• Thompson throws an early kick at UFC 143 (MMAWeekly)The welterweight division has been a rough place for pure strikers, but Stephen Thompson may have a chance to change that.

    With a decorated karate background, "Wonderboy" is looking to alter the way MMA fans, fighters and trainer look at that discipline.

    Lyoto Machida is one of the only high level MMA star to still use karate as his main discipline. No one is saying Thompson is near Machida, but he has a little "Dragon" in him.

    In a blog with Fightline, Thompson said the karate stance can be a big advantage in a world filled with takedown artists.

    "The average MMA guys have a boxer's stance which makes it easier for a wrestler when they try and take you down. I tend to stand sideways and that gives them only one leg to shoot for, it tends to make it more difficult to try and take me down," wrote Thompson.

    Thompson, 28, was unbeaten in the karate/kickboxing ranks. He was 37-0 as an amateur and 20-0 as a pro. He got turned onto MMA when Georges St-Pierre's camp asked him to work with the UFC 170-pound champ. GSP returned the favor by working with Thompson on fight night at UFC 143.

    Read More »from Stephen Thompson interview: ‘Wonderboy’ could shake up welterweight division
  • Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva trade advice

    Silva and Sonnen, best friends forever (Getty)With Chael Sonnen expected to take on Anderson Silva for the UFC middleweight belt in June, you would think they wouldn't want to help each other out. Even the fighters who are friends before their bout usually cut off communication in the months leading up to their fight. But Silva and Sonnen are so kind that they actually are trading advice.

    In an interview with Fuel TV, Silva gave Sonnen training tips.

    "Chael talks too much," Silva said. "Chael needs to train. No more talk, train. Going to Brazil? Big problem."

    See? So helpful of Silva to not only help Sonnen with his training, but to do it in Sonnen's native language even though Silva usually only speaks Portuguese.

    Sonnen, wanting to return the favor, offered Silva some advice on how to relax and who to hang out with.

    How sweet! Perhaps Sonnen is forgetting how he lost to Silva in the final round of their bout. With this sort of collegiality, they may want to just have a chess match instead of a cage fight come June.

    Read More »from Chael Sonnen and Anderson Silva trade advice
  • Nelson meets Werdum in the middle of the Octagon (Getty)

    There's no doubt the most popular man at UFC 143 was Roy Nelson. For that reason, he's going to stick around. After his loss against Fabricio Werdum, he's now 3-3 with the UFC.

    When asked about Nelson's future, Dana White isn't ready to give up on "Big Country," he still wonders if the fighter is cheating himself by not being in tip top condition.

    "He's tough man, he's so tough. One of the toughest guys I've ever seen ... ever. The guy brings it. He comes to fight," said White.

    Nelson shed some of excess weight and fought Werdum at 246 pounds, but it sounds like White would like to see drop even more.

    "I've been telling Roy forever, if Roy took himself serious ... the schtick was funny for a while, but going in at 265 with a frame that doesn't carry 265 makes no sense when you're a professional fighter or a professional athlete of any kind," White said. He got his weight down [but] you wonder what he could do if he really, really trained and got into it."

    Nelson lost a unanimous decision to Werdum, but had his moments early in the fight. When it came time to press on the gas pedal, Nelson didn't have the energy.

    Read More »from What if? Dana White talks Roy Nelson’s future
  • (Getty Images)*Dana White tweeted on Tuesday night that a Carlos Condit-Nick Diaz rematch will in fact take place. Wednesday, rumors abounded that the fight won't happen after all; as of the time of this posting, things remain murky.

    But the bout makes sense on several levels. For one, the most optimistic scenario for Georges St-Pierre's return to the cage is November. In addition to GSP, Condit and Diaz, the welterweight division has vets like Josh Koscheck and Jon Fitch hanging around and up-and-comers like Jake Ellenberger and Johny Hendricks knocking on the door. A nine-month gap between Condit winning the interim title and challenging St-Pierre, which, again, is a best-case scenario, is a long time to have both guys with title belts on the sidelines when so many solid fighters are looking for their opportunity.

    For another, as much as both Condit and Diaz's fans want to claim their guy won in a convincing manner, the margin of victory in their UFC 143 bout was razor-thin. The fact the decision is still the lead topic of conversation in MMA days later shows there's plenty of interest. Which leads to our final reason to make the match: Business. Condit-Diaz 2 is a surefire hit in a year in which the UFC has already had to scrap a planned Montreal date because of a lack of viable headlining bouts. Whether the rematch is a pay-per-view or UFC on Fox headliner, the match will attract attention along the lines of the biggest bouts of the year.

    *Renan Barao moved up to No. 4 in MMAWeekly's bantamweight rankings after his UFC 143 win over Scott Jorgensen. Gaudy 28-fight win streak notwithstanding, I'm not convinced Barao is the next big thing at bantamweight. An inability to finish Jorgensen, in and of itself, is nothing to be ashamed of, as Jorgensen has only been stopped once in his career.

    Read More »from Quick strikes: Why Condit-Diaz 2 makes sense, Barao’s rankings, and Alvarez’s smart choice
  • The UFC to take on the Olympics in August

    (Getty)On Tuesday night, the UFC announced on Fuel TV that fights will return to Atlantic City for an FX show on June 22 and to Fox on Aug. 4 in Los Angeles. The date of the Fox show will pit the UFC directly against the Summer Olympics.

    The UFC hasn't shied away from the Olympics in the past. UFC 110, which featured Cain Velasquez taking out Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in the first round, aired against the 2010 Winter Olympics. Georges St. Pierre defended his belt against Jon Fitch at UFC 87 on the second night of the 2008 Summer Games.

    [Related: Jon Fitch vs. Josh Koscheck fight could happen]


    Read More »from The UFC to take on the Olympics in August
  • (Getty)It's clear three days after the fact that the Carlos Condit's unanimous-decision win over Nick Diaz will go down as one of the most hotly debated fights in UFC history.

    Everyone has a take, as is clear from the 446 (and counting) comments in my most recent blog post, in which I asked whether aggression and Octagon control are even counted any more when judges render their decision.

    There were a lot of interesting points raised by the readers, and I think some of them were worth highlighting. (Here's a hint for future feedback posts: Notice that people who made cogent points got mentioned here, and those who resorted to personal insults were ignored).

    Let's have at it:

    Commenter Moore says: "I agree aggression should be taken more into account so we don't have fighters going for points rather that fighting. But Diaz has beat his last ELEVEN opponents by pushing them to the cage and unloading on them. What did you expect Condit to do?"

    That's a great point. It obviously would have been pretty dumb of Condit to just stand in front of Diaz. The question is whether his game plan did enough to earn him the victory. I still maintain Condit came up just short.

    Read More »from Reader feedback: Arguments continue over Carlos Condit-Nick Diaz decision
  • Check out Tracy Lee's pictures from Saturday night's fights. See Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit's fight played out in pictures, Roy Nelson and Fabricio Werdum's Fight of the Night, Dustin Poirier's submission and more.

    Read More »from Angry Nick Diaz face, Dustin Poirier’s submission and more pictures from UFC 143
  • Video: Double knockout as fighters crash through faulty cage door

    MMA is a dangerous sport. The kicks, punches, chokes, armbars, kneebars, calf slicers and all the rest make it a sport not for the faint-hearted. But all the dangers and difficulties in MMA usually come from opponents, not the cage the two are fighting in.

    In Kentucky this weekend, the cage got the win. Skip to the 1:27 point in the video.

    Brandon Bishop and Braedon Ward crashed through a faulty cage door in the co-main event at Hardrock MMA 43 on Saturday. The fall appeared to knock both men out, but as the video shows, they both walked away on their own. A hinge in the cage door had been

    Read More »from Video: Double knockout as fighters crash through faulty cage door
  • UFC 143′s Three Stars: Thompson, Poirier and Barao

    Thompson celebrates knockout (Getty)OK, so maybe UFC 143 didn't knock your socks off. The extremely close contest between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit left me wanting to see three more rounds. However, as always, there were fighters whose stars shined a little brighter.

    No. 1 star -- Stephen Thompson: It's no surprise that the man nicknamed "Wonderboy" has a kick like a swinging baseball bat. Thompson started off UFC 143 with a stiffening knockout of Daniel Stittgen. He won a $65,000 Knockout of the Night bonus for the kick, which is a nice infusion of cash for a fighter making his UFC debut.

    No. 2 star -- Dustin Poirier: Why

    Read More »from UFC 143′s Three Stars: Thompson, Poirier and Barao
  • Condit, the new interim champ (Getty)LAS VEGAS -- Watching the main event of UFC 143 from my spot on press row, where the fight can often look quite a bit different than it does on television, I thought Nick Diaz won his interim welterweight title fight against Carlos Condit. I had Diaz winning the first three rounds and Condit taking the last two. The fight was close enough that you can't call it a robbery, but I did feel Diaz was effective enough over the first three rounds to earn the decision.

    In the aftermath of the decision, and the heated debate that came with it, though, I've been left to wonder: On what do MMA judges base decisions, these days?

    Among the several factors judges are supposed to consider under the Unified Rules is aggression. Diaz was the clear-cut aggressor in the first three rounds.

    Octagon control is also supposed to be considered when judging a round. Condit seemed to spend most of the early rounds backpedaling. He even ended the third round literally scooting backwards on his butt to get out of Diaz's way.

    And yet, you never seem to hear anything about aggression and Octagon control these days when judging is dissected after the fact.

    [Related: Carlos Condit faced with controversy after win over Nick Diaz]

    There was a time when turning an MMA fight into a track meet was not considered a virtue. John McCarthy docked Jamie Varner a point in his UFC 62 loss to Hermes Franca for running when he employed similar tactics. Kalib Starnes was just about mocked out of the sport entirely for running sprints in his UFC 83 bout with Nate Quarry.

    Read More »from Judging, Koscheck’s options and more: UFC 143 Octagon Observations