year into his WWE career, he was cut loose from the WWE. Puder decided to now focus on MMA, and has accumulated decent wins in Strikeforce and BodogFight. After taking a few years off, Puder now trains at CSW under Erik Paulson, and has won two fights in 2009, bringing his MMA record to 8-0. With all the talk of Lesnar and Lashley, people seem to forget Puder was the first WWE to MMA fighter that people thought had real potential (sorry Sean O'Haire, losing to Min-Soo Kim automatically disqualifies you from this discussion). In fact, Puder still being 28, what's to say he can't make a run in a major organization. He's big, athletic, strong, and has a good ground game. I don't see why, with proper training of course, he couldn't eventually be a contender in a decent organization. So, can we have a trifecta of WWE to MMA superstars in the coming years? We'll see if Puder can get some big wins in a good organization, and keep at fighting, because he does have the potential.

So WEC...Where's that Flyweight Division you spoke of???

Back when the WEC announced that it would no longer hold welterweight and middleweight bouts, I remember them saying something about instituting a flyweight (125 lb.) division. This division isn't seen a lot in major promotions, and only a few promotions in Japan feature it. I would love to have the WEC get a flyweight division, to see if that division has an Anderson Silva or Fedor type fighter. Make it happen WEC, so I can see guys like this fight stateside.

My Thoughts on Women's MMA

See her? Kinda cute huh? She can also probably kick your ass. That's Zoila "The Warrior Princess" Frausto, and she notched the fourth victory of her short, still undefeated career at Strikeforce: Challengers Series 4 this past Friday. Now Women's MMA is usually liked or disliked by fans, with very little middle ground. You either love it, or you hate it , and I personally think it's great. In this sport, Women are now treated equally as men, with all the same rules as male MMA bouts (Women's fights were previously 3 3-minute rounds, now the standard round system applies). And this ain't the WNBA folks. Women's MMA is just as, maybe even more, fast paced and exciting as male MMA bouts. Every single Gina Carano fight I've seen has been amazing to watch and very competitive. Carano is not the only female star anymore either. Erin Toughill, Christiane "Cyborg" Santos, Tara LaRosa, Miesha Tate, Megumi Fuji...the list goes on and on. These girls put on great fights, and if they have the skills and talent, why not let them show it off. With the recent crowing of Christiane Santos as the first ever North American Women's MMA champion (in Strikeforce), I think Women's MMA is here to stay.

Seriously...The Brett Rigers Hype...Seriously...

I've been cruising through forums and MMA sites for the past few days since Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers, and there are two things that need to stop.

1. Enough with the f***ing Brett Rogers hype! A lot of people seem to be saying "Dude, he totally busted up Fedors nose so he totally exposed Fedor!" No he did not. Did Brett Rogers bloody Fedor? Yes. Did he break his nose? Maybe. Did he ultimately do any better against Fedor than anyone else? Hell no! I saw created a poll to see if fans think Brett Rogers deserves a rematch. If more than 25% is in favor of yes, I will break something. Remember the times when Randleman dumped Fedor on his head, and Fujita had him doing a dance? Nobody called for a rematch with those two. This isn't taking anything away from Rogers either. He put up a great fight, and he is a game opponent for anyone with an exciting style. That night, he proved he can hang with the big boys, but he didn't accomplish anything against Fedor that no one has before, namely: beat him.

2. People who say Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers was a "dull" or "poor" event were out of their minds. Sure, Werdum and Silva slowed down a bit by the third round of their fight, but it was still an extremely close, back and forth fight featuring two top tier heavyweights, and resulted in a razor thin decision. Anyone who thought Mayhem vs. Shields was boring doesn't know what MMA is. For the first 3-4 rounds it was a very exciting display of grappling at it's finest, and what real MMA fan doesn't like seeing that? Gegard Mousasi lost the first round to Sokodjou, but came back in the second round with another exciting TKO stoppage. So I thought this was a great event, and I enjoyed every minute. Good job Strikeforce, my hat is off to you.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Marius Zaromskis: MMA's best kept secret

Marius Zaromskis. The name would probably not ring a bell to the average American MMA fan. It will soon. Zaromskis has recently signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce, and should be making his American debut at the end of the year or at the beginning of next year. Zaromskis was a relative unknown, until earlier this summer. By destroying Hayato "Mach" Sakurai and Jason High in the same night to win the DREAM Welterweight Grand Prix, Zamromskis had announced his arrival to the MMA world. There is no doubt that Strikeforce has made a great decision by signing him. Fans will love this guy. He always comes out swinging punches and kicks, and whenever one connects, whoever it is will feel the pain. This adds another name that can challenge Jake Shields and Nick Diaz for supremacy of Strikeforce's 170 lb. division. Strikeforce has been doing a lot right lately, and the Zaromskis signing may be the stocking stuffer of the season. Need any proof? Take a look at this:

The Big Show??? I Think Not.

WWE Capitalizes on MMA Surge, Finishes Themed Film

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Unbelievable. If the WWE though about doing ANYTHING MMA related...we can flush all the progress our sport has made down the toilet. Thankfully, this movie will probably suck, so no one will ever see it, and God forbid someone does, they'll realize the WWE should stay faaaaaaaaaaar away from MMA.

I've fallen and I can't get up!!!!!

It seems that this time of year is quite a bad time for certain titleholders under Zuffa's two flagship promotions: the UFC and WEC. Heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar's showdown with knockout artist Shane Carwin has been postponed due to Lesnar apparently contracting something similar to the swine flu. A light-heavyweight title rematch between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida has to wait because of Machida getting hand surgery. Those hoping to stop the middleweight phenom known as Anderson Silva will have to wait while he heals from recent elbow surgery. Welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre is still recovering from a groin injury suffered in his last fight in July. This leaves lightweight titleholder BJ Penn as the only healthy champion in the organization right now, as well as the only concrete title fight in the coming months.

This may be a blessing in disguise though. This gives time for the light-heavyweight and middleweight contenders to sort themselves out. At middleweight, there is a three-way log jam between Vitor Belfort, Nate Marquardt, and Dan Henderson. All three have a claim to the #1 contender spot. Belfort recently destroyed Matt Lindland and Rich Franklin, Marquardt defeated many top contenders since his first fight with Silva, and Henderson knocked (overrated) UK standout Michael Bisping's head into the second row in his last fight. However, with Henderson in a contract dispute with the UFC, and the fates of Marquardt and Belfort uncertain, this will give time for the division to sort itself out. It's the same story at light-heavyweight. The rematch between Machida and Rua being delayed will only help as well, since the only clear cut contender, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is now apparent off doing movies.

Things aren't much better in the WEC either. Lightweight champion Jamie Varner has been out nearly a year due to injuries suffered in his title fight with Donald Cerrone early this year. This is especially discouraging since the WEC has only three weight classes. He hopes to clash with Interim lightweight champion Ben Henderson in January. At least we have Jose Aldo vs. Mike Brown to look forward to...

King of the Ring...No Longer

This is truly exciting for MMA fans. DREAM, the major MMA promotion in Japan, has decided to ditch the tradition fighting ring in favor a hexagonal cage, at least for this one event. As most of us know, most major MMA promotions in America (UFC, Strikeforce) use a cage. By doing this, many questions will be answered about how styles of fighters who have fought in Japan, in rings, their entire careers will translate to a cage. Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic couldn't get used to a cage, and Mauricio "Shogun" Rua even admitted that it took him a few fights to get used to the cage. I had no doubt in my mind the big names would come out victorious (Overeem, Alvarez, Zaromskis, and Sakuraba), but I still thought it would be interesting to see how their styles translated to a cage, and clearly it did not effect them that much. Perhaps this was a way to get their fighters accustomed to cage fighting, since Strikeforce and DREAM now have somewhat of a partnership. I also think it would be a fun idea for DREAM to continue using the cage at other events as well.