Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Night of the Gladiators 5 - 11/09/10

I really can't believe how fast these events come around these days, it seems only a few days back that Rob Nutley, Dangerous Dave and myself were breaking out the sharp suits and catchphrases.

I've known Ross for a good few years and one of the things I learned pretty fast is that he doesn't believe in half measures. NOTG5 has a stacked card from top to bottom and promises to be the biggest mma event of the year so far in this part of the world. I always end up saying it but hell, you'd be annoyed if I didn't, I'm always thankful for the chance to work this show. It was the first mma gig that I ever worked and, as a result, I'll always be ready to bring the noise, whenever GPUK is in the equation

If you're on Facebook there's a video preview from P4TV that sums up perfectly just what this show is all about, I'll post the link below here. All it remains for me to say is to get involved, this is easily the best show in the area in one of the best venues in the country.

Night of the Gladiators - Let's go to war

Sunday, 29 August 2010

UFC 118 - Competition Results

Good morning all, I trust you slept well. UFC 118 is in the books and, that said, it's time to announce the winner of the first ever Super North Star MMA Prediction Contest. I had a lot of entries, thanks to everyone who took the time to get involved it was amazing to go through all the answers this morning.

I'll be writing up about the card in question real soon so look out for that but now the moment of truth. The winner of the UFC 118 prediction thread with a very respectable total of 21 points is Chris Brentnall. Congratulations Chris, there's a Super North Star MMA shirt winging it's way to you in the post and it just remains for me to say thank you all very much for getting involved.

I've got a lot coming up in September including an amazing gym of the month, some awesome interviews and another competition with a prize supplied by the nice people at CKA Martial Arts. Thanks very much again and I'll leave you with this thought; if James Toney would have come out wearing one boxing glove would it have been any more ridiculous?

Monday, 23 August 2010

UFC 1 - A Landmark Remembered

Look at this list of names and tell me what it means. How many of those fighters do you remember? How many of those gladiators do you recall talking about? If you remember UFC 1 then you'll have seen all of these guys before. The original eight warriors who stepped into the Octagon with no idea and no preconceptions.

My whole mma equals videogames thing may get overused in my work, but I honestly can't think of a better way to describe  this event. This was Street Fighter 2: The World Warrior. It was the intro from Battle Arena Toshinden, it was Budokan on the Mega Drive.

The article I wrote tonight has been inside my head for a good few years, longer than I've been writing for. I loved every second of writing this piece tonight as it reminded me of a simpler time; the essence of everything I seem to enjoy. If you get 1% in reading it, of what I got through writing it, I'm more than happy with what I've accomplished.

UFC 1 - A Landmark Remembered

Thanks a million
Ben

Saturday, 21 August 2010

The British Invasion


It's awesome to be able to write so much at the minute and I'd love to draw your attention to this piece I wrote for MMA HQ recently. I think of all the work I've done online this is one of the most complex, from a multimedia point of view, and informed pieces I've written and I'm really happy with it. I hope that you enjoy it. I'd stay and chat but I'm in the middle of a HUGE game of Civilization 4 and it's just got messy. Here's a link to the article, thanks a million for all the support.

The British Invasion

Thanks for taking the time
Ben

Thursday, 19 August 2010

UFC 118 - Competition Time

Ladies and Gentlemen it's that time already.
The first of the new monthly competitions that give you the chance to win some sweet gear. Starting from next month, the good people at CKA Martial Arts have agreed to provide some awesome prizes for the competitions; everything from gum shields to hats will be on offer so check out the blog and get involved.

This month the prize is a limited edition Super North Star MMA T-Shirt as pictured here.


The best way to do mma competitions is to do prediction threads. That way everyone gets a fair crack, no-one can wikipedia the answers and the fights are that bit more exciting knowing that you stand to get free stuff.

So, the top and bottom of it is this. Send me your predictions for UFC 118 to this E-Mail Address (ColdFuryFilms@Gmail.com)

I need the winner, the round and the method for each fight. The choices for method are TKO, KO, Submission, Unanimous Decision or Split Decision. You'll get 1 point each for winner, method and round and a bonus point if you get all 3 right. You need to predict the whole card, including the prelims and the undercard so I've got more chance of getting a variety of scores.

I also need you to write the minute and second that you think the main event will finish in. This sounds really complex but will only be used in the event of a tie. Remember you only need to do this for the BJ Penn vs Frankie Edgar fight.


It should look something like this:

MAIN EVENT: BJ PENN ROUND 2 TKO 3.54
RANDY COUTURE  ROUND 1 TKO
DEMIAN MAIA ROUND 3 SUBMISSION
KENNY FLORIAN ROUND 3 SPLIT DECISION

And so on for the rest of the card which you can find details about here.

Also at the end of the e-mail if you put your name, T-shirt size and address so I can send you the prize should you be the lucky one. This competition is available to anyone in the world so get those predictions sent in.

I love the fact that I can do something like this, simply because through this blog, I've been able to do more writing work than I ever imagined possible. I was so happy today when the shirts came from Cafe Press. I guess this is my way of saying thanks to everyone who stops by, puts up with the fact that I'm stuck in the 80's and clearly obsessed with videogames.

Take Care, Get involved and I shall speak to you people real soon.
Ben

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Squadron Goals

This has been, one of the best Saturdays in living memory. I can't imagine a much better cocktail of videogames, tea, mma and noodles than I've had today.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Paul Daley and the Thirty Days

I've written a few different things this week but out of all of them, I found this the most interesting. It was a after conversation I had with a good friend of mine when I  made the Paul Daley/Mike Tyson mental link.

He's fascinating as both a writer and a fan of the sport and I was interested to see the details of the athletic commission's hearing. It's pure speculation what would have happened if it was the Nevada State Athletic Commission cracking the whip.


Paul Daley Article on MMA HQ

I was lucky enough to be able to interview Paul in one of the first magazine gigs that Rob Nutley ever hooked me up with, so to write about him again made me look at just how much writing I've done inbetween.

Thanks to everyone for reading and, in the case of my friend Jess, making me one of the most astounding cups of tea I've had in a long time.

Ben

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Roy Nelson - Size Matters

If I told you that Roy Nelson was an athlete based on that picture you probably wouldn't believe me. There's something truly comic about that belly but his success in the sport is far from a joke.

His fight against Junior Dos Santos on Saturday gave us a lot of answers about the Brazilian but it left us asking questions of Nelson.

Is Big Country's immense paunch truly optimal for his performance in a combat sport at the highest level? It's a topic that I look at on MMA HQ in my latest article.

Roy Nelson - Size Matters

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I hope you enjoy the article
Ben

Monday, 9 August 2010

Thiago Alves - The Weight of Expectation

This weekend I received a really exciting e-mail to write for a site called MMAHQ. I hate saying the same thing but the more I realise that people all over the world are taking the time to read these posts the more I feel blessed with the opportunities that I'm given.

Watching the UFC at the weekend I was almost half prepared for a disappointing performance from Alves after he struggled with the weight cut. As soon as he locked up with Fitch and was subsequently bundled to the floor I kinda watched through my fingers as it unfolded. I like watching Thiago Alves but it was clear that something wasn't right. I wrote this piece for MMAHQ about the potential outcomes and issues presented by a move to middleweight

Thiago Alves - The Weight of Expectations

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and I'll speak to you all soon I hope
Ben

Sunday, 8 August 2010

UFC 117 - The Morning After

It's nice to sit down and write about a deep UFC card that lived up to it's billing; as much as I'm still a little shocked at UFC 117, I enjoyed it. I was happy with the fights simply because there's a terrible trend of stacked cards producing boring fights, UFC 112 to name a recent one, but the main card provided some awesome contests.

Anderson Silva showed why he's regarded as one of the best in the world, Jon Fitch showed us why his nickname should be "Groundhog Day" and Roy Nelson showed he clearly has more heart than conditioning.

Anderson Silva: Being the Nail

There was so much hype surrounding this fight and for twenty three minutes of it Anderson Silva looked lost. He was swamped by the ground and pound and relentlessness of Chael Sonnen and even didn't look his usual laser accurate self on the feet. Although Sonnen said at the press conference, "I've never been kicked like that before", there can be little doubt that he was four rounds up and was winning the fifth when he got caught. The victory simply cements Anderson Silva's great legacy and position in the history of the sport. It's easy to win when you're the hammer, but tonight Silva was the nail. He took all Chael had to throw at him for nearly twenty five minutes and still managed to disfigure his Sonnen when he did land strikes. The most important element of all was that he landed the fight ending submission when it mattered. Sonnen was clearly dejected at the press conference and spoke about being "broken hearted",  but it was a great performance that saw him fall at the final hurdle. It's scant consolation but until someone stops Anderson, Sonnen will always be remembered as the man who came the closest to unravelling the spider's web.

Jon Fitch: The Price of Friendship

It was business as usual for Jon Fitch against a clearly drained Thiago Alves. Welterweight really does seem to be split into two categories; powerful grinding wrestlers and the others. It's not my place to criticise fighters as I respect anyone who gets into the cage and puts it all on the line but I am growing tired of seeing "The Welterweight Fight." These bouts usually start with some nervous looking striking until the dominant wrestler gets hold of the other and takes him down. The dominant wrestler will then move through a selection of positions and land minimal damage from everywhere and eventually take home a decision victory. The division is full of dominant wrestlers like GSP, Fitch, Koscheck and Hughes and a lot of times it feels like I'm watching the same fight but from a slightly different seat. What can't be argued, however, is the fact that it's effective and while the rest of the division can't deal with it, the dominant wrestlers will always have the edge when it comes to dictating fights and grinding out decisions.

Jon Fitch's position is a curious one when you look at his relationship with Mike Swick and Josh Koscheck at AKA. If Koscheck beats GSP, and he's probably got as good a shot as anyone if you'll excuse the pun, then where does that leave Fitch? He was guarded at the press conference and kept avoiding the questions but he can't duck them forever. That's why I put the Fatal Fury picture at the top; at some point even the Bogard brothers realised it was time to throw down and fight for the title. At what point does friendship stand in the way of achieving a lifelong dream, and at what point did these blogs start reading like the tag lines for mid eighties karate films?


The Heavyweight Picture

You can't deny Junior Dos Santos his title shot after he dismantled Roy Nelson last night. It's a testament to the heart of Nelson that he was able to make it through three very tough rounds with the young Brazilian. JDS will now sit with popcorn in hand as he waits to see the outcome of the Lesnar vs. Velasquez fight to see whether he has to prepare for a powerful wrestler or HUGE powerful wrestler. There really aren't a lot of people with better hands than Santos in the heavyweight division and this performance proved he has a phenomenal amount of potential.

Roy Nelson showed a lot of heart, he also showed a lot of stomach and quite a bit of cleavage. I find it so hard to accept that someone with that appearance can be taking his training as seriously as he claims to be. I'm in no way suggesting that he doesn't work hard in camp, but to maintain that physique he must be taking on some incredible calorific numbers. There's something about watching a huge fat guy struggle in an athletic contest that seems more Youtube than UFC. It was almost like watching a car stall on a railway crossing, it felt like a matter of when more than if. I do think that if Nelson could make the cut down to 205 he'd present a lot of people with a whole load of problems as he's strong in most areas. It'd also be a nice angle for the UFC to take in this day and age where there's such a rise in health problems related to weight.

Matt Hughes: Who's Next?

It's a curious one for Matt Hughes, as he steps into the twilight of his career, he seems to be putting together more and more consistent performances. Renzo Gracie was pure marquee but Ricardo Almeida is a legit contender at welterweight and Hughes was able to pull off the win. The manner in which he did it was very impressive as he dropped Almeida with a crisp left hook then put him out with a choke which looked more jaws of life than jiu-jitsu. It's never easy to admit when the party is over but for Matt Hughes, some of his most interesting fights may be just around the corner.

Thanks very much for taking the time and I hope that you enjoyed the event as much as I did, I'll be writing a lot more soon so stay in touch and take care.

Ben

Saturday, 7 August 2010

Gym of the Month - Pure MMA

It's gym of the month time once again and following on from last month's Sukata-thon,I took the time to chat with Dan Korbely from Paul Taylor's Pure MMA.

Once again it was Cage Control, back in June, where I first saw this gym in action as Pure MMA's Seamus O'Flaherty was victorious with a first round TKO.

Pure MMA's story is a very interesting one and you want to get in contact with any enquiries then follow the link below.

Pure MMA

What was your first involvement with mixed martial arts?

My first involvement  was while I was at school I used to watch UFC, and decided it was something I wanted to take up, so I ended up joining a gym and training. After a while I started competing and had 10 Semi-Pro fights and 1 Pro, along with competing in grappling competitions. Its been a while since I have competed though. For a while my time has been took up with coaching and making sure everyone is training hard for upcoming fights.
 
Briefly explain the history of the gym.

We started out as 'Team Supreme', but unfortunately a few things led to others which resulted in us all having to move from our old gym; from this Pure MMA was born, the gym is run by Paul Taylor and myself.However, despite being a team for a long time the gym has not been open very long. Since the name change and venue change the team has gone 8-1 in their last 9 fights over the past couple of months, with the one loss being a close decision. I think this shows that everyone of the lads have put their heart and soul into training and being able to build up a record like that despite lots of things going on and having limited facilities to train in for a majority of those fights shows our spirit. Now we are settled into our new place so things will most certainly improve now with a better training timetable, and being able to do sessions whenever we want.
 
What is your vision for the gym?

The vision for the gym is to build on our already strong fight team, and offer the best training possible.
 
Who are the coaches and what are their backgrounds?

We have a fair few people coaching lessons at the gym including: Paul Taylor, Dan Korbely, Stuart Barrs and Eugene Fadiora all from MMA backgrounds. All have their own strengths to bring to the table to help all the members at the gym. As well as these guys we have a strength and conditioning coach as well as a boxing and a wrestling coach.


What range of classes does the gym offer?
  
The gym offers a wide range of classes, to compensate for beginners and fighters alike our classes include: Advanced MMA, Beginners MMA Thai Boxing, Boxing, NoGi, Wrestling and Strength and conditioning. We train Monday - Saturday, so our timetable is quite full on.
 
As more and more MMA gyms open up over the coming months what do you feel is unique about the gym?

I think one of the things about our gym is the team spirit and that everyone is friends in the gym. I wouldn't say its unique because a lot of successful gyms have this, but it's a big reason the team does so well. Everyone looks forward to coming down the gym and most of the lads train every day. Its like a bunch of mates all reaching towards one goal. The training is also very good both of these factors will make us stand out as more and more gyms open up.

What is the most gruelling training session that the gym currently runs?

That has got to be the IHP (Strength and Conditioning) circuit that runs, especially on a Tuesday, we do 3 classes a night and the dreaded circuit is the first class so if you can last through that and manage the other classes after it then you're doing well.
 
How would you sum the gym up in a sentence?

A great atmosphere and a place that's easy to get addicted to.
 
What are the plans for the gym for the future?

Like I said it's early days at the moment, but for the immediate future we plan  to build on our already strong fight team.

Is there anyone that you'd like to thank or give a shout out to?

All the members for sticking with me and Paul through some rough times, and now we promise good times ahead. Thanks Guys.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

UFC 117 - The Prediction Thread

It's only a few days away from the biggest UFC card for as long as I can remember so it's time for some picks. After the joy I had last time with the Jon Madsen, Chris Lytle and Brock Lesnar triple up I'm feeling more confident about some kind of big stacking wager. How it pans out is anyone's guess but I guess that's the fun of it.

Before the picks I'd just like to give a shout out to Mike up at CKA Martial Arts. I met him at the last Cage Control and he'll be providing some prizes for my monthly competitions so you good people can get involved and win some really top notch gear.

I'd also like to give a huge shout out to Tim Boetsch as he preparest to face Todd Brown following an injury to Thiago Silva. Tim was good enough to take the time to chat a while back for the blog and it was a pleasure to talk about his plans for the fight and a rematch vs Matyushenko which, following the Jones fight, seems very feasible.

Tim Boetsch Interview


UFC ON VERSUS: JONES VS MATYUSHENKO


UFC on Versus was an awesome night of fights as well, I was gutted for Paul Kelly who was outgrappled by Jacob Volkmann, despite hitting a flying knee that either Adon or Sagat would have been proud of. It was also nice to see Gomi back to devastating form with that killer knock out of Tyson Griffin. That was one of the biggest faceplants I've seen this side of failblog.org and it just goes to show how much Hadoken 'The Fireball Kid' still has in those hands. Okami looked good as always, but the potential of Silva vs. Okami must send shivers through Dana White's cheque book. Jon Jones proved that as well as being a serious prospect he needs higher end competition. I'd like to see him against Forrest Griffin or maybe even Rampage, there'll be no shortage of big fights in the future for that kid.

UFC 117 Picks

Roy Nelson vs. Junior Dos Santos

If I was picking this purely on aesthetics this would be an easy task but Nelson loves proving people wrong. He doens't look like he could run a book club without getting out of breath but there's no question that he's dangerous. The problem is that Junior Dos Santos is as dangerous as they come at this weight and has anvils for hands. I see JDS clipping Roy early and sending the 'Big Country' back to the buffet for a first round KO with a side order of concussion.

Matt Hughes vs. Ricardo Almeida 

Here's the thing, it's still hard to imagine Matt Hughes not winning by decision any time he fights. I think it's because a lot of my time watching the UFC has been spent watching Hughes grind people out repeatedly. You can't overlook what he's done but his fight against Renzo wasn't a great advertisment for either fighter. I think Almeida has the tools to beat Hughes and will work hard in all positions for a deserved unanimous decision victory.

Clay Guida vs. Rafael dos Anjos

This fight, for me, is probably one of the most interesting fights on the card. Anjos has the guard to punish Guida but I don't see him getting the chance to use it properly. Fighting Clay Guida is like trying to put up a tent in a phonebox, anyway you turn you're always going to encounter some kind of issue. I'm a huge Guida fan and I think he's got the right mix of skills to beat Dos Anjos. He'll do what he does best, rock out to The Used then use suffocating wrestling to earn a unanimous decision victory.

Jon Fitch vs. Thiago Alves

This was one of my fights to watch in August and for very good reason, as I said before both of these fighters have evolved tremendously but I see Alves with the edge. Fitch was rocked by Mike Pierce when they fought and for me, never really seems to want to pull the trigger. The bottom line is that Fitch can't win on the outside and when he shoots in the second round, Alves will land a tiger knee KO that will have all of Thailand cheering.

Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen

I'm looking forward to this almost as much as any fight I can remember. The bad news for Chael Sonnen is that Anderson didn't "go back to Japan, where the competition was a little easier" like Leben told him to, he proceeded to administer a beating to Chris Leben that wouldn't have looked out of place in Alcatraz. Sonnen has said that he's five shots away from victory, but that represents a game of Brazilian Roulette that he clearly won't win. Sonnen survives a few nervous encounters to make it into the second round but Silva picks his moment perfectly to hit a 10 string combo that'd have Kazuya Mishima waiting for a high five afterwards. This time it's personal, and this time it's the Anderson Silva that you never want to face. Silva TKO in 2.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read the blog and keep getting yourself involved as the competition to win the Super North Star MMA shirts is not too long away. Until next time this is Ben Cartlidge reminding you that if Daniel Larusso would have pulled that one legged shit on me, I'd have rolling knee-barred him so fast he wouldn't have had time to wax anything.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Jesse Taylor - The Life of a Fighter

It's amazing how fast everything is moving at the minute. I've got more writing published, more commentating gigs upcoming and the blog is fast becoming something I'm really proud of.

When I was asked about interviewing Jesse Taylor I was both honoured and excited. It's crazy that after only 12 months of writing and get involved with mma that I'm getting the opportunity to talk to fighters who I've watched and followed on television and on the internet.

It was 1am and freezing cold when I called Jesse, who was on a warm beach after training, and having the chance to interview him was easily one of the highlights of my relatively short journalistic career. It struck me when he talked about the nomad life style and about travelling all over the world to challenge himself against other fighters that this was the reason I got interested in mma, simply because it was so much like the video games that I loved and played. I look back at Street Fighter 2, King of the Fighters and Fatal Fury and realise that more than the gameplay, I loved the idea that these fighters travelled the globe searching for challengers.

Jesse Taylor Interview

Thanks very much for taking the time to read this and check out the above link to read about Jesse Taylor's upcoming fight with Tom "Kong" Watson at MFC 26 on September 10th.

Until next time; take care.
Ben