Monday, March 31, 2008

MMAmania Interview with Kurt Pellegrino just published my recent interview with UFC Lightweight contender Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino. You can find it here.

Kurt was mighty cool to talk with. He shed some light on his upcoming fight with Nate Diaz, his "Batman" nickname and his skillz in Brazilian Jui-Jitsu.

Pellegrino/Diaz takes place this Wednesday at UFC Fight Night 13 and is free on Spike TV. It is also the lead in for the debut of The Ultimate Fighter 7 with coaches Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin.

Should be a great match-up for fans of BJJ. Both guys are incredible in the submission game.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

SteelSkins UFC Power Rankings - 10th Edition

Wow, I’ve been gone for a while, spending more and more of my time over at, but wouldn’t you know it’s time to update those SteelSkins UFC Power Rankings! While it seems like forever ago since we last updated the Top 15, there has actually only been one UFC event in that time—UFC 82, which I was fortunate enough to attend live in Columbus, OH.

SteelSkins picks for UFC 82 were a good 6 – 3, but it was an easy card to score. This moves our overall record to 24 – 10. Not too shabby.

Now let’s see those Power Rankings.


Heath Herring upset Cheick Kongo to win via split decision. Herring looked great and has significantly improved his conditioning, losing a few extra pounds along the way. While we didn’t pick it, we’re happy with the upset and felt Kongo was a bit overrated due to his win over a fading Cro Cop.

In the night’s only other HW bout, Andrei Arlovski fulfilled the last fight on his contract, earning a 2nd round victory (TKO due to strikes) over the young Jake O’Brien. This was the most disappointing fight of the night. Without a contract, Arlovski had every incentive to pummel O’Brien, thereby making the case he was worth every dollar to keep. But Arlovski looked conservative in the first round and earned the occasional boo from the Columbus crowd.

I saw Jake O’Brien the night before the fight at the bar in the lobby of the hotel he was staying in. At first I thought he was drinking the night before a fight with the former HW Champion. I was shocked as he kept coming up and ordering more and more drinks for him and his entourage. Then I realized it was Jake’s twin brother ordering the drinks, and while Jake was present, he wasn’t drinking. Still, I was amazed at how young this kid is. His wrestling is very good, but his critics are right: he’s a one-trick pony who lays and prays. He’ll need to develop better striking and submissions if he ever wants to contend in the UFC.

Unfortunately, there’s really no one who deserves the #1 Contender spot in this division, and the occasionally boring Arlovski will have to do.

Only Frank Mir, Eddie Sanchez and Christian Wellisch have back-to-back wins inside the Octagon; while Arlovski has bettered that by one and is on a 3-fight win streak. He’s beaten Werdum and, more importantly, he hasn’t lost to a fighter who wasn’t named Tim Sylvia since March 2002.

Here’s to hoping the UFC resigns Arlovski, especially since Cro Cop has moved on to greener pastures in Japan, leaving the HW division thin to say the least.

In the meantime, the return of newly inducted Hall of Famer Mark “The Hammer” Coleman will have to do. We’ll see how the 43 year old does against the beast, Brock Lesnar, at UFC 87 in Minneapolis this August.

SteelSkins’ picks for Heavyweights this last month were 1-1, brining our HW total to 2-4:

  • Heath Herring def. Cheick Kongo (split decision) at UFC 82 – Our pick: Kongo (TKO – strikes, Rnd3)
  • Andrei Arlovski def. Jake O’Brien (TKO – strikes, Rnd 2) at UFC 82 – Our pick: Arlovski (TKO – strikes, Rnd1)

Upcoming Heavyweight fights currently scheduled and/or rumored include:

  • The double Octagon debut of #17 Brad Morris vs. #18 Cain Velasquez at UFC 83 (April 19) – Although he’s just 2-0, Velasquez has been lauded by his teammates as a future contender. That’s good enough for us. We’ll take Velasquez via TKO (strikes) in Rnd2
  • Christian Wellisch vs. Shane Carwin at UFC 84 (May 24) – Carwin’s debut is going to be a good one, as the 3-time NCAA Division II All-American and national wrestling champ is going to cruise to a 1st Round TKO (strikes).
  • Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera at UFC 85 (June 7) – I’d love to see Vera take this, but Werdum is for real. Werdum by decision.
  • Brock Lesnar vs. Mark Coleman at UFC 87 (August 9) – I like both these guys, and if Coleman can weather the initial storm, this could prove to be a battle. That said, we have to pick Lesnar (TKO – strikes) Rnd1

Your Top 15 Contenders are:

Light Heavyweights

There were no LHW fights since our last update, but there’s a shit ton coming up in the months ahead. We’re still 2-0 in picking fights in the division, for now.

The biggest news is Shogun Rua pulled out of his UFC 85 headliner with Chuck Liddell due to injury, and has been replaced by Rashad Evans (which temporarily left Thiago Silva without an opponent). Similarly, Stephan Bonner withdrew from his fight with Matt Hamill, and the explosive newcomer Tim Boetsch has stepped in. Oh yeah, and Wanderlei Silva is set to fight Keith Jardine. Holy shit, this is a great division!

Upcoming Light Heavyweight fights currently scheduled and/or rumored include:

  • Houston Alexander vs. #17 James Irvin at Fight Night 13 (April 2) – We’ll take Alexander (TKO – strikes) Rnd1
  • Matt Hamill vs. #18 Tim Boetsch at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Hamill (submission) Rnd2
  • Keith Jardine vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84 (May 24) – We’ll take Silva (TKO – strikes) Rnd3
  • Tito Ortiz vs. Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 – We’ll take Machida (decision)
  • Thiago Silva vs. #19 Antonio Mendes at UFC 84 – We’ll take Silva (submission) Rnd1
  • Wilson Gouveia vs. #25 Goran Reljic at UFC 84 – We’ll take Reljic (submission) Rnd2
  • Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou vs. #16 Kazuhiro Nakamura at UFC 84 – We’ll take Sokoudjou (TKO – strikes) Rnd1
  • Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans at UFC 85 (June 7) – We’ll take Liddell (decision)
  • Jason Lambert vs. #20 Luis Arthur Cane at UFC 85 – We’ll take Lambert (KO) Rnd2
  • Champion Rampage Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 (July 5) – We’ll take Griffin (decision)

Your Top 15 Contenders are:


Middleweight Champion (and pound-for-pound greatest fighter in the world) Anderson Silva defeated a game Dan Henderson in the UFC 82 main event. While we expected this to happen, we didn’t expect it to end in the second round. Hendo seemed to have won the first round with a solid game plan, but either stamina or Silva’s aggressive stand-up was too much for Hendo to take in the second, leading to his eventual submission via rear naked choke.

UFC 82 also saw the return of former MW Champ Evan Tanner to action against the always tough Yushin Okami. While we picked Tanner to win this fight, we admit it was just wishful thinking. Okami is too strong an opponent to try to shake two years worth of cage rush off against, but we’re glad to see Tanner back in the cage regardless.

Rounding out UFC 82’s MW card, Chris “The Crippler” Leben slugged it out with Alessio Sakara and came out the victory. Hate to say we told ya so, but…

Martin Kampmann was rescued from being dropped from the SteelSkins Top 15 (is there a worse fate?) and is slated to return at UFC 85 vs. Jorge Rivera. His prolonged knee injury is apparently on the up-and-up, which is a good thing because he hasn’t fought since March 2007. He now gets to shake the cage rust off against Rivera, who’s coming off an explosive 1st Round TKO victory over TUF3 Champion Kendall Grove.

Our record for picking Middleweight fights this past month was 2-1, moving our MW total to 4-3. Here are the recent fights, along with our picks:

  • Champ Anderson Silva def. Dan Henderson (submission, Rnd2) at UFC 82 to unify the UFC and PRIDE MW titles – Our pick: Silva (TKO – strikes) Rnd4
  • Yushin Okami def. Evan Tanner via KO in Rnd2 at UFC 82 – Our pick: Tanner (submission) Rnd3
  • Chris Leben def. #23 Alessio Sakara via TKO (strikes) in Rnd1 at UFC 82 – Our pick: Leben (TKO – strikes) Rnd2
Upcoming Middleweight fights currently scheduled and/or rumored include:
  • Former Champ Rich Franklin vs. Travis Lutter at UFC 83 (Apr. 19) – We’ll take Franklin (decision)
  • Jason MacDonald vs. #28 Joe Doerksen at UFC 83 – This is a rematch from 2005 when MacDonald won via rear naked choke. We’ll take MacDonald (submission) Rnd2
  • Michael Bisping vs. #31 Charles McCarthy at UFC 83 – We’ll take Bisping (KO) Rnd2
  • Nate Quarry vs. #30 Kalib Starnes at UFC 83 – We’ll take Quarry (TKO – strikes) Rnd3
  • Ed Herman vs. #18 Demian Maia at UFC 83 – We’ll take Herman (submission) Rnd1
  • #22 Alan Belcher vs. #35 Jason Day at UFC 83 – We’ll take Belcher (submission) Rnd2
  • #24 UFC newcomer Rousimar Palhares vs. #27 Ivan Salaverry at UFC 84 (May 24) – We’ll take Salaverry (submission) Rnd2
  • Nate Marquardt vs. #16 Thales Leites at UFC 85 (June 7) – We’ll take Marquardt (submission) Rnd2
  • Martin Kampmann vs. #23 Jorge Rivera at UFC 85 – We’ll take Kampmann (KO) Rnd2
  • TUF 7 Finale, featuring Middleweights (June 21)
  • Ricardo Almeida vs. Patrick Cote at UFC 86 (July 5) – We’ll take Cote (decision)

Your Top 15 Contenders are:


UFC 82 saw four Welterweight battles, including Jon Fitch welcoming Chris Wilson to the Octagon with a unanimous decision victory for the future title contender (big surprise); Diego Sanchez welcoming David Bielkheden to the Octagon with a first round submission (big surprise); Josh Koscheck bettering the young gun Dustin Hazelett is a fantastic slugfest; and Luigi Fioravanti out-pointing Luke Cummo (this last one surprised us).

For the second time in a row, our record for picking Welterweight fights was 3 – 1, pushing our record to 6 – 2. Here are the recent fights, along with our picks:

  • Jon Fitch def. #27 Chris Wilson (unanimous decision) at UFC 82 (March 1) – Our pick: Fitch (submission) Rnd2
  • Josh Koscheck def. Dustin Hazelett (TKO – strikes, Rnd2) at UFC 82 – Our pick: Kos (submission) Rnd3
  • Diego Sanchez def. #33 David Bielkheden (submission, Rnd1) at UFC 82 – Our pick: Sanchez (TKO – strikes) Rnd1
  • #17 Luigi Fioravanti def. Luke Cummo (unanimous decision) at UFC 82 – Our pick: Cummo (guillotine choke) Rnd2

Upcoming Welterweight fights currently scheduled and/or rumored include:

  • Karo Parisyan vs. Thiago Alves at Fight Night 13 (April 2) – We’ll take Alves (split decision)
  • #16 Tommy Spear vs. #40 Anthony Johnson at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Spear (TKO – strikes) Rnd2
  • #17 George Sotiropoulos vs. #36 Roman Mitichyan at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Sotiropoulos (submission) Rnd2
  • Champ Matt Serra vs. GSP at UFC 83 (April 19) – We’ll take GSP (TKO – strikes) Rnd3
  • #22 Jonathan Goulet vs. #34 Kuniyoshi Hironaka at UFC 83 – We’ll take Goulet (submission) Rnd2
  • #19 Jon Koppenhaver vs. #23 Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 84 (May 24) – We’ll take Koppenhaver (TKO – strikes) Rnd3
  • #38 Dong Hyun Kim makes his UFC debut vs. #41 Jason Tan at UFC 84 – We’ll take Kim (KO) Rnd2
  • The extremely dangerous BJJ black belt (but low ranked because of his 5 – 3 record and history of backing out of fights due to training injuries) #43 Jeff Joslin vs. TBD at UFC 84.
  • Marcus Davis vs. Mike Swick at UFC 85 (June 7) – We’ll take Davis (submission) Rnd2
  • #28 Jess Liaudin vs. #29 Paul Taylor at UFC 85 – We’ll take Liaudin (TKO – strikes) Rnd2
  • Ryo Chonan vs. Roan Carneiro at UFC 85 – This is a rematch from a 2005 DEEP event, where Chonan won via 3rd Round TKO due to a cut. We’ll take Chonan (submission) Rnd3
  • Diego Sanchez vs. Luigi Fioravanti at TUF7 Finale (June 21) – We’ll take Sanchez (decision)
  • Josh Burkman vs. Dustin Hazelett at TUF7 Finale – We’ll take Hazelett (submission) Rnd3
  • Josh Koscheck vs. Chris Lytle at UFC 86 (July 5) – This one is still in the rumor stage, but we’d love to see it happen. Would Kos risk standing with the former boxer? We’ll take Lytle (KO) Rnd2
  • #30 Ben Saunders vs. TBD at UFC 86

Your Top 15 Contenders are:


There was one Lightweight fight at UFC 82, which we picked correctly, pushing our overall record for the division to a stellar 11 – 1. Here are the recent fights, along with our picks:

  • #23 Jorge Gurgel def. #35 John Halverson (unanimous decision) at UFC 82 (Mar. 1) – Our pick: Gurgel (submission) Rnd3

Upcoming Lightweight fights currently scheduled and/or rumored include:

  • Kenny Florian vs. Joe Lauzon at Fight Night 13 (April 2) – We’ll take Florian (submission) Rnd2
  • Frankie Edgar vs. #24 Gray Maynard at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Edgar (TKO – strikes) Rnd2
  • Din Thomas vs. #21 Josh Neer at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Thomas (TKO – strikes) Rnd2
  • Clay Guida vs. #38 Samy Schiavo at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Guida (submission) Rnd3
  • Kurt Pellegrino vs. Nate Diaz at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Diaz (submission) Rnd2
  • Marcus Aurelio vs. #35 Ryan Roberts at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Aurelio (submission) Rnd1
  • #23 Manny Gamburyan vs. #50 Jeff Cox at Fight Night 13 – We’ll take Gamburyan (decision)
  • #16 Mac Danzig vs. #34 Mark Bocek at UFC 83 (April 19) – We’ll take Danzig (submission) Rnd2
  • #19 Sam Stout vs. #22 Rich Clementi at UFC 83 – We’ll take Clementi (TKO – strikes) Rnd3
  • Champion B.J. Penn vs. former Champ Sean Sherk at UFC 84 (May 24) – We’ll take Penn (submission) Rnd3
  • #18 Jeremy Stephens vs. #31 Terry Etim at UFC 84 – We’ll take Stephens (decision)
  • Thiago Tavares vs. #26 Matt Wiman at UFC 85 (June 7) – We’ll take Tavares (TKO –strikes) Rnd1
  • Joe Stevenson vs. #17 Gleison Tibau at UFC 86 (July 5) – We’ll take Stevenson (submission) Rnd2
  • #29 Cole Miller vs. TBD at UFC 86
  • #36 Corey Hill vs. #41 Justin Buchholz at UFC 86 – We’ll take Hill (decision)
  • #52 Steve Bruno vs. TBD at UFC 86

Your Top 15 Contenders are:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Interview with Karo "The Heat" Parisyan

Yo yo yo, so yesterday, I talked with Karo Parisyan on the phone. I got a chance to ask him how he's been preparing for his upcoming fight with slugger Thiago Alves (it takes place Wednesday, April 2 at UFC Fight Night 13).

I also asked him how he felt about the title picture, now that top contender Jon Fitch is cramping his style, moving in on that title shot that Karo feels should belong to him.

I also asked him about the Diaz brothers and if there's any bad blood between them and him. Because, let's face it, no Karo interview would be complete without that.

Anyway, check it out at

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Lots of Good Stuff in the Works

While I've been pretty tied up at work and haven't posted as much stuff to SteelSkins or to MMAmania as I'd like, there is a lot of good stuff making its way in the near future.

Until then, you can check out my interview with UFC Lightweight Clay "The Carpenter" Guida here. Clay was super cool on the phone, and I wish him luck in his upcoming fight against French Top Team's Samy Schiavo at UFC Fight Night 13 on Wednesday, April 2.

Also, check out this post, where the man behind MMAmania himself has officially introduced yours truly to all the Maniacs. SteelSkins gets a plug, as does A Likely Story Film Productions. Speaking of which, check out ALSFP's newest short film, "Laugh Track".

In the next five days or so, I play to post an update to SteelSkins UFC Power Rankings right here. Looking forward to it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Never Back Down Movie Review on

My review of the MMA-film Never Back Down is up on Check it out here. Props to SteelSkins own Austin O'Connor for providing the press passes. Austin does reviews for a public radio station in northwestern Massachusetts and for MediaNewsGroup, which owns a bunch of papers in the northeast. You can also find some of his older reviews on

In a nutshell, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out Never Back Down sucks monkey butt. One look at the trailer will send flashbacks of Top Gun, Karate Kid and the entire Fast and the Furious franchise shivering down your spine.

That said, with the right amount of booze, this film could have potential as the next big drinking game. Every time you see an obvious acting style stolen from either the Brad Pitt School of Acting or the Tom Cruise/Scientology School of Advanced AssMonkeyism, you know what to do...

Monday, March 10, 2008

Mark Coleman Interview at MMAmania

So I interviewed Mark Coleman for the second time in as many weeks. It went up on on Friday afternoon. Here's a link.

It was great talking to Coleman, the UFC Hall of Fame's most recent honoree. Rather than retiring any time soon, though, Coleman just inked a four-fight deal with the UFC and is set to face the dangerous Brock Lesnar in Lesnar's home state of Minnesota at UFC 85 this June. Should be a war between two national collegiate wrestling champions.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Vomiting Praise on Brett Favre

I love this site. However this post is just too much:

Best Favre memories? They are not always the best games -- they were often the humble moments in between.

Jeebus Christ!! And it gets worse...

It was in those moments that you could see the whimsy of him, usually tormenting a rookie teammate or PR director Lee Remmel.

There's a famous clip of him asking team staff members for "buckets of steam" and "left-handed footballs." Favre knew that his presence commanded attention, and ie he raised his voice just a hair when he asked these young kids, ballboys, etc., for these ridiculous requests, he knew they would stop and listen, intent on finding these un-findable items, because Brett Favre was asking for them. The quarterback, in essence, was mocking his own fame. That made him human.
Yes, a bad human. One who makes fun of the powerless, who he can get fired. Great guy, that Favre. Oh, and I would love to whimsically torment someone, just like back in my big bully days of yesterday, when I would make little Jimmy cry and cower under the porch (NOTE: usually it was me under that porch...)

You want flawed? The man's first completed pass as a Packer was to himself ... for minus-7 yards. As a rookie the season before with the Falcons, he threw five passes. Two were picked out.
Picked out? Has this guy ever watched football before?

Look, you only appreciate the humbling moments in between BECAUSE of the best games! Like if you are dating a hot chick, and her hair is mussed's so cute! But if she wasn't hot, and her hair was mussed up, you wouldn't find it cute, because...SHE'S NOT HOT! So stop pretending you only liked Favre for his "Aw Shucks" demeanor...because if he wasn't a great football player you wouldn't care about his demeanor. There's plenty of "Aw Shucks" guys out there who couldn't throw a left-handed football to save their life...but who gives a crap?

Brett Favre was a great football player, and may perhaps still be. But like Dr. Z said, he could have been better.

Brett Fav-re Retires

Now that Brett Favre is retired, who will the media swoon over now? Dr. Z may be a crotchety old coot, but he nails it on Favre here:

His fourth quarter and overtime meltdown against the Giants last season, which put a sad end to a remarkably classy season? Never mind ... the redemption of the Giants' field-goal kicker was the angle. The goofy, looping interception that cost the Pack the Eagles' game in OT in the divisionals in 2004? Oh, let's put it on the defense for allowing McNabb his fourth-and-26 completion in regulation.

Always ready to make excuses, always braying about "what a good time he's having," that was the continual barrage from TV. Maybe a few frowns, a stern reprimand or two, might have toned down the wild maverick a little, but gosh, he sure is having fun out there. And that's what the game is all about, isn't it? Fun, boys acting like men and so forth...

...How will history evaluate him? Capable of almost anything on the field. Heroic. Indestructible. Maddening at times, but great to root for. With only this low key aftermath. Could have been greater.
So true. Brett and the Packers losing the Super Bowl in 1997 to the Broncos in my mind stains his career--even though it wasn't his fault, Holmgren's decision to let the Bronco's score the winning points was hard to take. Further, we forget that that year was the first time since the mid 80s that the AFC won a Super Bowl, and the air of inevitability that the Pack would win was palpable. Almost as big an upset as the Giants/Pats, especially because Elway was 0-3 in Super Bowls at the time.

Let's also not forget his deliberate turtling to give Michael Strahan the sack record, and his wasting the past few years before 2007, gunslinging just because he could.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Roethlisberger Extended!

Perhaps I was being unfair to Kevin Colbert in the last post. Today the Steelers signed Big Ben to an 8 year, $102 million contract, with about $36-38 million guaranteed. It's the richest contract the Steelers have ever given out, and puts Ben up there in earning power with the elite QBs in the NFL (and also Michael Vick).

The Steelers also signed Vikings RB Mewelde Moore, a versatile player who can run the ball, catch it, and return punts and kicks. He was always lost in the shuffle in Minnesota, and is clearly not going to advance his career playing behind Purple Jesus and Chester Taylor. Now he will probably play a 3rd down back/Special Teams role, filling the critical return role that the Steelers lacked all last year.

Word from Pitt journos is that Ben's rich contract doesn't have any impact on the salary perhaps the Steelers will be more active in free agency once the mediocre players are done being overpaid by bad teams (49ers, Raiders, Jets, I'm looking AT you!). I am eager for them to lock up Max Starks, hopefully at a much more reasonable price than his curretn $7 million transition tag.