Dana White a big winner in Fedor’s loss

The MMA world was turned upside down Saturday night when Fabricio Werdum submitted Fedor Emelianenko at Strikeforce’s Fedor vs. Werdum event.

Fedor had not lost since 2000, winning 27-striaght fights in that span. He was considered by many as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world due to his dominance in Pride, Affliction, and now Strikeforce. Yet, there he was being submitted by Werdum, a man who had never really risen to any sort of iconic status in his career and was largely thought to be a lamb for slaughter to Fedor on Saturday.

The upset has an impact in many ways, but there isn’t anyone happier about it, including Werdum, than UFC President Dana White.

White has been the face of MMA from an organizational standpoint for years now and his company, Zuffa Entertainment, has completely held the top spot in the MMA world.

White has signed all the top fighters and put on all the top fights over the last five years, yet he could never ink the highly sought-after Fedor Emelianenko.

Despite numerous attempts and record-setting contract offers, Fedor would never sign with the UFC because the organization would not co-promote his fights with his management company at M-1 Global. Fedor had the ability to hold power in contract talks because of the status he had reached in MMA through his record winning streak.

The failed contract talks spewed a lot of negativity between White and Fedor, but it also made White look bad. Despite all of his criticisms of Fedor, you knew he wanted to sign him and bring him to the UFC to see just where he stood among the heavyweights in that division.

With Fedor down to two fights on his Strikeforce contract heading into Saturday’s bout, the UFC had one last attempt to sign him over the next year. Now, with the loss, that urgency on the UFC’s part is completely gone.

Not only did Fedor lose, not only did he lose in just over one minute, but he lost to a man that the UFC cut because they didn’t feel he was worth his contract.

Werdum has lost in the octagon to Andrei Arlovski and Junior dos Santos, but he just beat Fedor without landing a strike.

Now when contract talks come around, White can look at know that he doesn’t have to sign him to prove anything. If anything, now Fedor has to prove himself against UFC heavyweights like Brock Lesnar, Shane Carwin, dos Santos, and Cain Velasquez.

Now White can proclaim he has the top fighters in the world in the heavyweight division and in the pound-for-pound category. Trust me, as smug as it might be to make a big deal out of it in the media, White won’t hesitate to do so.

So while Werdum is enjoying his night of success, White is feeling like its Christmas day.

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What a difference 5 years makes in MMA

The main event of UFC 115 next weekend would have been one of the biggest fights ever five years ago. Former champions Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell will meet in a fight where in all reality, the loser should retire. The winner won’t have much of anywhere to move up the ladder and the loser will really only deserve to be on a PPV undercard.

It is amazing how quickly things have changed in MMA and looking back just five years ago to see who the UFC champions were and where they are now. On June 4, 2005, the UFC held UFC 53: Heavy Hitters where Franklin won the middleweight title over Evan Tanner. As of that show, here is a look at who the UFC champions were and how their careers have quickly headed south.

Heavyweight Champion – Andrei Arlovski: At UFC 53, Arlovski defended his title for the first time defeating the late Justin Eilers by TKO in the first round after Eilers blew his knee out. It was Arlovski’s fifth-straight win at the time, all of which were by stoppage. Arlovski followed that win with a one-punch KO of Paul Buentello at UFC 55 and was largely considered the most dominant champion in the organization. However, a bizarre loss to Tim Sylvia at UFC 59, in which Arlovski has Sylvia beat but then was caught with as straight jab that led to a TKO loss, started the downfall of his career. Another loss to Syliva led to a five-fight winning streak, but the fighter was never quite the same. He lost his aggression and confidence and has since lost three-straight fights and is almost an afterthought in MMA. His most recent fight was a decision loss to Antonio Silva, which was a sad performance where he never showed the aggression that made him the dominant champion of five years ago.

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Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery Picks & Predictions

Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery takes place tonight at 10PM ET on Showtime with some interesting fights. The promotion is looking to erase the memory of the live brawl on CBS during its last show and to do so, they need some solid fights out of their heavyweights tonight. Here is my take on the bouts and who I think will win.

Strikeforce Heavyweight Championship – Alistair Overeem (32-11) vs. Brett Rogers (10-1) – Overeem hasn’t fought for Strikeforce since 2007, yet somehow is still their heavyweight champion. Despite the long layoff from the promotion, he has fought overseas a number of times, with his last seven fights ending in the first round and all six wins ending in less than two minutes. Rogers is coming off his first MMA loss, to Fedor Emelianenko last November. The key for him in this fight will be what did he learn from that loss. Overeem likes to attack and end the fight early, as does Rogers, but Overeem has the experience to know not to put himself in a bad position. I think experience pays off in this fight as Overeem is able to defeat Rogers by TKO late in the first.

Heavyweight Bout – Andrei Arlovski (15-7) vs. Antonio Silva (13-2) – Arlovski has fallen on hard times, getting quickly knocked out by Rogers and Fedor in his last two fights. This will be his first bout in nearly a year and he understands the importance of a win, as he has switched up camps and went to Jackson’s MMA and American Kickboxing Academy for training. Silva is a good fighter, but he hasn’t beaten anyone of note in his career. He could land a big punch on Arlovski’s weak chin, but look for the Bela-Russian to work combos and leg kicks to eventually earn a TKO in round three.

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Saturday MMA Review: 8/8

Here’s a weekly rundown of MMA content from Ben Goldstein of CagePotato.com:

– Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko told the UFC to get stuffed, and signed with rival MMA promotion Strikeforce. As you can imagine, Dana White wasn’t too happy about this.

– James Irvin officially became the most cursed MMA fighter in history.

– Josh Barnett’s latest steroid bust, which single-handedly destroyed Affliction’s MMA promotion, actually saved the sport of mixed martial arts.

– Speaking of ‘roids, BJ Penn is pretty sure that Georges St. Pierre uses them, because how else would you explain his physique? You know, other than genetics and hard work…

– Sengoku’s featherweight grand prix finals turned into a clusterbang of injuries and racism.

– Former UFC heavyweight champ Andrei Arlovski may have attempted suicide after two straight knockout losses.

– Busty French-Canadian ring girl Edith Labelle exited the UFC under mysterious circumstances. Rumor has it, she was too drunk to work UFC 100 last month.

– Swing by CagePotato.com Saturday night starting at 10 p.m. ET / 7 p.m. PT for our liveblog of the UFC 101 pay-per-view broadcast. You can get familiar with the card by reading this debate on the major topics of the event, and our always-helpful gambling advice. And remember: This ain’t Las Vegas, and it ain’t New Jersey. This is Philly.

MMA Preview: Strikeforce & WEC

This weekend Mixed Martial Arts has two solid shows taking place outside of the UFC label. It begins Saturday on Showtime at 10 p.m. with Strikeforce presenting a strong card of recognizable fighters, a few of which are still considered among the best in the world. On Sunday, the WEC (World Extreme Cagefighting) takes center state with WEC 41: Brown vs. Faber 2, which is highlighted by the Featherweight championship (145 lbs) rematch of champion Mike Thomas Brown against former champion Urijah Faber. That show will air on Versus at 9 p.m.

Here is a quick breakdown of the feature fights and my predictions for both shows:

Strikeforce at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Mo.

– Kevin Randleman (17-12) vs. Mike Whitehead (23-6) Light-Heavyweight (205lbs): Kevin Randleman was a giant in the MMA world in the late 90’s and in the beginning of the 2000’s, but now Randleman is finding himself in the same position as many of the giants in those days like Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie, where the sport has passed him bye. Loser of five of his last seven fights, Randleman needs a win over UFC veteran Mike Whitehead, who has won 13 of his last 14 and has looked good since his move down to light-heavyweight (205 lbs). I like Whitehead by decision or TKO from ground-and-pound on a tired Randleman.

– Joe Riggs (29-10) vs. Phil Baroni (13-10) Middleweight (185lbs): Phil Baroni and Joe Riggs are classic examples of two fighters that had worlds of potential and never tapped into it. Both men have tremendous power, but both are notorious for their lack of endurance as fights move on. Baroni tries to throw all his power in each punch which limits him later on and Riggs has a suspect chin that has caused quick knockout losses. If Baroni has truly improved his training, I see him winning this one as Riggs is the mentally weaker fighter. I take Baroni by TKO late in round one.

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