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November 12th was the UFC’s 15th birthday, and November 11th was the 9th anniversary of the date Andrei Arlovski first stepped into the octagon. So here’s a belated tribute to Andrei’s nine years of fashion / lack there-of in the United States of America. A bunch of these pics are from the Sherdog picture gallery of Arlovski, so go check that out or something if you want more Pit Bull action.

Dana White is trying to add some last second juice to the UFC 91 undercard by declaring that Kenny Florian vs Joe Stevenson is now for a title shot:

“This fight is going to be amazing, and the winner of this fight will face B.J. Penn for the lightweight title after B.J. fights Georges St. Pierre,” White said at the press conference, which was open to the public and attended by media members and hundreds of fans.

Just playing a bit of Murphy’s Law with this promise here, but what happens if Joe Stevenson wins and BJ Penn loses? It’s not like that’s a very far-fetched proposition or anything. Stevenson vs Penn 2? I enjoyed the bloodbath the first time around, but I have my doubts that even the UFC could manage to sell a second fight to the masses. Maybe as part of a card also featuring Anderson Silva vs Rich Franklin 3. You could call it UFC 98: Deja Vu.

I can’t imagine that Dana doesn’t realize the corner he’s painting himself into. Assuming he’s not being a retard, you gotta figure he knows something we don’t know: that win or lose, BJ Penn is gonna be sticking around at welterweight. Penn has said the lightweight division doesn’t have any fights left that interest him. So again … this isn’t a very far-fetched conclusion to make.

My bet is the lightweight belt is just being kept around BJ’s waist till after the fight with GSP so the UFC can sell the champ vs champ angle of the fight. Then we’ll end up with the winner of Stevenson vs Florian fighting Sherk or something. Yeah, having Sherk get his third title shot in just over two years is kinda balls, but who else at lightweight are you gonna tap?

Something cool from yesterday’s UFC 91 presser:

One interesting twist to the press conference was the addition of fan questions. Several attendees in the MGM lobby were allowed to throw some querys at the fighters and White. Somehow I don’t see the NFL allowing that anytime soon. Maybe it’s another example of how MMA has developed a close bond with its fans while the traditional power sports seem to have a  chasm growing between their athletes and fans.

To be fair, other sports have more psychos than MMA … if you let them ask questions it would all be “Can you fuck my wife?” and “You’re a goddamn bum, Favre!” It’s not like mixed martial arts is immune to this shit happening … UFC Fight Club Q&A sessions quickly devolve into people asking for hugs and signatures from Dana White, and there was that time when some chick spazzed out on Dana White for treating Tito Ortiz like shit. But hey, it’s all fun and games until someone asks Dana White something pointed about fighter pay that the rest of the press corps doesn’t have the balls to ask.

And here I was thinking Dana had just pulled that 1.2 million PPV buys number out of his ass:

So how do they determine that number? White says the company has “mad scientists” who crunch data and are very accurate with their estimates.

“It took us a long time to figure out how to do this, but we come damn close to nailing the number,” he said. “Boxing’s been doing it for years. They get these guys paid before the fight because they know exactly what they’d do on PPV buys. There’s a formula to it, a secret. We figured it out. We should be very close. I’m predicting 1.2. Maybe a little over, or a little under, but we’ll be in that range.”

I wonder if those boxing scientists have figured out what to do about that boxing AIDS that has been ravaging the sport for years. ‘More De La Hoya’ is only gonna work for another year or two. Regarding Dana and his mad scientists, I figure the conversation went something like this:

“So whatever we do with the rest of the card, the numbers will stay the same?”
“Yup”
“Even if we add Quinton Jackson vs Wanderlei Silva?”
“Yup”
“And what if we stack the rest of the card with fights no one gives a shit about?”
“Dana, we’ve already gone over this. Remember New Jersey?”

Betwwx has put together a list that confirms something I already suspected: that Randy Couture does much better when he’s the underdog. Here’s all of the odds on Randy Couture’s fights since he took on Josh Barnett back in 2002:

Gabriel Gonzaga -140 vs. Randy Couture +110
Tim Sylvia -235 vs. Randy Couture +205
Chuck Liddell -135 vs. Randy Couture +115
Mike Van Arsdale +300 vs. Randy Couture -370
Chuck Liddell +205 vs. Randy Couture -255
Vitor Belfort +160 vs. Randy Couture -185
Vitor Belfort +200 vs. Randy Couture -240
Tito Ortiz -200 vs. Randy Couture +170
Chuck Liddell -225 vs. Randy Couture +185
Ricco Rodriquez +100 vs. Randy Couture -140
Josh Barnett +135 vs. Randy Couture -165

That’s Couture coming out with a 4-1 record as an underdog, and 2-4 when he’s a favorite. Saturday’s fight is Brock Lesnar (-125) and Randy Couture (-105). The odds are pretty damn close but judging from the predictions coming out from most people, I think it’s safe to say Couture is the underdog once again.

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