Mixed Martial Arts
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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Back To The Future

“You’ve probably seen this concept in a sci-fi movie before. A scientist, trying to explain how space-time works, punches two holes in opposite sides of a piece of paper. He or she then folds the paper in half so that the holes align, thus demonstrating how going through a black hole can theoretically allow people to travel a great distance in a short time — faster than the speed of light, so fast that time itself is warped into a maelstrom of past, present and future.

That was how Bellator 198 was to me on Saturday: a blast from the past and a look into the future all at once…”

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

MMA’s Modern Mythological Hero

“When the dust settled from UFC on Fox 29 and the crowds vacated the Gila River Arena on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, the main event between Justin Gaethje and Dustin Poirer was easy to mythologize. It was the type of fight that warranted clichés without any facetiousness or eye rolling. They left everything in the cage; they were fighting in a phone booth; they were warriors. It was the type of fight that made the lyrics to “Face the Pain” feel like a Homeric poem.

The fight was undeniably epic. It was Gaethje’s third appearance in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, each of which has been shortlisted for “Fight of the Year.” His promotional debut against Michael Johnson last July was the consensus pick across every major MMA web site, and his December bout against Eddie Alvarez was close behind. Although there are plenty more fights to be fought in 2018, expect to see this one popping up at the end of the year.

Yet in an alternate dimension, we may have never had the chance to see any of these fights…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Making Sense of Nonsense

“The week leading up to UFC 223 was absolutely bonkers. Between the musical chairs of finding an opponent for Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor’s now infamous bus attack, there has never been a more ridiculous series of events preceding a fight card. The fact that a proposed UFC Hawaii event fell through went largely unnoticed amid the pandemonium in Brooklyn, New York.

Miraculously, the event went pretty well. There were entertaining and divisionally relevant fights, and while my heart goes out to the fighters who had their bouts cancelled due to McGregor’s antics, having fewer fights made the event as a whole much more watchable. Thus, despite the attendant nonsense of fight week, there is still much to unpack…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

Every Crazy Thing Leading Up to the Cursed UFC 223 Event

“UFC 223 was supposed to be simple: Khabib Nurmagomedov, the undefeated number one contender would finally square off against interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson. They had been paired three times before, and each time the fight fell through due to alternating injuries – Khabib, then Tony, then Khabib again. The winner would become the undisputed lightweight champion, the title that Conor McGregor had gone 500 days without defending. With McGregor’s absence from the cage, Ronda Rousey’s disappearing act, and the PED problems of Jon Jones and Brock Lesnar, the UFC desperately needed to give fans something to be excited about. Anticipation for the main event and a comprehensively stacked card underneath it made UFC 223 the first quality mixed martial arts offering of 2018. And in a matter of days, it all went to shit…”

 

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By In Mixed Martial Arts

The Best of a Bad Situation

As the old saying goes: Man plans, the MMA gods laugh.

In theory, a bout between Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov is arguably the best fight that can be put together on the Ultimate Fighting Championship roster in any division. Ferguson is a flow chart of offensive dynamism, an unorthodox and multi-faceted striker with a venomous submission game. Nurmagomedov is as unpredictable as a wrecking ball — no real surprises when it comes to what he does and how he does it — and so far, he has been about as stoppable as one, too. Together they brought a total of 19 consecutive Octagon wins into the main event at UFC 223, an unprecedented number on its own but even more absurd considering all 19 of those wins took place in the most talent-rich division in the sport. The Ferguson-Nurmagomedov matchup is the best versus the best in the best weight-class. That’s rare.

Yet for all the stylistic and statistical intrigue, the fight is bewitched, cursed to remain indefinitely in the purgatory of “on paper…”

 

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