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It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned one of Adam Morgan’s articles … usually I only write about stuff when I have something to add, and Adam typically covers everything. But not this time! A few days back Adam went over potential opponents for Randy Couture, but he was a bit high on the speculation and low on the facts. But don’t worry buddy ol’ pal … I’ve got you covered.

First off, lets take a look at what we have for contender matches over the next few months. Randy has basically said he doesn’t expect to be fighting again this year so we’ve got several months for the HW division to sort it’s shit out and vomit up a suitable challenger. So far the matches are:

Mirko Crocop vs Cheik Kongo
This fight was booked to create some fireworks, and to let Mirko show off his striker’s pedigree. If Mirko wins, I have very little doubt in my mind that he’ll be next in line to fight Randy. This is kinda too bad … in my opinion title shots shouldn’t be given to guys who aren’t coming off a streak.

But the UFC paid big money and really only have Crocop for 6 fights. Kongo will be fight #4, and if fight #5 isn’t for the title I don’t know if Mirko will stick around and sign another contract with the UFC. Back when he signed this contract, he said several times that he planned to retire once it was through. Will he re-sign with the UFC if he hasn’t even gotten a title shot? Will he retire if he’s only defended the belt once? Pride is a huge part of Mirko’s reason for still fighting … if he hasn’t cememted his legacy by the end of his existing contract, will pride be enough to bring him back?

On the other hand, I don’t see Kongo getting a title shot if he beats Mirko. The idea of him and Randy Couture squaring off is about the most hilarious thing ever. Maybe in three years once Kongo has spent enough time at Big Bear to really wrestle … but no way Kongo even gets near a title without two more solid wins under his belt.

Tim Sylvia vs Brandon Vera
Honestly, no one wants to see Tim Sylvia vs Randy Couture 2. But if Tim beats Brandon Vera, it might have to happen sooner rather than later. Dana White has proven that he’s willing to toss title shots out the window if a fighter gets an unimpressive win, so Tim’s chances of being the next guy to fight Randy are really dependant on how he does against Vera. Considering the situation, it will take a very impressive win indeed to cinch an immediate rematch with the Natural.

On the other hand, the UFC has already proven that they’re 100% behind Brandon Vera with multiple press releases. If Vera manages to get by Tim Sylvia, he’ll have lived up to the hype and gained the mainstream approval all fighters seem to get after smashing Tim’s face up. But where does this put him for a title shot? In a pretty good spot, actually. Even if Crocop wins, the Croatian’s contract and Dana White’s apparent iffyness on Mirko’s reliability could swing the title shot back onto Brandon Vera’s plate.

There’s still a lot of guys who need to be booked as well:

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Big Nog is the one rumored to be Randy’s next opponent, but the UFC would have to be crazy giving him a title shot after his performance with Heath Herring. While Gonzaga might have been prematurely thrown into a title shot, at least fans felt he earned it with his domination of Mirko Crocop. If the UFC wants to sell Nog as a real threat to Randy Couture, he’ll have to get past someone impressivel. However, there’s not a whole bunch more fighters that the UFC can legitimately throw into the ring with Nogueira. If I were Joe Silva I’d put him against Fabricio Werdum by the November show. An impressive win again Werdum could be what’s needed to put Nog into contention in the average fan’s mind.

Andrei Arlovski
Andrei’s going to be a benchwarmer until he signs a new contract with the UFC. I wouldn’t expect this to happen any time soon … the UFC is overly cocky about the strength of it’s Heavyweight division right now (which is a bit stupid considering how most of the big name guys are underperforming). Plus it makes a certain amount of sense for Andrei to sit out and let the new heavyweights sort themselves. So don’t expect this staring contest to end any time soon. My bet is on Andrei showing up on New Years Eve at earliest, and there’s no way in hell he’ll be the next guy to fight Randy.

Heath Herring
Haha, just kidding!

Fedor Emelianenko
The wild card. Unsigned at this point, Randy Couture made a big deal of asking specifically for the potbellied Russian. After seeing Dana White joygasm over Wanderlei Silva’s signing, I think we all know it’s a fight he’d give his firstborn to make. The question is if there’s ironclad procedures within the UFC preventing him from signing a deal with unusual exceptions.

Everyone keeps saying Combat Sambo is the huge stumbling block, but I can’t see it being the main one. UFC fighters have been participating in the ADCC and other grappling tournaments for years, so why would this be the main sticking point? There’s definately something bigger going on here … it wouldn’t surprise me to learn Fedor’s management is trying to force a UFC/M-1 co-promotion in Russia.

Only time will tell what’s going to happen, but one thing is for sure. The moment Fedor signs with the UFC, he’ll become first in line for a heavyweight title shot.

Mirko is still in the lead as most likely to fight Couture next. Brandon Vera comes next, and unless the UFC is willing to wait until February to have Randy back in the ring, I don’t see Big Nog being next in line. Tim Sylvia would have to rip Vera’s head off and shit down his neck to get a title shot, and Andrei’s stuck on the sidelines so don’t expect anything from him.

Fuck you, Japan. More specifically, fuck your MMA promoters who have their heads up their asses. I dunno if it’s Mr Sparkle or Godzilla or a moderately intelligent bowl of ramen noodles booking the fights for K-1 HEROs, but whoever the hell is in charge needs to commit sepuku right now. See here:

The return of Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto was announced Friday at a press conference in Tokyo, ending a nine-month spell that had kept the popular fighter out of the ring while he pursued a bid with Japan’s Olympic wrestling team, then recovered from a elbow injury sustained in its Trials.

Yamamoto (15-1-0) is scheduled to participate at Sept. 17’s “OLYMPIA HERO’S 2007″ in a “Superfight” main event bout agianst Bibiano Fernandes (1-1-0). Yamamto won last by TKO over Istvan Majoros at the “K-1 – Premium 2006 Dynamite!!” New Year’s show.

You may not know Kid Yamamoto … if you don’t, check him out here. A big part of why you don’t know him is because he keeps getting booked to fight terrible fighters with terrible records. Why is one of the best featherweight fighters in the world fighting a guy who’s 1-1-0? For that matter, what was up with his last fight against wrestler Istvan Majoros? According to the Shitdog Fightfinder, this guy’s first and only fight was against Kid.

Seriously, Japan. Smarten up and start booking some good fights. Sure, PRIDE was almost as bad at booking matches, but at least they booked freakshows. If you’re going to put Kid against a dude with no MMA experience, at least make him fight a 400 pound monster or something.

I know I’m being a big softy when it comes to my fellow blogging brothers … it’s been a big bukkake extravaganza over here lately, with everyone but Kevin Iole invited. Well, Kevin and Jake Rossen anyways. But I just can’t help it … we are simply so fucking awesome. If there was a Pulitzer given out for Human Cockfighting journalists, I simply don’t know who would win!

Here’s a perfect example of a fellow blogger dude who connected the dots better than I’ve ever done. Shawn Ennis from MMATorch lays out the logic behind Hermes Franca’s decision to juice and how the UFC really is forcing it’s athletes to do whatever they have to do to stay in the big leagues:

Back in late 2005, Karo Parisyan was on a bit of a roll. He’d won four straight fights over some stiff competition in the form of Shonie Carter, Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and current champ Matt Serra. His last loss had come at the hands of Georges St. Pierre, who had lost his own bid at the title shortly thereafter. Matt Hughes had just vanquished Frank Trigg for the second time, and it seemed that he and Parisyan were on a collision course.

Fate would intervene, however, when Parisyan was injured shortly before his scheduled bout with then-champion Hughes at UFC 56. Parisyan had to pull out of the fight, and Joe Riggs would go on to lose to Hughes in what turned out to be a non-title fight, due to Riggs’ inability to make weight (which is another story in itself).

Just a bump in the road for Parisyan, right? Well, not really. Parisyan came back and fought in an untelevised bout against UFC rookie Nick Thompson in April of 2006 for his return. He would then go on to lose to Diego Sanchez in what many considered to be the best fight of 2006, before beating Drew Fickett and Josh Burkman by decision. And now? Now there’s at least the winner of Koscheck/St. Pierre in front of the Armenian. Almost two years have passed, and Parisyan is no closer to his lost title shot than he was when he fought Nick Thompson.

So the lesson learned for any UFC title contender is that you don’t pull out of a title fight unless you really can’t go. Do whatever you have to in order to fight, but you’ve got to fight.

This is definitely a good read, and I encourage you to check out the rest of the article. It’s one thing to report news and another to connect the dots and bring some perspective to what’s going on with the fight scene.

A new episode of the Low Blow was served up this morning. Go check it out! And don’t forget to tell us what you think!

Yeah, everyone’s talking like Babalu is gonna ‘lose his job’ or get fined some retarded amount of money. Truth of the matter is the worst Nevada will be able to do is fine him up to $5000 and maybe suspend him for up to 6 months. And guess what? Knowing Babalu (we spent a wonderful summer together at band camp, or Acampamento da Faixa as it’s called in South America), this is probably going to be his response:

NSAC: We hereby suspend you for 3 months and fine you $2000 for choking David Heath out after your bout was over.

Babalu: Can I get a receipt for the fine? I want to frame it and put it on my wall.

Babalu isn’t rich enough to not care at all, but I have no doubt he’s going to consider it money well spent. Past getting to choke out a guy he doesn’t like, he’s also no longer known as “That guy who got tooled by Chuck Liddell”. Just like Tim Sylvia upgraded from “That guy who shit his pants” to “That boring guy no one likes”, I think “That guy who practically murdered David Heath” is a step up for Babalu, even if this whole fiasco is just a lot of hot air.

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