It’s been a slow week for MMA news since War Machine started serving his prison sentence. Although that’s a cheap excuse for being a lazy journalist, let’s be fair: The reports are still coming in that Jake Shields has signed with the UFC 2-3 months after we already knew it was going to happen. I’m forced to continuously act surprised at the risk of getting 209’d by everyone at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Times like these are great for starting rumors, but even that’s getting old so I’m going to start making fight announcements as though they’re groundbreaking news and you’re going to pretend to be excited about each and every one of them until an MMA fighter rescues a puppy from a burning building or posts his phone number on Twitter.
Originally supposed to be an announcement of the rubber match between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin we’ve now learned that Matt Hamill will be the next man to face Tito Ortiz. Although the idea of Tito fighting anyone besides Chuck Liddell seems somewhat disappointing, it’s a lot better an idea than watching Tito vs. Forrest again this soon. This marks the first case of teacher vs. student from The UFC’s Ultimate Fighter Series. Some of you may remember Season 3: Team Ortiz vs. Team Shamrock where Tito spent about 30 minutes of each episode praising how much potential Matt Hamill had. All that potential has now inked a contract to put fist to face in what may be Tito’s last fight in the UFC if he loses. No word yet on who Jenna Jameson plans on cheering for.
Up next, Todd Duffee will return to action and attempt to stuff Jon Madsen‘s takedowns for 3 full rounds at UFC 121. Duffee was last seen dominating Mike Russow at UFC 114 until getting caught in the final round with a single overhand right (which seems to be the weapon of choice for humanoids immune to punishment like Dan Henderson, Robbie Lawlor, and Fedor). Both prospects seem to do really well with their existing skillsets, but Duffee remains the fan-favorite following the most vicious 7 second octagon debut knockout victory over Tim Hague at UFC 102. Sometimes I have nightmares about that fight, then I wake up and remember that Todd Duffee drives a Smart Car and it makes him a bit less menacing (at least in theory).
Also on UFC 121, Brendan Schaub will face his biggest challenge to date in a calm, collected Gabriel Gonzaga who’s desperate for a win. Following KO losses to Shane Carwin and Junior Dos Santos, Gabriel is hungrier for this win than I am for a beef & bean burrito following a night of binge drinking. Both fighters have heavy hands, but Gonzaga’s BJJ is truly world class, and following Werdum’s win over Fedor, those words have a whole new meaning. This is a huge opportunity for both guys and furthermore goes to show why Joe Silva is the best matchmaker in the universe.
Shark Fights has announced their September 11th fightcard will be headlined by Keith Jardine vs. Trevor Prangley. Both fighters are coming off losses where they were each served their walking papers from their respective organizations. No official word on whether or not “The Dean of Mean” will enter as Technoviking, which singlehandedly dictates whether or not I’ll watch that fight.
Additionally, Shark Fights will feature Sokoudjou vs. Houston Alexander as the co-main event. Yes, you read that correctly… The ‘African Assassin’ vs. the ‘Assassin’ in a fight which will surely end via assassination if we go by their namesakes. Both fighters are coming off of wins and looking to formidably keep their nickname-rights.
Bisping will face Sexyama as the headliner of UFC 120 at the O2 Arena in London on Oct 16. If you find Bisping to be attractive, then you might consider this to be the sexiest fight in history. If you don’t, then it’s still sexy, but only on the side of the octagon that Yoshihiro Akiyama is on. Any man that enters the octagon to Andrea Bocelli and has a smile that rivals the actors in Crest commercials reminds the average man that mediocrity doesn’t get you a hot wife. Sexyama may be the last living man on Earth who could still teach the ‘Situation’ a thing or two about how to sculpt abs properly, and because of that alone, you should be excited for this fight.
I think I’ve saved the best for last, but I suppose that’s subjective. I mean, it’s sort of a Team Edward vs. Team Jacob thing when you’re talking about Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner. You either love/hate either dude, and you want to see one guy decisively beat the other. Somehow, the rematch seemed to keep getting lost on the WEC’s agenda for the past year, but MMAFighting.com is now reporting that Donald Cerrone and Jamie Varner will finally resolve their differences at WEC 51, which is shaping up to be the most exciting WEC card since their PPV debut in April. These two have made it abundantly clear they don’t like each other, and not just for the sake of rawesome hype-videos. Varner and Cerrone hate each other and this rematch is as personal as Lesnar vs. Mir and as intense as Rampage vs. Rashad. Logistically, both fighters are looking for redemption following losses to Ben Henderson via guillotine chokes. The winner of this fight should be right back in the mix for a rematch, making it all the more exciting.
That concludes today’s Stevia induced announcementpalooza. I will now spend the remainder of the day eating a Bahn Mi sandwich and learning Morse code while I wait patiently for Sarah Kaufman’s post-fight speech at Strikeforce Challengers tomorrow night that should have at least one reference to cookies, unless Roxanne Modafferi ‘Kanyes’ the mic to throw down some mono-tone karaoke of her own. Whatever happens, thankfully, there will finally be some live MMA in what seems like a whole week.