UFC Replica Belt Review – 2016 Edition

I recently picked up the new version of the UFC replica belt. This is the 2016 version of the belt.

This updated (2016) version of the title has next generation style 3D plates that range in thickness from 5-7mm with stacked plates as part of the design, reaching a total thickness of 12mm. This makes the new UFC Championship adult size replica belt the thickest UFC replica ever. The simulated leather strap measures 49.75 inches long, and can fit up to a 46 inch waist. The centre logo plate measures 11 inches high, and the belt weighs in at 7.8 pounds.

A Notorious Entrance Song

I’m a big fan of entrance themes songs. I was at UFC Fight Night Dublin in July 2014 to see Conor McGregor decimate Diego Brandao in the first round of their main event clash.

Conor entered to a remix of “Foggy Dew” (by Sinéad O’Connor & the Chieftains) and Hypnotize (by the Notorious B.I.G). He continued to use the song in his fights against Dustin Poirier and Denis Siver.

McGregor will face the reigning, defending, undisputed UFC featherweight champion of the world José Aldo on Saturday July 11th in Las Vegas. I’ll be there to hear him march to the cage to this adrenaline pumping tune.

The songs themselves were pretty easy to come by separately, but I couldn’t find Conor’s catchy version. Who’d have knew a famous Irish ballad would work so well with Biggie’s famous beat.

So, I mixed them up myself and here is the result. Enjoy!

Lesnar Attends UFC 184

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion and current WWE World Heavyweight Champion, Brock Lesnar stopped by UFC 184 in Los Angeles.

Brock, seen chatting to UFC president Dana White (pic: @Sholler_UFC) has certainly added more fuel to the fire with speculation rife lately regarding where he will end up next April. We covered Brock’s potential future in detail earlier this week.

Lesnar has pulled this stunt before. Back at UFC 164 in December 2013, it was leaked that Brock would be attending to discuss a potential UFC return. Lesnar wasn’t seen on screen, but shortly after it was revealed that Brock signed a new deal with the WWE and he went on to end the Undertaker’s infamous Wrestlemania streak 4 months later.

In all likelihood, the Beast will extend his WWE deal. It’s far too comfortable for him; with minimal travelling, minimal work and plenty of cash.

Brock Lesnar is playing “The Game”. In more ways than one.

The Brock Lesnar Saga

Brock Lesnar is due to become one of the hottest free agents in four weeks time, with a host of organisations battling it out for his signature. His current employers, WWE, appear to have their hands tied by the Beast and developments this week have added further fuel to the fire.

Lesnar as UFC Heavyweight Champion in 2009
Lesnar as UFC Heavyweight Champion in 2009

The former NCAA, UFC and reigning WWE heavyweight champion has a dream deal with WWE since 2012. He appears on a limited number of shows (around 25-30 a year) and is rumoured to be on a generous salary. He’s allowed use his own apparel sponsors (the only one in WWE with permission to do so) and he is pushed as an undefeatable monster. He’s consistently featured in the main event since his return in 2012 and has come out on top in feuds against the likes of Triple H, the Big Show, the Undertaker, CM Punk and John Cena.

Lesnar has carried WWE’s premier title since Summerslam 2014. He’s scheduled face Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania 31 on March 30th.

It’s obvious where WWE are planning on going. Reigns is the next golden boy. The next superhero. The next John Cena. It’s all set-up for him to conquer the Conquerer and carry WWE into the next decade.

Crowd reaction to Reigns’ push has been luke warm at best. Reports have suggested that WWE are making one last push to re-sign Brock Lesnar, which could see him stay with the company on his current deal and have a 2/3 match program with Reigns.

Rumours from this weeks RAW suggest that negotiations haven’t gone well. Lesnar was advertised to appear on the show via numerous outlets, but the Beast was nowhere to be seen. Apparently, the Minnesota native and WWE chief Vince McMahon couldn’t come to terms, and Lesnar stormed off in a huff.

The world’s top MMA promotions (UFC & Bellator) must be licking their lips. Lesnar (5-3) is the UFC’s biggest draw of all time, selling 1.6 million Pay Per Views at UFC 100 and headlining against the likes of Frank Mir, Randy Couture, Shane Carwin, Cain Valasquez and Alastair Overeem. Dana White is a huge admirer of Lesnar’s (editor’s note: $$$) and is likely the favourite to land Lesnar’s signature. Potential match-ups include A third fight against Frank Mir or someone else in the top 6-10 fighters in the heavyweight division.

The question mark still remains regarding Brock’s talent in the Octagon. He suffered from a rehabilitating disease known as diverticulitis in 2010 & 2011. I believe Brock still has a lot to offer inside the cage.

Lesnar has remained quiet on all fronts – and why wouldn’t he? The longer this drags on, the more money he’ll end up with in his back pocket. Former WWE announcer Jim Ross suggested recently that life in the Octagon may not appeal to Lesnar given the long-term effects of taking “real” punches and the hazards and long-term effect of concussions.

It sure will be an interesting few weeks. Imagine a year ago saying Brock Lesnar and CM Punk would both be main-eventing UFC PPVs in 2015?

Almost as ridiculous as five years ago saying that an Irishman would be José Aldo’s biggest threat.

Fight Night Porto Alegre: Official Weigh-In Video

The UFC is back this Sunday live from Porto Alegre in Brazil. The main event is a heavyweight clash between former champion Frank Mir and Antonio ‘Bigfoot’ Silva. This is a crucial fight for Mir who is on a 4 fight losing streak. One more loss could spell the end of his time in the UFC. Silva is looking to bounce back from a loss to Andrei Arlovski back in September.

The co-main event features lightweight contenders Michael Johnson and Edson Barbosa

Main Card

Antonio Silva (264) vs. Frank Mir (261)
Edson Barboza (156) vs. Michael Johnson (155)
Cezar Ferreira (185) vs. Sam Alvey (186)
Rustam Khabilov (156) vs. Adriano Martins (156)
Iuri Alcantara (136) vs. Frankie Saenz (136)
Santiago Ponzinibbio (171) vs. Sean Strickland (171)

Preliminary Card

Jessica Andrade (135) vs. Marion Reneau (134)
William Macario (168) vs. Matt Dwyer (170)
Tiago dos Santos (146) vs. Mike de la Torre (146)
Wendell Oliveira () vs. T.J. Waldburger () – Cancelled

Preliminary Card

Douglas Silva (135) vs. Cody Gibson (135) – Now on Fox Sports 1 broadcast
Ivan Jorge (155) vs. Josh Shockley (155)

Fight Night Porto Alegre can be viewed live on BT Sport on Sunday night. Pre-lims start at 11pm Irish time with the main card starting at 1am

Who is Jose Aldo?

The biggest fight in Featherweight history takes place on July 11th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It pits Ireland’s new national hero, Conor McGregor, a man we all know well against long time division king Jose Aldo. For hardcore MMA fans, Jose Aldo needs no introduction. He’s the consensus number 2 (and you could make an argument for him being number 1) pound-for-pound fighter in the world and hasn’t lost in nearly a decade. His sole loss came by submission in November 2005 against BJJ blackbelt Luciano Azevedo. However the vast majority of casual MMA fans in Ireland still do not know much about McGregor’s opponent and have never seen a single minute of an Aldo fight (they don’t know what they’re missing!!!). This two part series will run through the career of Jose Aldo and his biggest fights in the WEC and UFC to explain what makes the Brazilian so special.

The WEC

World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) was an organisation that was purchased by the UFC parent company Zuffa in 2006. By 2008 the WEC only concentrated on the lighter weight classes – Bantamweight (135lbs), Featherweight (145lbs) & Lightweight (155 lbs) while the UFC absorbed the Welterweight (170lbs), Middleweight (185lbs) & Light Heavyweight (205) roster. This made the WEC the top breeding ground in the world for the smaller weight classes – 135 & 145 especially as these weight classes were not in the UFC at the time. The UFC already had their own separate 155 division.

Aldo in the WEC

Aldo entered the WEC with a 10-1 record and faced Alexandre Franca Noguiera in his debut. There wasn’t a great deal known about Aldo coming into this fight other than he was a BJJ blackbelt under former UFC fighter Andre “Dede” Pederneiras. Even in his debut, Aldo gave a preview of the two things that he would become known for – vicious striking and being incredibly hard to take down (Aldo has avoided 91% of takedowns attempted on him in his whole career). Aldo won this fight by way of TKO in round 2. Aldo went 3-0 in his next 3 fights where he defeated Jonathan Brookins (GIF), Chris Mickle & Rolando Perez (GIF) all by KO/TKO to set up a no.1 contenders match with current #5 UFC featherweight Cub Swanson. Aldo finished Swanson in spectacular fashion when he hit a flying double knee 8 seconds into the first round.

This set up a title fight at WEC 44 with Mike Brown. Brown was a grinding wrestler who had ended Urijah Faber’s 2 and a half year reign as Featherweight champion and had successfully defended the belt twice (beating Faber again in a rematch). Aldo shook off Brown’s repeated takedown attempts and brutalised him with knees any time Brown tried to close the distance (GIF). Aldo took Brown’s back in round 2 and stopped him with punches to become the new WEC Featherweight champion

Aldo’s first title defence would be against Urijah Faber in Faber’s home town of Sacremento, California at WEC 48 – the company’s first ever live PPV. In a hostile environment, Aldo entered to Jay-Z’s Run This Town, making it clear that he would not be intimidated by fighting Faber in his backyard. This fight showcased what is probably his most deadly weapon – his leg kicks. Aldo peppered Faber’s legs for 5 rounds on his way to a dominant unanimous victory. Faber had to be helped out of the Octagon after the fight and revealed the damage done to his leg the following day.

Aldo’s final WEC defence was against Manny Gamburyan at WEC 51. Gamburyan, an accomplished judoka, was no match for Aldo. Gamburyan made it clear that he was going to cover up and dive after after Aldo’s waist from the start of the bout. Aldo backed him up with a faked jab, and followed with a low uppercut. Notice that the uppercut would be completely useless if Gamburyan did anything but shoot—Aldo knew it was coming.

This would be Aldo’s last fight under the WEC banner. Zuffa decided to abolish the WEC and absorb the 135 & 145 divisions into the UFC making Aldo the UFC’s first (and only since) Featherweight champion.

Part 2 of Who is Jose Aldo can be found here

CM Punk V WWE Feud – Far From Over

As the song goes – “it’s only just begun”.

CM Punk announced that he had signed for the UFC back in December 2014 and we all thought that was the end of his beef with WWE and any chance he would be returning to the pro-wrestling promotion.

Prior to the announcement, CM Punk appeared on his good friend Colt Cabana’s podcast and made some derogatory remarks regarding his former employer, and more specifically, their head physician Chris Amann (skip to the 1hr 16min mark on the video below).

Rumour has it that the doctor in question has filed a lawsuit against CM Punk and Colt Cabana in the amount of $1 million.

WWE responded yesterday (2 months later) with the below statement:

In light of CM Punk’s allegations regarding WWE’s medical staff and the subsequent defamation lawsuit filed by Dr. Amann against CM Punk, WWE continues to have the utmost confidence in the ability and expertise of our world-class team of physicians, including Dr. Amann.

CM Punk claimed this past November that during the Royal Rumble pay-per-view event on January 26, 2014, he performed with a baseball-sized, purple lump on his back located near the waistband of his tights.

WWE’s investigation has shown the following:

  • CM Punk did not discuss this alleged condition with WWE’s team of physicians and trainers, nor did he discuss it with anyone in our Talent Relations department.
  • Subsequently, WWE has no medical records documenting this alleged condition.
  • The first time WWE was made aware of this alleged condition was when we received a letter from CM Punk’s attorney on August 22, 2014, after WWE terminated his contract.
  • There is clear video evidence from the 2014 Royal Rumble, which allows all to decide whether there is any appearance of a baseball-sized growth on CM Punk’s back.

Watch the video and decide for yourself

CM Punk is currently training with Roufusport Gym for his MMA debut for later in the year with so this will be a distraction for sure. His wife, current WWE Diva AJ Lee has been off WWE TV since December.

Anderson Silva: “I always played clean, I was never a cheater”

Anderson Silva, who failed an out of competition drug test before he faced Nick Diaz at UFC 183, has today reiterated that he is not guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs (PED).

Silva failed a pre-fight a test for steroids drostanolone and androstane on January 9th but the results were not received by the NAC until after the fight. He passed a second pre-fight test before failing the fight night post-fight test for oxazepam, which is medication for anxiety and depression, and temazepam, an insomnia medication. The latter two substances are not on the banned list but were reported because Silva was required to disclose any medications he was taking to the commission.

 

Anderson Silva Instagram

Silva took to Instagram to send a message to his fans:

“I will not say anything about who I am or what I went through to get here.
What matters to me now is the respect from Those Who have Followed my career.
I bled, and struggled Fought because I love it and because I always wanted to honor the flag of the country I love so much.
I do not know what to apologize for, because I am still waiting for the results and analysis from the specialists que are working to reveal the truth.
Everything I que redbourn since my injury are being Analyzed. I look for the truth the much the All Those who were surprised with the results. I always played clean, I was never a cheater.
In eighteen years of my career, I never had a problem with exams.
In and out of the Octagon I never slipped in compliance with the principles que always guided me. With much honor and dignity I Defended my country where ever I Fought.
I never used any substances to better my performance in my fights.
I love what I do and I would never risk what I redbourn so long to build.
I think the que hurry some people have to condemn me is unfair.
The time it takes to destroy the reputation is infinitely less than that is taken to build it.
I am the one who is most eager to settle this situation.
I want Those who have always supported me to I know que am still fighting for all the sad happenings of this situation to be cleared”

The use of PED’s in MMA is a major talking point at the moment due to Silva and Welterweight star Hector Lombard failing drug tests. Jon Jones also failed an out of competition test when he tested positive for cocaine metabolites prior to his successful defense of his Light-Heavyweight championship in January.

The UFC have promised to implement a new stringent drug testing policy to come into effect from July 1st which will see more out of competition testing and also harsher penalties for athletes that are caught taking banned substances.

UFC 184 Countdown Video

UFC 184 takes place next Saturday from the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. The main event pits long time reigning women’s champion Ronda Rousey against Cat Zingano.

In the co main event Holly Holm makes her UFC debut against Raquel Pennington. Holm, a 3 time world boxing champion, has a lot of hype surrounding her debut and a convincing win could seal a title shot against the winner of the main event.

Countdown takes an in depth look at a card which could shape the future of the 135 women’s division.