View Full Version : Artikel LA Times over de 3 MMA New year shows

30-12-2006, 04:55
Leuk stukje:

Biggest weekend in mixed martial arts history is here!


30-12-2006, 05:10
The story you requested is available only to registered members (http://www.latimes.com/services/site/registration/show-createprofile.register).

30-12-2006, 05:16
The story you requested is available only to registered members (http://www.latimes.com/services/site/registration/show-createprofile.register).

Biggest weekend in mixed martial arts history is here

By Dave Meltzer, Special to The Times
December 29, 2006

New Year's Eve evokes certain thoughts and memories in the United States, most notably decades of Dick Clark and the ball dropping at the stroke of midnight at New York's Times Square.

Japan has its own New Year's Eve tradition, a concert that is usually among the most-watched television shows of the year.

But on December 31, 2001, a new tradition was started when mixed martial arts fighting became the strongest opposition to the concert in the history of Japanese television. The first two shows, called "Inoki Bom Ba Ye," named after pro wrestling legend Antonio Inoki, were so successful that by 2003, three different networks were running their own MMA shows head-to-head on New Year's Eve.

What is expected to be the biggest MMA show in history, at least from a financial standpoint, takes place the night before in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, with UFC's Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz expected to become the biggest non-boxing pay-per-view event in history. But it hardly has the mainstream cultural significance of New Year's Eve in Japan.

Last year, in a country with less than half the population of the United States, the two shows, put on by Pride and rival K-1, on rival networks combined for 34 million viewers. It was a night of great fighters, Olympic medalists in other sports, a couple of actors and pro wrestlers, giving people a smorgasbord of great and atrocious fighting.

And this weekend will be more of the same. Adding in the magnitude of the UFC show, this is the biggest weekend in the 13-year history of mixed martial arts.

But the Japanese television ratings war of 2003-2005 is over. After three head-to-head shows in 2003, one of which flopped, there were two shows, both highly successful, going head-to-head the last two years. In 2003, a K-1 match pitting giants Akebono against Bob Sapp drew a 42.5 rating.

Last year's ratings winner, the Pride Fighting Championships, lost its deal with the Fuji Network despite its strong track record. After a scandal magazine printed accusations by a rival promoter of mob involvement in Pride, the network washed its hands of the popular product, and no other network picked the show up.

Nevertheless, the Pride organization on Sunday night puts on, at least from a talent depth standpoint, the strongest show of the weekend at the 35,000-seat Saitama Super Arena. The show airs on a same-day tape delay on pay per view throughout North America.

The main event features Fedor Emelianenko (24-1), the Russian who is considered the best heavyweight fighter in the world, defending his Pride championship against a 5-9, 280-pound Samoan kick boxer, Mark Hunt (5-2).

Hunt, the heavy underdog, is known for having a head like a cinderblock and his ability to withstand perfectly connected punches and kicks. If the match stays standing, it could be trouble for Emelianenko, who comes into the fight at less than 100% because of a broken toe.

But the strength of the show is some of the weekend's most evenly matched events among top-level fighters. Barnett (36-4) faces Brazil's Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (28-4-1). The two fought on Sept. 10 in the same building, and Barnett won a razor-thin decision in what was the best heavyweight match of 2006. Both fighters have similar strengths, good but not great striking and excellent ground movement and submissions.

The show also features three of the potentially best lightweight matches of the year in Japan's Tatsuya Kawajiri (19-3-2) vs. Gilbert Melendez (11-0) of Concord, Calif., Japan's Shinya Aoki (8-2) facing vs. Norway's Joachim Hansen (14-4-1) and Pride champion Takanori Gomi (25-3) in a non-title match vs. Japan's Mitsuhiro Ishida (14-2-1).

Hidehiko Yoshida, who won a gold medal in the 1992 Olympics in judo, and a household name in the country for his many television commercials, fights 260-pound British fighter James "The Colossus" Thompson. Yoshida isn't the only Olympic medalist on the show, as it features the debut of Eldari Kurtanidze, who won bronze medals in freestyle wrestling in 1996 and 2000, and a silver in the 2005 world championships. Kurtanidze makes his debut against well-known fighter Kazuyuki Fujita.

With Pride limited to pay per view in Japan and in North America, TV ratings are expected to be strong for the rival K-1 show at 43,000-seat Kyocera Dome in Osaka. The matches, which won't be broadcast in North America for a few months, are booked unapologetically for maximum television ratings, which often leaves fighter quality in the dust. The show features several big men, a well-known movie actor and another well-known television comedian, along with several Olympic athletes, a sumo-wrestling legend and a few genuine top-level fighters.

The most absurd match of the weekend, and yet one that is expected to draw high ratings, pits one of the most famous sumo wrestlers in history, Akebono (Hawaii's Chad Rowan), at 6-8 and 480 pounds, against Giant Silva (Paulo Cesar Silva), a 7-4, 385-pound fighter who has a tremendous facial resemblance to the late Andre the Giant.

Both are terrible fighters. Silva has routinely been destroyed by people half his size. He has one career victory; Akebono is looking for his first win under MMA rules.

An even stranger match pits Choi Hong-man against Bobby Ologun. Hong-man, a 7-2 1/2 , 355-pound South Korean, is well conditioned and coordinated, and was a superstar in his native land in a sport called Ssirum, which is similar to sumo.

With his ridiculous reach, he was transformed into a successful kick boxer two years ago. He makes his MMA debut against a muscular Nigerian-born television comedian, who is a household name, known by the Japanese public as "Bobby," who has become a fixture in going unbeaten the last two years on New Year's Eve shows.

The show also features one of the most talented all-around fighters in MMA history in 5-3, 143-pound Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto (14-1), the son of a Japanese Olympic wrestler and coach. His two older sisters were world champions as amateur wrestlers.

30-12-2006, 05:21
Yamamoto went to high school in Arizona, where he won three state championships, and went back to Japan to become a college national champion, before quitting wrestling, falling out with his father, and venturing into fighting.

But he can't be dismissed as simply a marketing gimmick as many of the Japanese star fighters are. Yamamoto's natural fighting weight is 132 pounds, the weight division he is doing amateur wrestling in now. His combination of wrestling and kickboxing ability is unmatched in MMA, and he could be, pound-for-pound, the most talented fighter in the sport. Yamamoto left MMA earlier this year, but has been lured back for one night because of the magnitude of the show.

He'll face Istavan Majoros of Hungary, who won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Greco-Roman wrestling, and won this year's World Cup in wrestling at the same 132-pound class. Wrestling ability often makes the best starting base to learn from to be an MMA fighter, but Majoros has never been in an MMA fight, making this a pretty clear mismatch and an expected early knockout.

Also fighting are a well-known Japanese movie star (Ken Kaneko), a former Olympic wrestling silver medalist (Katsuhiko Nagata), Royler Gracie of the Gracie fighting family, and Tokimitsu Ishizawa (a former national champion amateur wrestler who is far better known as the masked Kendo Kashin in pro wrestling).

The differences are stark in the U.S., where UFC's biggest money match is simply two men who have become the company's top stars, facing off in a natural collision course Saturday.

Tito Ortiz is brash and charismatic. He has won five matches in a row, but two of those wins were close calls and two others were against a 42-year-old Ken Shamrock, who at the time was no longer top competition.

Chuck Liddell, on the other hand, has knocked out his last six opponents, including Ortiz, not having lost since Nov. 9, 2003.

Like with many MMA fights, the story appears to be simple. If Ortiz can take Liddell down, he has the ability to do damage. He'll have to do that at least three times, and probably more, if the fight goes the distance, to have a shot at winning.

In their 2004 fight, he failed to come close to taking Liddell down. Ortiz claims to be a completely different fighter now. He claims to be more mature, and has a better fight strategy with training designed for Liddell's weaknesses.

Most important, he claims to be injury free; he had a back injury at the time of their first fight.

On the undercard, Griffin, one of the company's most popular fighters, faces Keith Jardine. A win by Griffin in what is projected to be a fairly even stand-up fight would put him in line for either Ortiz or Liddell in what would have a shot at being a big money fight in 2007. Michael Bisping of England (11-0, with seven knockouts and four submissions), who became a star winning the 205-pound division on "The Ultimate Fighter" television show, faces submission expert Eric Schafer.

UFC has plans of expanding into the United Kingdom with several shows in 2007, using Bisping as the top star, so it's important for him to come out of the fight strong.

But just as interesting is what surprises UFC President Dana White will announce on the show. It is well-known that Quinton Jackson, a long-time star with Pride, who handed Liddell his last defeat in 2003, will start with the company on Feb. 3 in Las Vegas against Marvin Eastman. It would make sense for Jackson to appear at the show, but UFC has already publicly confirmed Jackson being with the organization after the UFC bought out the remnants of the WFA, largely to get Jackson's contract.

Cro Cop (21-4-2), the No. 2 heavyweight in the world and by far the most popular of all the foreign fighters in Japan, has said he will make an announcement regarding his future in the next few days. The master of the left high kick is coming off winning probably the most significant tournament in MMA history, Pride's 2006 Open Weight Grand Prix.

Like boxing, UFC has lacked the charismatic heavyweight that captures the public's imagination with knockout power. Current champion Tim Sylvia is tough to beat, but is anything but a crowd favorite. With a conservative style of using his reach to keep the opponent and bay and winning decisions, he was heavily booed in his last fight on Nov. 18 in Sacramento.

Also on New Year's Eve, Fox Sports Net will be airing the International Fight League's 2006 championship match pitting the Quad Cities Silverbacks, coached by Pat Miletich, against the Portland Wolfpack, coached by Matt Lindland. The show is being taped on Friday night in Uncasville, Conn. The IFL is a 12-team league with big-name fighters as coaches, competing in dual meets, similar to college wrestling, with a best-of-five match

__________________________________________________ ___

Wazig... in IE vraagt hij idd om sign up en in Firefox krijg je gewoon het artikel.

ps: doe iets aan die 12000 karakters maximaal!

30-12-2006, 05:39
Wazig... in IE vraagt hij idd om sign up en in Firefox krijg je gewoon het artikel.

ps: doe iets aan die 12000 karakters maximaal!
nog waziger: ik gebruik ook Firefox...

ik ga niet over forumbeleid, doe alleen het uitvoerende werk... :p