MMAWeekly.com’s Ryan Bennett has his latest installment of his Bennett Breakdown which talks about Quinton Jackson, Frank and Ken Shamrock, Josh Thomson and more…..
“What an amazing live show from the WEC this weekend. I will tell you right now, remember the names Mike Pyle, Scott Smith and Justin Levens. Those three are ready for the UFC right now. Levens I think needs to cut to 185 but he has so many skills, even in the loss he impressed me. Smith is a bulldozer and he may be another guy that should cut to 185, but I don’t know if he can. He has power in both hands and can KO anybody if he hits you.
Pyle is a special talent at 170 and needs to face top flight competition. He is that good. He trains in Las Vegas with Randy Couture, Heath Herring, Forrest Griffin and company.
One other WEC note. Vernon Tiger White looked impressive in his win. He then went on to call out “Chuck the EYES-man Liddell” was his specific quote in his post fight interview. Vernon still believes the reason he lost was a finger in the eye, not the punches.
Onto other MMA News….
I had it confirmed that Quinton Jackson and Frank Shamrock both have fights coming up in February and March respectively. Jackson confirmed it to me this weekend that he will be fighting in the upcoming Pride show at the end of February against an opponent to be named soon. The show is scheduled for February 26th at the Saitama Arena. I’ve also heard that Nogueira, Mauricio Shogun Rua, Mark Coleman, Kevin Randleman, Sergei Kharitonov, Mario Sperry, and possibly Josh Barnett are expected to compete.
Frank Shamrock vs Ceasar Gracie finally will happen in mid March. The fight is scheduled to take place in San Jose, California for the Strike Force promotion. Shamrock apparently is expected to fight in Japan after this fight, as I hear Sakuraba wants to face Frank, but in order to fight in Japan, he has to fulfill the signed contract to face Gracie first. That’s why this fight is on the fast track to finally happen and it looks as though Strike Force event will take place in San Jose in mid March.
Josh Thompson will also be a part of the Strike Force card in March as Thompson told me he is set to square off against either Hermes Franca or Charles “Crazy Horse” Bennett for the event. Speaking of Thompson, he told me this weekend that after his next fight in Strike Force, he will then head to Japan to compete in Pride for their April show.
I talked to Ken Shamrock over the weekend. I asked him if he will attempt a Lion’s Den type of crazy training that you saw on MMAWeekly TV for the upcoming Ultimate Fighter show… Ken said, “No, these guys know what to expect. They should already be in shape by the time they get into the house. I will test them more mentally, than physically.” Taping for the Ultimate Fighter Show begins this upcoming week from Las Vegas featuring the 185 pound weight class and the 205 Light Heavyweight Division.
This is an amazing month for MMA and it will become the norm now. The UFC is expected to put on a live show per month. For January we saw the WEC put on a spectacular card Friday, Monday is the Ultimate Fighter on Spike and Friday is the Rumble on the Rock card from beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii. Three stacked shows in 9 days. Great for the MMA fans.
What to watch for….
- Ultimate Fighter – Stephan Bonnar vs James Irvin – Bonnar went from unknown to Ultimate Fighter Superstar overnight. This is a great spot for Irvin who I think has been disrespected to an extent by the hardcore MMA fans. This could be a coming out party for Irvin if he can overcome the “moment” of the UFC that froze him for the Mike Kyle fight. I don’t think Irvin has shown what kind of fighter he is in the UFC yet and he has a chance to showcase his skills against Bonnar. For Bonnar it’s simple. With a win Stephan puts himself on the fast track to face a Top 10 fighter to show he is legit at the weight. So far we’ve seen his friends in Season 1 like Diego Sanchez, Mike Swick and Chris Leben show they are legit. Speaking of Leben…
- Jorge Rivera vs Chris Leben – I have no idea who will win this fight. Rivera is nasty in the clinch and is a very hard puncher, but will he get frustrated when he can’t knockout Leben? Leben has a concrete head as Patrick Cote found out. Cote hit him flush and Leben smiled back at him. If Rivera can be patient like he was in his win over David Loiseau, he will do well in the fight. Leben may not be the most talented striker, but he has heart and will not back down from anyone, not to mention an iron chin which will be tested once again. Great fight all the way around and the fans no doubt win.
RUMBLE ON THE ROCK
I haven’t been this excited about a tournament in a very long time. I truly believe every single underdog on this card can win. The favorites should be the favorites; however, let me give you some info about the underdogs.
Carlos Condit is from the same gym in New Mexico as Diego Sanchez and Nathan Marquardt. This guy has very good skills and I hear their gym is extremely confident that he will not only beat Charuto Verissimo, but he will be the dark horse of the tournament. Very well-rounded and ready to go. It should be a great battle.
Ronald “Machine Gun” Jhun is still dangerous at this point of his career. If any of you have seen his fight with Team Quests’ Ryan Schultz you can see how dangerous he truly is. Jhun is very much like the University of Hawaii football team. Very good at home, not very good on the road. Jhun has fought well in Hawaii and has trained very hard and will be tough to beat in Oahu. Trigg still has to answer the questions about his losses to Hughes and St. Pierre mentally. After two difficult losses, you wonder how he will react if he gets rocked in the fight. Will Trigg come out tentative in this fight or aggressive? This could be a great scrap in Hawaii.
Yushin Okami is a huge underdog against Anderson Silva. Word in Japan is that Okami has good ground skills and he doesn’t expect this fight to stay on the feet much. Silva’s last few fights have been against strikers. For Anderson to win this tourney he will have to go through Okami, Menne or Shields and possibly Trigg or Charuto. Silva won’t have a chance to show off his stand-up skills for very long in this tournament in my opinion. We will have a great idea where Anderson Silva is after the tourney. Okami hopes to be the first to pull off the upset.
Not sure if Shields is an underdog to Menne or not. I guess when the odds come out next week we will all know who the underdog truly is in the oddsmakers point of view. Shields has great submissions and is a bit disrespected in the fight game, especially for being a former Shooto champion.
This is Shields chance to prove he is a legit Top 10 fighter. For Menne this could be a coming out party or the end of an era for the former UFC Champion. We’ve seen a downslide for guys that have had almost too many fights. Shonie Carter found that out this weekend and is definitely on the decline. Is Menne at the same point of his career? We should have a better idea if Menne is on his way down or if he’s still a top contender. Menne believes this can be his coming out party to show the world that he’s ready to return to the Top 10.
One other thing regarding the Tournament it’s not all in one night. The first round is Friday night, then in April will be the completion of the tournament with the semi-finals and finals. Cabbage vs Butterbean should be interesting to say the least.
This week the radio show goes live from Hawaii starting Wednesday, as we will have more information upcoming throughout the week. Enjoy one of the best MMA months in recent memory and see you live from Hawaii starting Wednesday. Aloha.