Cagewriter

  • Jake Ellenberger hanging with Tito Ortiz at UFC 136 (Getty)

    If Jake Ellenberger isn't fighting for some sort of UFC welterweight title by the end of 2012 he can only blame himself.

    The 26-year-old has put himself in prime position and can lock up a title fight if he posts something impressive next week against Diego Sanchez at UFC on FUEL in Omaha, NE.

    At minus-350, Ellenberger is a huge favorite against the veteran fighter. He thinks he'll win but Ellenberger respects what Sanchez has done.

    "I'm going to expect the best Diego Sanchez. He's going to come after me. He's going to move froward like he always does," Ellenberger told "The MMA Insiders" on ESPN1100/98.9 FM. "He trains with a great camp, a great strategist. I'm preparing for the best Diego yet."

    Sanchez is back working with Greg Jackson and Jackson's MMA. That's a good thing. But the recent wars and beatings Sanchez (23-4, 12.4 UFC) has put his body through probably isn't.

    "He's somewhat predictable. He moves forward. I think I can definitely win the transitions and win in the striking area," said Ellenberger.

    Ellenberger's game is perfectly suited to challenge the two UFC welterweight champions. That's ESPN's MMA expert Adam Hill named him the top prospect at 170 pounds (parameters include - Have not held a UFC belt in the weight class; have not previously fought for a title in the weight class).

    Carlos Condit and Ellenberger met in Sept. of 2009. The current UFC interim welterweight champ took a narrow split decision from Ellenberger. At the time, some may have thought it was a fluke. Not the case since Ellenberger has reeled off five straight victories including four KO finishes. I'd put Rory MacDonald and Johny Hendricks ahead of Ellenberger on the 170 list, but it's obvious the ranks of challengers for both UFC titles is growing each month.

    Adam Hill Top 10 welterweight prospects:

    1. Jake Ellenberger
    2. Rory MacDonald
    3. Johny Hendricks

    Read More »from Tabbed No. 1 welterweight prospect, Jake Ellenberger sounds pretty confident about upcoming fight
  • Diaz looks relaxed before his fight at UFC 143 (Photo by Tracy Lee)

    It's not the first time Nick Diaz and a state commission have battled over his marijuana use, but this time it could be a trend setter.

    Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole broke the story that Diaz tested positive after his fight at UFC 143. If his penalty mirrors the one boxer Matt Vanda got last week from the NSAC, then Diaz will be fined $80,000 and be given a one-year suspension.

    Is that fair? Should a violation for a marijuana test be the same as steroids? Iole reacted just minutes after the story broke on Las Vegas' ESPN1100/98.9 FM.

    UFC president Dana White released a statement on the Diaz slip:

    Read More »from Instant analysis: Nick Diaz’s positive test, what should happen next?
  • Knockout of the week: Frankie Edgar takes out Gray Maynard

    Frankie Edgar will head to Japan soon to defend  his UFC lightweight belt against former WEC champ Ben Henderson at UFC 144. How about a little reminder of what Edgar did in his last bout?

    His fourth-round knockout of Gray Maynard ended any question about who was the better fighter. With Henderson, he'll have to face a fight who has never been knocked out, and was submitted once in 2007. Who will take the belt home from Japan? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.

    Read More »from Knockout of the week: Frankie Edgar takes out Gray Maynard
  • No matter what, Condit still gets a Harley out of the deal. (Getty)The Carlos Condit-Nick Diaz controversy continues unabated. In the latest bit of news, the on-again, off-again rematch again appears to be off, and speculation has begun as to the reasons why.

    If the UFC doesn't get Condit-Diaz 2, it has to go back to the drawing board and figure out which direction to take the top of the welterweight division for the remainder of 2012.

    The company also has a habit of making matches Internet fans want when they make enough noise. So here's your chance to play matchmaker. Vote in our poll and tell us which big fight you want to see next at 170 pounds.

    Hold off for Georges St-Pierre vs. Condit: This was, after all, what was promised to begin with.

    Don't give up on making Condit-Diaz 2 happen; have the winner fight GSP: The first fight was close and there's a lot of fan interest, so go for it.

    Strip GSP of the title and let him fight Diaz: If Diaz is the fight St-Pierre really wants, let him have it, but don't hold up the rest of the welterweight division to do it.

    Have Condit defend interim belt against someone else while GSP recuperates: Condit has already defeated Diaz and St-Pierre will be out awhile, so have Condit defend against another top welterweight contender.

    Enough with all the Condit-Diaz-GSP talk: For those who would rather talk about anything else at this point.

    {ysp:live-poll poll_id="64442"/}

    Read More »from You tell us: How should the UFC handle the Condit-Diaz-GSP mess?
  • 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]

    But

    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