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March 6, 6:17 AM ET
Chat with Jon Anik

Buzzmaster
  (5:23 PM)

ESPN.com's MMA Live host Jon Anik will stop by Saturday night after UFC 96, featuring the light heavyweight bout between Quinton Jackson and Keith Jardine! He'll be by around midnight, so be sure to get your questions in!

Jon Anik
  (12:19 AM)

Great to be here for our first-ever post-UFC MMA Live chat! I feel like I got knocked out tonite with all the KOs! What a night of fights in Columbus. Rampage Jackson wins the main event and will now fight Rashad Evans for the light heavyweight title at UFC 98 May 23rd. Let's talk UFC 96!

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

Jonny great fights again tonight but a curious early stoppage with nelson and riley. Anything the UFC can do? I know they say stop it early instead of late, but that was questionable at best.

Jon Anik
  (12:20 AM)

Nate, it seems as though every card we are talking about a questionable stoppage or two. It's the way it goes in MMA. As you know, I'd rather an early stoppage. Strangest event tonite was Yves Lavigne inexplicably stopping, and then not stopping the Matt Brown-Pete Sell fight.

lee [via mobile]

who won the fights

Jon Anik
  (12:21 AM)

Rampage beat Jardine in the main event. Shane Carwin knocked out Gabe Gonzaga. Matt Hamill with a vicious head kick to spoil Mark Munoz's UFC debut. Matt Brown over Pete Sell. And Gray Maynard by unanimous decision over Pete Sell.

jj bham WA [via mobile]

Does evans have a better chance of defeating rampage now that he has fought jardine first......

Jon Anik
  (12:22 AM)

You'd have to think the blueprint won't hurt. Plus, Rampage absorbed some leg kicks tonite, and the title fight is now just 10 weeks away.

Jon Anik
  (12:23 AM)

Update: For those of you who missed the broadcast, Frank Mir announced he is out of UFC 98 after arthroscopic knee surgery. So Rashad Evans and Rampage will move up and fight at UFC 98. Had Jackson lost, Lyoto Machida would've gotten the title shot.

Leo (Boston MA)

Hi Jon, KO of the night goes to?

Jon Anik
  (12:23 AM)

Pick your poison. Ton of candidates, Leo. I'd say Matt Hamill or Shane Carwin.

jackson (bucks)

do you think jardine should have kicked more?

Jon Anik
  (12:24 AM)

Jackson, I just thought he gassed after a pretty effective first round. Overall, I was happy with Jardine's showing. He really leaves his hands down though. I'm never surprised when he gets hit.

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

Carwin showed me something tonight. Whats next for the big guy? And do you see this as an upset?

Jon Anik
  (12:25 AM)

Only a mild upset, and one that I and several others picked correctly. Because of the manner in which he won and the quality of the opponent, I think Carwin is no one victory away from a title shot. Maybe the Cain Velasquez-Heath Herring winner. Or Cheick Kongo, provided he beats Antoni Hardonk

Mike (Los Angeles,CA)

Who will Machida fight now that Rampage won?

Jon Anik
  (12:26 AM)

Machida may have the luxury of waiting to see what happens at UFC 98. If he wants to guarantee a title shot, that may be his best option.

Steiny (NYC)

Jon what is up buddy. How are you doing today?

Jon Anik
  (12:26 AM)

I'm doing great, Steiny. Thanks for checking in after the fights. What a night of knockouts.

Zack (Johnson City)

Jackson or Evans - the better striker? And is the stand-up the key to the win?

Jon Anik
  (12:27 AM)

I actually think Rashad is the more powerful guy, and believe he will be favored. I expect stand-up to be what decides it, yes.

Leo (Boston MA)

Was Mark Munoz taken out on a stretcher as they showed one comming in on the PPV?

Jon Anik
  (12:28 AM)

That is my expectation. Pretty brutal how he hit his chin on his own knee on the way down. Welcome to the Octagon. Matt Hamill was among the night's biggest winners. Munoz = ton of work to do on his stand-up.

gman ny,ny

what is next for my boy brandon vera?? will he get any quality fight and will they ever show it in ppv?

Jon Anik
  (12:29 AM)

He's not back in the PPV discussion yet. But his leg kicks looked great. Mike Patt was overwhelmed.

Ripken (Des Moines, IA)

Hey Jon, I got an alert on my phone that said you report that Frank Mir is out of UFC 98? What the F is going on here? Will there be a replacement? Congrats on breaking such huge news.

Jon Anik
  (12:31 AM)

The whole MMA Live team was a part of it, but thanks. I talked to a source close to the situation about 3 hours before UFC 96. Source called the surgery exploratory- bone fragments were removed, scar tissue cleaned up. The earliest Frank could return to full-time training would be around April 7th. Not a long enough camp to prepare for Brock Lesnar. The expectation is that they will fight at UFC 100. The replacement to headline UFC 98? Rampage vs. Rashad. Lesnar waits for Mir.

Genie P. (West Warwick)

Jon, what did you make of Rampage's trash talking at the end of the fight with Rashad Evans. Do you think he is scared deep inside after seeing how Liddell got barraged?

Jon Anik
  (12:33 AM)

Not sure Rampage is scared of any opponent, but in my mind, Rashad Evans should be the favorite. Jardine did his job for the team---go the full 15 minutes, and make Jackson work. As for the trash talk, Rampage knows what he's doing. Hyping the fight, and himself.

John (nyc)

What was Yves Levine doing tonight? Matt Brown looked legit.

Jon Anik
  (12:34 AM)

Best Matt Brown I have seen, without question. A really forgettable moment for Yves Lavigne, traditionally one of the better referees. He should have stopped the fight when his first instinct kicked in. Very strange to see him intervene and then pull back. I'm sure we'll hit this hard on MMA Live.

Dave (NJ)

Sherdog reported that Munoz did not get taken out on a stretcher. He walked out under his own power with a neck brace on.

Jon Anik
  (12:34 AM)

Thanks for the update.

Steiny (NYC)

Who was most impressive tonight?

Jon Anik
  (12:35 AM)

1. Matt Hamill. 2. Shane Carwin.

Steiny (NYC)

Who was most disappointing tonight?

Jon Anik
  (12:36 AM)

Mark Munoz underwhelmed in his UFC debut. Pete Sell got destroyed. Jim Miller DID NOT disappoint. Thought he was very game, as Rogan iterated. Gray Maynard is a beast. Miller tried to get something going throughout and couldn't.

JBarbs (West Hartford, CT)

Can't believe how strong Shane Carwin looks. Wow. Great chin too. He would destroy Cheick Kongo and you know it Jonny Boy. Rock and rolla!

Jon Anik
  (12:36 AM)

He was close to being knocked out himself. He certainly showed off the chin, as you say. It'll be interesting to see how the UFC proceeds with Carwin, now that he has a signature win over a top guy.

Jake (Bemidji, MN)

Did Rampage just eat Jardine's leg kicks tonight or did have some sort of plan for them?

Jon Anik
  (12:37 AM)

As Rashad Evans said on the broadcast, Rampage seems willing to eat the leg kicks to get his punches off on the inside.

Cowboy Ron (Piston, PA)

Jon, have to tell that my fellow Farm Rat Tamdan McCrory looked awesomely good tonight. But we both can't lie: if that guy doesn't look like a serial killer than Ken-Flo isn't Brazilian

Jon Anik
  (12:38 AM)

Haha...the dude petrified my girlfriend.

John (nyc)

I know the Hamill knockout was impressive, but overall he seems to fight awfully slow. I'm still not buying long term. Thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (12:39 AM)

I wasn't a fan until tonite, John. And he is a bit prodding. But he looked so damn confident on his feet right out of the shoot. Not saying he's a top contender, but he took care of business tonite against a guy in Munoz who the UFC has high expectations for.

Drew (Johnson City, TN)

Does Matt Brown come in #3 for you? My only reaction to his fight was wow (for how good he looked and for Avril Lavigne's dad's officiating)

Jon Anik
  (12:40 AM)

Yeah, I hope Matt Brown gets the credit he deserves. I think the story, unfortunately, will be Yves Lavigne.

Bob (CT)

Did you watch the WBC?

Jon Anik
  (12:41 AM)

Caught three innings of the USA-Canada game. Youkilis seemed to pick up where he left off.

Steiny (NYC)

How do you think Rogan did tonight?

Jon Anik
  (12:41 AM)

I always like Joe's commentary. I thought he and Rashad Evans had a nice flow.

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

So now it looks like the heavyweight, light heavyweight, Middleweight and lightweight divisions are all stacked. In your opinion whats the most stacked division?

Jon Anik
  (12:42 AM)

Top to bottom, 155 is the most competitive in my opinion. Especially so when you also consider the lightweights outside of the UFC.

Nerdvin (Westchester)

Jon, who are you to think Rampage could have that quick of a turnaround to then fight Rashad in UFC 98. Jackson ate some shots tonight. You cant' just fight two months later. Who do you think he is, Julio Cesar Chavez?

Jon Anik
  (12:43 AM)

Don't think he has much choice. It'll be a quick turnaround, but these guys absorb plenty of abuse in training, too.

Anthony (Danville, VA)

Hey John Rashad seemed to really disrespect Rampage do you think there is real bad blood there?

Jon Anik
  (12:43 AM)

I don't. Just building the fight.

jj bham WA [via mobile]

Only weakness rampage showed tonite was cardio. Evans isn't really a kicker. His only chance would be to push the pace. You agree...

Jon Anik
  (12:44 AM)

And Rashad can push the pace. He seemed to be game-planning as he was broadcasting. And I'm not down on Rampage's cardio.

big b [via mobile]

Who will liddel fight

Jon Anik
  (12:44 AM)

He's fighting Shogun Rua at UFC 97 next month.

Fenn (Los Angeles)

Is there a more boring fighter than Rampage if he doesn't get a KO shot? How can this guy be at the top of the heap?

Jon Anik
  (12:45 AM)

I think most fans would disagree with that assessment. I thought the fight was entertaining, and Rampage was willing to take a little punishment to land some shots. Rampage is rarely forgettable in my eyes, win or lose.

Jon dallas texas [via mobile]

Who won rampage

Jon Anik
  (12:46 AM)

Yes. Unanimous decision.

matt newport beach ca

isnt it unfair to throw rampage back in there so quick to fight rashad at 98?

Jon Anik
  (12:47 AM)

Good question. If I were Rampage, I would certainly want more time to prepare for the challenge that is Rashad Evans. But when the UFC needs a favor from one of its fighters, they usually get it. There isn't another viable solution for a UFC 98 main event. Perhaps they are making it worth his while.

Leo (Boston MA)

Vera's legs kicks looked great tonight, what is next for him?

Jon Anik
  (12:48 AM)

It'd only be speculation. Maybe Matt Hamill. I still think he has work to do to earn another shot with a top 5 guy. Hamill is right on the fringe.

Dave (NJ)

It is kind of funny that Rampage said to Rashad that he would be better (more rested) for him since he overtrained for Jardine. How rested could he be with such a quick turnaround.

Jon Anik
  (12:50 AM)

It'd be hard to dismiss the quick turnaround as a factor in the fight. But don't underestimate Rampage. Did think it was interesting that the UFC wants to ensure Lesnar and Mir are 100 % healthy, yet Jackson is being asked to return in 10 weeks for the biggest fight of his career. Not sure he can get a full 8-week camp in.

Steiny (NYC)

How upset do you think Machida is right now?

Jon Anik
  (12:50 AM)

I think Lyoto is doing okay, b/c the belt will now be on the line a lot sooner than it otherwise would have been. Machida is likely looking a title shot this summer, instead of this fall.

Steiny (NYC)

Don't you think it was pretty even after round one?

Jon Anik
  (12:51 AM)

First round was close, but I didn't score it for Jardine, if that is what you're asking.

samlisagayson [via mobile]

why can GSP take ufc 98 and Rampage take ufc 100

Jon Anik
  (12:52 AM)

I'm sure all options were discussed, but GSP fought in January, while Evans fought in December. I think the UFC came up with the best possible resolution, given the circumstances.

Kenneth (Sacramento, California)

Jon Anik, Faber-Brown could potentially be the first WEC ppv in Sacramento. Are there going to be any big changes coming to the WEC with Dana running the show?

Jon Anik
  (12:53 AM)

There have been some changes in the WEC match-making hierarchy, but I wouldn't say Dana is running the show. It's also still not a slam dunk that the Faber-Brown fight ends up on PPV.

John (nyc)

I'll take Vera over Hamill. Hamil is too slow.

Jon Anik
  (12:53 AM)

Hamill still has his doubters, despite the performance. I'm not saying he's fast, but...

Jfield Indiana [via mobile]

Could we see st piere move up to 185 and fight anderson silva possibly??

Jon Anik
  (12:54 AM)

Of course. But I think you're looking at 2010, earliest.

Big Bri (Canton, CT)

Jon, what the heck were you guys saying on MMA Live about Ray Mercer vs. Tim Sylvia. It was confusing. Is this boxing or MMA?

Jon Anik
  (12:54 AM)

They will box. We covered it because Tim Sylvia, an active MMA fighter and former UFC champion, is boxing.

bob

what's ufc 99's main event again? sorry I am enjoying the chat too much to look it up

Jon Anik
  (12:55 AM)

Rich Franklin-Wanderlei Silva at a catch weight of 195.

Steiny (NYC)

Do you think Rampage vs. Evans could be pretty explosive?

Jon Anik
  (12:56 AM)

I think the UFC is absolutely thrilled Keith Jardine didn't get in the way of it. As enticing a match-up as I've seen on paper in a while, and a hugely billable fight.

fats west monroe LA

carwin is a beast whose next?

Jon Anik
  (12:57 AM)

He finally has the win he needed to make a case for a title shot. I just think he'll have at least one more fight beforehand. And, that's not saying much, given that the belt(s) is now being held up until July.

Chris- St. Louis, MO

Why can't there be an MMA Live post-fight show on ESPN2 or ESPNEWS? What does it take????? Thanks for chatting at least.

Jon Anik
  (12:57 AM)

Glad to be here Chris. Would certainly rather be in Columbus on ESPN2!

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

Jonny we gotta get some of these guys in the regular thursday chats!! How do you think the knee surgery will affect Mir vs Lesnar?

Jon Anik
  (12:58 AM)

Frank is smart to make sure he is as healthy as possible to face Lesnar. But I do think it's a factor. The criticism against Mir has always been cardio, and I'd prefer him to have 6-7 injury-free months before facing Brock. He'll have about 10-12 weeks at 100 percent.

Frankie - Tucson

ESPN has shows on soccer and women's basketball, yet won't put MMA-live on tv? I thought it listened to the fans!

Leo (Boston MA)

Right now Shogun is a +160 dog against Liddel do you like that bet?

Jon Anik
  (12:59 AM)

I lean towards Liddell in the fight, but the line has some value.

Steiny (NYC)

So if I get this right on May 25 it will be Rashad Evans vs. Rampage; Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra and Sean Sherk vs. Frankie Edgar?

Jon Anik
  (12:59 AM)

May 23rd. The rest is right.

JZ (ATL)

So does beating Chuck have any meaning anymore? I mean he has only won 1 fight in his last 4 fights and the win was Silva who also is becoming a knockout highlight reel. If Shogun beats Chuck where is he in the big picture of the LHW

Jon Anik
  (1:00 AM)

A win over Liddell always has meaning. Shogun, though, would be well-served to look great doing it. Otherwise, get in a long line at 205. Forrest Griffin will eventually get healthy, Machida of course. And don't forget Anderson Silva possibly moving up at some point.

keith Maine

carwin look like he was hurt early, do you think he has a suspect chin?

Jon Anik
  (1:01 AM)

You can look at it either way. I think its a testament to his chin that he absorbed the successive blows and kept his wits about him. On the other side, you'd rather not get stung cleanly twice so early in the fight.

John (nyc)

Any possibility Carwin gets a shot at Brock and then Mir can get the winner? Given Mirs injury.

Jon Anik
  (1:02 AM)

I doubt it. The Lesnar-Mir rematch is a huge needle-mover, and the UFC wants to ensure that it happens.

Jon (Louisville)

Would Kongo get the next title shot if Lesnar beats Mir in July? Wouldn't it be a little early for Carwin?

Jon Anik
  (1:02 AM)

That would be my immediate feeling, but given the manner in which Carwin disposed of a top guy, who knows?

samlisagayson [via mobile]

am a big ufc fan but i don't like that the Rampage have to fight in ten weeks and why BJ take time off or Why GSP wait for ufc 100

Jon Anik
  (1:04 AM)

I agree there are major inconsistencies with the way layoffs are handled in the UFC. A lot of situations are unavoidable and result from injuries sustained during training. BJ Penn is one of a few guys who seems to call his own shots in the UFC. The lightweight belt hasn't been contested in way too long.

Mike (Los Angeles,CA)

Why not give Machida his title show for UFC 98 and let Rampage rest and fight the winner. I mean he shouldnt be punished for Mir getting hurt by having to fight early.

Jon Anik
  (1:05 AM)

Put simply, the Rashad-Rampage fight is enormous. A mega-fight that the UFC can really build a monster PPV around. UFC 98 has Hughes-Serra, but it really needed a mega-fight after Mir had to pull out.

JZ (ATL)

I see Lesnar getting by Mir this next time and if he does who would you guess presents his biggest obstacle in the future? I mean he moves like a cat and has killer take downs and donkey kong punches

Jon Anik
  (1:06 AM)

Many would answer Shane Carwin after tonite. Cheick Kongo? Cain Velasquez? One of those three.

Aramis Campbell

Hey Jon, alot of people are saying if Page fought the way he fought tonight Rashad will win their fight. Does not fighting Jardine make you look slow/sloppy: sides Page knocked him down Twice! That is not weak hands as many have stated tonight..your thoughts?

Jon Anik
  (1:07 AM)

Jardine does have some awkward, unorthodox tendencies, but I thought Rampage was just fine tonite. He took a few calculated risks, fought aggressively, and took care of businness. Even before tonite, I would've leaned towards Rashad Evans to beat Rampage. And that feeling remains in tact.

Leo (Boston MA)

Do you think rampage held back tongiht and tried not to take alot of damage so he will be ready in 10 weeks?

Jon Anik
  (1:08 AM)

There may have been some of that, Leo, and it's an interesting thought. I still think he tried for the knockout at times, but Jardine gutted through it.

Jake (Bemidji, MN)

I recall that the night brock won the belt that you guys had a post-fight show. what happend to that?

Jon Anik
  (1:10 AM)

We were in Las Vegas for UFC 91 and UFC 94. Hopefully someday MMA Live has the resources to be on location for all of the major MMA cards/PPVs.

maxx

dont you think rampage was cautious fighting such a herky jerky fighter who has beaten former champs? i still think he can beat rashad, it just depends who he fights and how he approaches it

Jon Anik
  (1:11 AM)

A lot of the folks in the chat agree, Maxx. There may have been a measure of caution in Rampage's approach. But I don't think it was because he knew he might be fighting again in 10 weeks. I think he just wanted to make sure he got the W, regardless of how it ended. And I thought the fight was entertaining.

Jon Anik
  (1:12 AM)

Actually haven't been any complaints on UFC 96. A lot of people thought the PPV was a bit shallow. Certainly didn't turn out that way, with four separate candidates for KO of the Night.

Jake (Bemidji, MN)

one day mma will be main stream. btw, what do you think about T.O. to buffalo

Jon Anik
  (1:12 AM)

Solid move. Low risk, with just the one year. Didn't hear much about the Bills, and they swoop in and get him.

Andrea (Granite City, IL)

Am I the only one disappointed. This is not the UFC I started watching 3 years ago. Where's the intensity? Rampage wasn't himself. They seemed like they didn't know what to do... a lot of standing around looking at each other with hands down (Jardine). And the commentators just build it up. They are both awsome athletes, but I know they are capable of more than I saw tonight.

Jon Anik
  (1:14 AM)

I like the conviction of your opinion, Andrea. I thought the third round left a bit to be desired, until the final 20 seconds or so. And Jardine had to know he was losing on the scorecards late, yet didn't try to go for broke. You make some decent points. Thanks for chatting. Helping out our gender balance.

samlisagayson [via mobile]

the is one man in the ufc that can beat Anderson Silva and that man is Rampage you agree

Jon Anik
  (1:15 AM)

I think Rashad Evans and Georges St. Pierre both have a better chance to beat Anderson Silva than Rampage...just one man's opinion.

JZ (Atl)

So is there ever a point that Guida ever finishes a fight instead of laying on his opponent for 15 minutes without even pounding him? He by far is the most boring guy to watch, the UFC likes finishers and has to frown on this style

Jon Anik
  (1:15 AM)

We had a lot of comments to this end in our regular Thursday chat. I am fearful his fight with Diego Sanchez might be more of the same.

Nate (Minneapolis, MN)

Not a lot of love for rampage tonight. If you like rashad over rampage at 98, then do you also like him over michida down the road?

Jon Anik
  (1:17 AM)

We are really predicting down the line now. I can see scenarios whereby all three of these fighters beat one another. But right now, Rashad's nasty power is the first thing I think about in this discussion. And I'd bet on him to overwhelm Machida. That's also a very intriguing fight.

fats west monroe La

I think if we could have seen a 5 round fight.We could have had a diffirent out come.

Jon Anik
  (1:18 AM)

You'd like to think so. Similar to Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin at UFC 93. That fight, in my estimation, was a bit closer than tonite's main event.

Myshian (ca) [via mobile]

If the fight between jackson and evans goes to the ground who do you think will be in trouble?

Jon Anik
  (1:19 AM)

Neither guy, really. Rampage may hate jiu-jitsu, but he rarely gets compromised or submitted. Neither is a big submission guy. I expect a kickboxing affair, with a few takedowns mixed in.

Jake (Bemidji, MN)

could you think of a better fight then lesner-mir 2 for ufc 100. that just seems likie that one just fell into ufc's lap to build around on what should a really hyped event

Jon Anik
  (1:20 AM)

Jake, it is very fitting that the heavyweight unification bout happens at UFC 100. And the UFC owes a lot to Rampage, and Rashad for stepping up at UFC 98.

Ed Hochuli

Yves Lavigne was spot on tonight

Drew (Johnson City, TN)

Am I the only one who thinks that Jardine lost all 3 rounds??

Jon Anik
  (1:21 AM)

Nope. I scored it 30-27 for Jackson as well. And we can't be alone.

Jon Anik
  (1:23 AM)

Alright, folks. Thanks for staying up late on the East Coast! Hope you enjoyed UFC 96. A complete recap this week on MMA Live, and we're back with our weekly chat Thursday at 2:30 ET, right here on ESPN.com. Enjoyed our first post-fight chat. More in the future. Enjoy your Sunday. -JA