UFC: Fight fans descend on Stockholm
As UFC Sweden’s fight week kicks off in earnest we take a look at the furore surrounding Alistair Overeem’s mooted title shot, Brian Stann’s recent personal turmoil and a stocky featherweight who could steal the Scandinavian limelight this weekend…
Alistair Overeem’s participation in UFC 146 has been cast into considerable doubt by the failed drug test taken following the event’s pre-fight press conference. Critics have long questioned Overeem’s transition from lithe light heavyweight to hulking 265lb behemoth. We are not here to judge any athlete. That is up to the relevant legislative and sporting bodies. In the midst of the controversy “The Reem” has filed an application for a fight licence and therefore is still a theoretical participant in Junior Dos Santos’ first title defence. I like many fight fans will be left sorely disappointed if next month’s proposed clash of the titans doesn’t transpire.
The $64,000 question now of course is… if Overeem is indeed forced to withdraw from what was building to become the fight of the year, who shall occupy his much coveted dressing room in the bowels of the MGM Grand. UFC President Dana White has already stated that Junior Dos Santos will still defend his title on May 26th and so fight fans around the globe have been discussing fervently who may end up locking horns with the imposing current heavyweight kingpin.
The prospects of Mir, Velasquez, Hunt and Co. have been rattling around in my brain all weekend. Dana White has been categorical in stating that Mir vs Velasquez will remain intact. I for one whole heartedly agree. Why tinker with an already sumptuous contender fight fit to grace a main event anywhere in the world?
Dan Henderson has let it be known that if offered he would take the match-up. I was unsurprised by this. The former 185lb’er is a true fighter who would literally take on any challenger regardless of the weight class. A quintessential MMA pioneer Hendo’s fight ethic screams “old school”! The powers that be in Zuffa probably value the Team Quest co-founder’s adaptability as a title challenger at middleweight or light heavyweight too much to jeopardise his availability later this year whilst other more natural heavyweights wait in the wings.
In my eyes this leaves Zuffa with one tantalising option. I touched base with ESPNUK’s Ben Blackmore to get his view on a hypothetical opponent for JDS in the event of Alistair Overeem’s exclusion. Blackmore concurred with my gut reaction…Mark Hunt. He pointed to the old “styles make fights” adage with Hunt being capable of truly testing Dos Santos’ chin. Blackmore even suggested that the Brazilian may even look to take it to the ground in the face of an infamous Hunt striking onslaught.
Brian Stann puts fight game into perspective
Brian Stann has this week opened up about the recent tragedy that threw the highly respected war veteran’s personal life into turmoil. Stann’s 26 year old brother-in-law Louie died suddenly and violently in December. Stann believes that the tragedy has put the fight game clearly into perspective for him. Speaking in his FoxSports blog the middleweight stand-out said
“It goes without saying that this has been an incredibly difficult time for my wife and our family. Rather than allow it to beat us up and question my role as a fighter, however, I’ve tried to approach it a different way. I’ve used this horrible situation to regain some perspective, both on my fighting career and life itself.”
We can only wish Brian and his family well at this difficult time. Being the professional that he is I expect him to channel his emotions into a victory over Italian foe Alessio Sakara in the co-main event this Saturday night.
UFC Sweden fighter focus-Dennis Siver
Dennis Siver is one of my favourite fighters to watch. The strongly built 33 year old always “brings it” when the cage door is slammed shut. Siver would conceivably be on the cusp of a 145lb title shot if he defeats Diego Nunes this weekend in Stockholm. The Russian born kickboxer has won four of his past five outings. Nunes is a genuinely tough debut at the weight but he is about to get a stirring reminder of the power that Siver brings to the table. Assuming his first weight cut goes to plan I expect Siver to serve notice to the rest of the featherweight division by way of second round knock-out.
TUF Live: Chiesa triumphs in emotional victory
As we are eased into this season of TUF the personalities of the rival coaches becomes increasingly apparent. Dominick Cruz has illustrated an iron clad determination to succeed and attention to detail. In the build-up to Chiesa vs Larsen his attempted coercion of Sam Sicilia however smacked somewhat of desperation. Knowing that Chiesa would have too much for his charge on the ground Cruz tried to utilise their friendship for competitive ends. This was to no avail as an emotional Chiesa garnered a grinding victory via unanimous decision.
Cruz has chastised his team’s resident complainer Chris Tickle frequently thus far in the series. With Faber electing Tickle to face Joe Proctor in next week’s live fight, now is the time for the Marc Fiore student to silence his critics.
Mayhem tapping into Sonnen’s PR machismo?
Being an avid twitter follower I noticed Jason “Mayhem” Miller attempting to spark an online confrontation with the UFC’s one man PR machine Chael Sonnen. The likeable Miller may see knocking heads with Sonnen as one way to re-invigorate his stalling UFC career.
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