Weight cut is done and I'm ready for MMA Live at UFC 126 this weekend! We're doing 4 shows, including 3 live broadcasts from the Mandalay Bay. ESPN2 show times are as follows: Friday, 12AM ET; Saturday, UFC 126 Post-Fight Extra, 1AM ET, immediately following the PPV. Constant updates and reminders throughout the weekend on Twitter - @Jon_Anik. Let's vent.
Where does the Franklin/Forrest winner go after this fight? It seems like there is a lot more options if Franklin wins.
Franklin really wants to make one final title run. If he wins impressively against Forrest Griffin, I could see him getting one of the guys near the top. As for Griffin, his fights will always draw interest and I think a rematch with Rampage could eventually happen. Just not sure he is as hungry as he once was. A lot of questions with both of these guys to be answered Saturday night.
What is the MMA Live Schedule for UFC 126?
Weigh-in Special is Friday, 6:30-7:30 ET on ESPN.com and ESPN International. Preview Special is Saturday, 8-9 ET, also on ESPN.com. And the Post-Fight Extra will be on ESPN2 Saturday, 1-2 AM ET. Fired up for our 11th road trip!
Should the UFC put together a 8 man 155 tournament? Would definitely help sort out that mess of talent!
The UFC doesn't need to formalize anything with a tournament. All of the fights that aren't for the title are eliminators, of sorts. For example, the fight between Ben Henderson and Mark Bocek will essentially eliminate one of those guys as a title contender (at least in the near future).
What are your predictions for UFC 126?
Now that we do complete ESPN MMA staff predictions, I don't want to reveal too much here. The picks are: Anderson Silva, Rich Franklin, Jon Jones, Jake Ellenberger and Miguel Torres. All chalk, I know. My detailed picks will be posted this week on the MMA page at ESPN.com.
I work til 11. What is the order of the fights on PPV? Need to know if I should call in or just take my chances.
Too bad you can't get out of work an hour early. I would order the PPV, DVR it if you can and then start watching it when you get home. Either way, UFC 126 is a must-order. I can't remember being this geeked for a main card.
Will Bonnar's next opponent materialize after Saturday night?
Not immediately, of course. But yes. I firmly believe the delay on Bonnar's next opponent has a lot to do with this card and the potential outcomes.
How much of an upset would it be if Bader beat Jones?
It would be a huge upset, in my opinion. And that isn't to discredit what Bader has accomplished. But if you are like me and you put Jon Jones on a pedestal, it's hard to envision any light heavyweight in the world beating him right now. As I've been saying for a year now, I would favor Jones to beat any 205er in the world.
Hey Jon! Big Nog is said to make his return for the Rio event; do you think this is likely?
I think it's possible. Clearly, Noguiera's heart is still in it. Just not sure his body can do what he wants it to anymore.
Bones/Bader is the biggest non-title fight since ______?
Wish I could have you fill in the blank. Machida-Rampage was a huge fight. I thought Jackson could've been fighting for a title shot. Florian-Maynard had huge implications as well.
Hi Jon! Great weekend of sports. UFC on Saturday, Superbowl on Sunday, and MU vs. KU basketball on Monday. Who you got in the Superbowl?
Surprised no one in the chat gave me any credit for my Steelers-Packers Super Bowl prediction back in Week 2! Tough one to call. I like Pittsburgh. Lamarr Woodley remains the least talked about superstar in the NFL. Just think the Steelers will game plan to stop the Green Bay passing offense on the early downs.
If Nick Diaz fought GSP, Fitch, BJ, Diego, Condit, Alves, Hardy, Koscheck and Shelds all in a row how many would he win?
We'd all love to see Nick Diaz fighting consistently against the best guys in the world. He has struggled with wrestlers in the past, but he's also a different fighter now than he was when he fought for the UFC. Against that crop of fighters, he'd win perhaps 4-6 out of 9.
What Happens if a MMA Fighter tests positive for Steroids?
They get fined and suspended.
What is next for Jacare? It seems there is no 185 lb middleweight contender for him.
He should fight Bellator's middleweight champion, Hector Lombard.
Jacare is the man, by the way. How fun is that guy to watch?
Shouldn't more be done to protect back to the head shots? Referees don't protect it enough and I'm worried those hits might lead to some form of trauma when the fighters grow old. Wouldn't wearing a rugby style helmet protect the back of the head?
Certain referees are very much on top of it. Others are not. It's one of the most difficult parts of being an MMA ref, b/c the action is happening so quickly. And oftentimes a glancing blow can be borderline.
What fight on the undercard are you most looking forward to?
Y'all know I'm a Cerrone guy. So, Cerrone's UFC debut piques my interest. But I also picked Chad Mendes as my 2011 Breakout Fighter of the Year. Curious to see how he handles Michihiro Omigawa, who has been on an absolute tear. UFC 126 card is killer, top to bottom.
Besides Maia, who is the best BJJ practitioner in MMA?
I think Jacare is in the mix. Rousimar Palhares is lethal as well.
Jacare is a monster, I hope Strikeforce co-promotes with Bellator. Jacare/Lombard and Melendez/Alvarez. Now that is a card that can compete with the UFC!
How you see Franklin winning? Have him in a very close split decision
On points. I agree. Has close decision written all over it.
Is there a more exciting fight this year than Pettis-Guida?
I think there are a ton of matchups on paper that look electric. Dan Hardy-Anthony Johnson comes to mind for me. Let me get through this weekend first.
do you think alistair overeem will fight in the UFC?
Hopefully someday, but it's not my expectation. Overeem makes plenty of money now, competing for Strikeforce and in Japan for DREAM. and K-1. Not sure he has the incentive right now.
Roger Gracie is the top BJJ practitioner in MMA
Definitely on the short list. Many agree with you.
Have you seen the show "Lights Out"? Bas Rutten was on last night's episode playing the worst grappler in the history of MMA, couldn't submit a career boxer.
Interesting. I have all of the episodes on the DVR, but have been damn busy lately. Ashamed to admit I still haven't sat down to watch the Bradley-Alexander boxing match from last weekend.
who are you rooting 4 in the jones vs bader fight?
I really don't root for fighters b/c of the seat that I'm in. We will interview the winner on our MMA Live Post-Fight Extra, regardless of who it is. So, it is based that I remain objective. That said, I think it'd be better for the UFC if Jon Jones wins.
Is Overeem that good?
Public perception differs. But I think so, yes. He's a Top 5 MMA heavyweight in my estimation.
If Diaz goes through Daley and possibly Tyron Woodley aftward, is there anyone left in Strikeforce WW for Diaz?
Contenders always seem to emerge, even if I don't consider Evangelista Santos (Diaz's opponent last weekend) to have been a worthy contender. Paul Daley is a unique challenge for Diaz and I hope that fight materializes. I like Woodley, but don't believe he is ready to face one of the best welterweights in the world. Wouldn't mind seeing Jorge Masvidal get in the mix at some point. But Gamebred needs some wins.
Is Torres ready to go this weekend? Can't imagine he'll have much left to offer if he loses again.
Raring to go. I've never seen the man fight in person and very much look forward to being in the building for his UFC debut. Even with a loss, Torres will retain his spot on the UFC roster. He's among the most accomplished bantamweights of all time. He has name recognition and is never involved in a boring fight. I also think you will see the extent to which he has evolved at UFC 126.
With all the changes happening to ESPN's MMA coverage, are we likely to see more or less Chost? Is your role changing at all?
If anything, it will be more. I will be making more contributions to the MMA page, with predictions and things like that. Still not gonna be a full-time MMA guy, but I can assure you I won't be doing less MMA.
Robbie Lawler: complete waste of talent or completely overrated/overhyped fighter?
I will say c) none of the above. I understand the question, Marc. He is undisciplined and gets himself into bad spots he has no business getting himself into. Just not necessarily a 5-tool fighter and perhaps a tad overhyped b/c, circumstantially, he's been involved in a lot of big fights.
What is the relevance of fedor if he doesnt win the grand prix
His legacy will always be his legacy. But if he loses in spectacular fashion to Overeem, for example, perhaps the end will be near. A lot of fans and media are looking to see some evolution in his game when he fights Antonio Silva in the opening round. If he loses to Big Foot, it could get ugly.
You ever think about setting up that fight predictor for major MMA events again like you had that one time in the past? The fantasy type deal on ESPN
I wish it was my call. We did it through ESPN.com/fantasy (The MMA Live Pick 'Em Game) for 2 UFC PPVs. Response and participation was great...and then it went away. Wish I wielded more power.
do you think joe lauzon belongs in top 10 lightweights? i honestly think he is
It's close, but I don't think so. Just too many guys who are above him right now. Edgar, Maynard, Pettis, Sotiropoulos, Guillard, Florian, Ben Henderson, Jim Miller, Mark Bocek, and Guida. That's 10 off the top of my head, and I'm quite certain I left a few dudes out.
And those are *UFC* lightweights. So that's why you don't see Melendez, Alvarez, etc. on that list.
You giving your picks today?
Already gave them. They will be posted in more detail tomorrow on ESPN.com's MMA page. I will also post them on Twitter, so feel free to follow away- @Jon_Anik.
Where does Vitor go if he loses decisively? In regards to weight class, promotion, and fight frequency.
I think he should stay committed to fighting at 185 lbs and I think it's likely he'll finish his career in the UFC. Would love to see him land on the August card in Brazil and fight 2-3 times a year going forward.
Lauzon/Guillard are both unbooked. Would make a good (co)headliner for Fight Night 25 in Scotland.
I doubt Guillard would be interested in that fight. Lauzon is coming off a loss and Melvin has won 4 straight.
Any truth to the rumor that Guillard spoke with Dana about fighting Kenny. However, Dana said that K-Flo is moving down to 145?
I am quite certain K-Flo's next fight will come at 155.
Would the UFC split 155 into leagues, a la MLB,NFL etc. I know the answers' no, but so much talent, I seem to forget some of them at times
The key is just continuing the momentum by having the guys fight as frequently as possible. There are so many fighters at 155 who can lay claim to contention right now. Gotta clean it up. Really curious what the landscape of the UFC LW division will be at the end of 2011. Right now, it's a headache, albeit a great headache to have if you're the UFC.
Heard any hints as to when we get a UFC 125 pound division?
No. And I for one am in no hurry. There are 7 divisions. That is plenty for me.
What is the move for Mayhem since he will not face Kennedy? Thoughts?
Not sure. Clearly, he doesn't want to move down in weight. And if you look at the roster of Strikeforce middleweights, it's shallow.
Am I the only one who thinks Mir is in trouble against Big Country?
I wouldn't say he is in trouble, per se, but it's a tough fight, for sure. Curious to see the betting line. Should be pretty close. Winnable fight for both parties.
i have asked this question a lot will anderson silva ever fight for the lhw title and who would you pick to win bones or silva
Really depends how long Silva wants to fight for and what happens with the whole Georges St. Pierre thing. But yes, it is conceivable that Silva would move up to 205 before retiring. Jon Jones vs. Anderson Silva. Wow. No idea. Probably would take the bigger guy.
If Bones wins on Saturday who do you see him fighting next?
Depends on what happens between Rashad Evans & Shogun Rua and Rampage Jackson
HOW MANY WINS WILL IT TAKE FOR MACHIDA TO GET A TITLE SHOT.
He'd have to beat Randy Couture and then beat at least 2 other guys, in my opinion.
Any updates on Jake Rossen? I had cereal this morning. His face was on my 1% carton.
Nothing yet, Ken. He hasn't gotten back to me. I'd imagine he'll resurface at some point.
Do you see Alan The Talent Belcher making waves at MW again? He was looking good before the injury. Also curious about Mike Swick. Is his career essentially over?
Far more interested in what Belcher can do at this point than what Swick can do. No one knows exactly how Belcher will respond after an appreciable layoff. But he's definitely a guy who can make a run at 185 and a guy I will keep an eye on. No pun intended.
Do you think Robbie Lawler would have had a chance at winning had his cardio been better? He's not even close to Jacare on the ground but before he got tired, he was escaping submissions on the ground and was winning standup.
Good question. Perhaps a more conditioned Lawler would've had a better chance. It was his second fight in less than 2 months, even though the fight with Matt Lindland didn't last very long. He couldn't have gotten too out of the shape in the interim.
Does Bones Jones seem to be getting a little too cocky? He's been making a lot of noise on Twitter lately
He's a confident guy, for sure. I think you need to be as a professional athlete, especially so as a pro fighter. Clearly, he thinks he can back it up. We'll see Saturday night.
What's next for Pitbull Alves? He looked awesome last fight!
I want to see him against Carlos Condit.
Does Kid Yamamoto make any impact at bantamweight?
I don't see him making a title run. Heck, he could easily lose to Demetrious Johnson this weekend. But he's a nice addition to the division and a fun fighter to watch.
I know you love Bones, but please tell me what you think Bader would have to do to win the fight on Saturday?
I think he must find a way to get Jones on his back and use his strength to keep him there. Gotta get the ground-and-pound going and put Jones in a spot he hasn't been in before. Bader is asking for it if he tries to engage in a stand-up war. I also think Jones' cardio can be tested in the 3rd round, if the fight gets there.
I believe Alves is fighting Story next in Vegas in May
FYI: LaMarr Woodley is a huge MMA Fan. Wears TapOut gear 24/7. Also, I am pumped for the MMA Live coverage this weekend, and the PPV. And the Super Bowl. and Pens/Caps on Sunday. I will be taking Monday off.
Good stuff. And good call with Monday off. I, too, will be catching my breath. Can't wait to get out of the snow and hit the Mandalay Bay.
Zuffa politics asideovereem would steamroll everyone but cainchuck couldn't take him down back in 2003, when he wasn't 1/10th the fighter he is now.you really think anyone can stand and bang with the k1 world champ?if so, good lord dana must pay you guys alot
Clearly, you don't read these chats with any regularity. I have perpetually said Overeem is a top 5 guy who would stack up very favorably with the UFC's elite.
what are the chance fedor will ever fight in the ufc
The percentage goes down every day.
Lesnar Vs Dos Santos who you favouring.Dos Santos said his take down defense is good but I definitely know Lesnar can take him down.
The Vegas oddsmakers like Dos Santos. I think it's a good opponent for Lesnar.
Why is Bellator running on all saturdays?They will be going up against some monster shows on several of those weekends?
Not sure what led to the decision, but at least they have a consistent time slot now. And from an MMA Live standpoint, we'll be able to cover Bellator more.
Not only did Brando say something misinformed, but it wasn't very clear either!
Who has the best beard in MMA? It's definitely not K-Flo, lol. I love the guy, but he needs to lose the scruff.
Hahahaha. Wish I was allowed to grow a beard. It is thick and black. As far as MMA beards go, Jon Fitch can rock the scruff pretty good.
Fellas, the shorter the questions, the better. Can't hold up the chat by reading full paragraphs.
Chost, your boy Chad Mendes shouldnt have any trouble with Omigawa right?
Omigawa is a fighter. Mendes should be able to overpower him, but Omigawa is spastic and will remain aggressive, even if he is being taken down repeatedly.
do you think ben askren will join the ufc ?
Askren is one of my favorites, even if he's still green in the striking department. I think it's an eventuality that he ends up in the UFC.
This Rocha guy fighting this weekend.. know anything about him?
Tremendous BJJ, but this will be his United States debut. He's also fighting a guy in Jake Ellenberger who doesn't have a lot of weaknesses and isn't all that susceptible to the submission. We will know a lot more about Carlos Eduardo Rocha after this weekend.
Whats up with Okami's shot at the gold?
Given Chael Sonnen's situation, I still think Yushin Okami is next for a middleweight title shot. Only two people could get in his way at this point: Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva, who could feasibly get an immediate rematch with Vitor Belfort, were he to lose.
Who would be next in line to take over Dana's job?
He is as irreplacable as it gets. I'm sure a few guys would handle his duties. Craig Borsari is a tremendously capable and dynamic guy. He'd be in that mix.
Chances George Sotiropoulos will get a title shot by the end of 2011?
40%. His time will come, but not likely in 2011.
Have you heard about the Carwin Vs Kongo Match up rumored for UFC 131.
I believe that is the most likely return fight for Shane Carwin.
Who do you think may move down from LW to 145 in the UFC and how quickly do you see guys dropping? Anyone who can challenge Aldo?
It's only an option for a few guys. I know the UFC would love some of its bigger-name lightweights to move down and help bolster 145. But many are either too heavy or just too reluctant to leave one of the marquee divisions.
Good Chat Jon.
Appreciate it boss. Next week I will go a full 2 hours. Promise.
Any idea who the American Psycho fights next? Cant remember if there has been any news
Texted him yesterday. No word yet. But Bonnar will be part of our coverage at UFC 126 and he'll be one of the more interested observers when Griffin and Franklin get in there.
How shocked will you be when Forrest beats Ace?
Not that shocked at all. It's a close fight on paper. I just think Franklin's advantage might be motivation. Really wants this fight. Hopefully, Forrest does, too.
Wishlist for 2011: 2 chats per week, MMA Live to be 1 hour
Me, too! Might be able to swing the 2 chats/week thing. Would have to adjust the schedule.
I come in late and you ignore me?!!!
Huge traffic in here today. If I don't get you here, please try me on Twitter - @Jon_Anik. If you're following me, I will respond with a direct message right to ya!
Who'd win between Jake Shields and Nick Diaz?
As you know, they won't ever fight. I like Diaz, even though Shields may be the favorite. Just think Nick has more ways to beat ya.
Bonnar vs. winner of Tito/Little Nog?
A distinct possibility. Kenny Florian suggested that to me.
How's KenFlo's knee rehab coming along?
Just fine. He is training again.
What do you think about Michael Bisping making a run at the 185 Pound Title
Absolutely. He's a billable guy with a big following. Must beat Jorge Rivera, though.
Would the Ufc pair up Chael Sonnen with Brian Stann? considering the kind of verbage used by Mr. Sonnen...could be interesting
Could be very interesting.
Bones/Bader winner vs. Franklin/Griffin winner?
I doubt it, Chad. I think the UFC has bigger plans for the Jones-Bader winner right now. But I could be wrong.
will matt mitrione fight for the ufc heavyweight title by the end of 2012?
Doubtful. He'd have to win out and be presented with big fights.
do you think tom watson should be in the UFC
But of course.
i need a answer please'
Brother, I get more than 20 new questions every time I post an answer. Re-submit and I'll try to pluck it before I bounce.
Brother, I get more than 20 new questions every time I post an answer. Re-submit and I'll try to pluck it before I bounce.
Just had some technical issues. I get more than 30 new questions every time I post an answer. Can't help ya.
Please talk Dana White and the Fertittas into buying the Boston Bruins.
That's the best idea I've heard in a long time. I do like some of the Bruins' brass. Cam Neely would have to be retained.
Who has a better chance of becoming champ- Yamamoto or Omigawa?
I don't think it is happening for either guy. I would say Omigawa would be more likely to make a run, but Mendes is a very tough opponent this weekend.
Will Mitrione, Schaub, or Madsen (TUF 10 guys) fight for the HW title 1st?
I think Schaub is in the best decision to do so right now. And he will join us at some point during our weekend-long coverage of UFC 126.
Will we see Luiz Cane in the near future and who could be a possible opponent
Good question. Not sure at all. That dude has fallen off the face.
MMALive - Are you guys trying to get Chuck in studio as an UFC executive, to pick his brain about his new position? If not, please do!
We had him on MMA Live the day after his retirement was official. He spoke briefly about the new gig.
Do you think Strikeforce is going to stick around? They seem to have found a good niche in the market.
I think Strikeforce is doing just fine. As previously stated, they don't spend a ton of money outside the cage- promotionally, or administratively. But the fights have delivered and they've built a few stars.
Please leave Chucks brain alone it has taken enough of a beating..
Forrest is much bigger than Ace. Will bully him in the clinch and on the ground. Look for Forrest to win a decision.
Chip is on the record. Forrest is huge.
why have they chucked Akiyama in with Nate at ufc 126 when Akiyama is coming of two losses and Nate coming of a title eliminator loss
Fight was made out of necessity b/c of Chael Sonnen's situation. Akiyama would have to be on thin ice at this point. And he ain't beating Marquardt.
Your thoughts on Diaz calling GSP out....after resigning with Strikeforce??
Strange. He signs a long-term extension and then starts calling out UFC guys?
Did Herschel Walker impress you at all?
Yes. Regardless of opponent, the man is gonna be 49 years old in March. As stated on the broadcast, could you imagine how good he would've been had he started training in all disciplines in his 20s? Good for him. Only regret for me is that he gets more mainstream coverage than some of the best fighters in the world.
Forrest didn't want to fight Jon Jones, and seems uninterested in fighting. Ace in a decision because he wants it.
if your boy ken flo loses to say, guillard, is he gatekeeper at 155?
A loss to Guillard would likely close the book on Florian's chances of ever fighting for the lightweight title.
UFC or Superbowl this weekend. You can only pick one.
Thankfully, I don't have to make that decision b/c this UFC card, for me, is as anticipated as any in recent memory. Not gonna miss it.
Gotta bounce, folks. 4 shows to prepare for this week. We'll be on ESPN2 Friday night at 12AM ET. And then we'll blow it out for the UFC 126 Post-Fight Extra, live from the Mandalay Bay. That is Saturday night, 1AM ET, immediately following the UFC PPV. Also don't forget the Weigh-in and Preview Specials on ESPNUK and ESPN.com. I'll also be on Twitter (@Jon_Anik) with updates throughout the weekend. Drive slowly. -JA