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03-01-2009, 02:52 PM
UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine

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UFC 96: Jackson vs. Jardine is an upcoming mixed martial arts event to be held by the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). It will be held in Columbus, Ohio on March 7, 2009 at Nationwide Arena.

Main Card
Light Heavyweight bout: Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine
Heavyweight bout: Shane Carwin vs. Gabriel Gonzaga
Welterweight bout: Matt Brown vs. Pete Sell
Light Heavyweight bout: Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz
Lightweight bout: Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller

Preliminary Card
Welterweight bout: Tamdan McCrory vs. Ryan Madigan
Middleweight bout: Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day
Light Heavyweight bout: Tim Boetsch vs. Jason Brilz
Light Heavyweight bout: Brandon Vera vs. Mike Patt
Lightweight bout: Aaron Riley vs. Shane Nelson (http://uk.ufc.com/index.cfm?fa=eventDetail.FightCard&eid=1879)

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In-Depth Preview
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Dana White's UFC 96 Video Blog
Taped on 3/2/09
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Taped on 3/3/09
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Taped on 3/4 and 3/5
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03-01-2009, 03:53 PM
What did Ohio do to get such a terrible card?

03-01-2009, 07:00 PM
Jackson will tax Jardines ass.

03-01-2009, 07:18 PM
Gray Maynerd and Jim Miller is gonna be a good one if Maynerd doesnt Lay and Pray like always

03-01-2009, 10:32 PM
Gray Maynerd and Jim Miller is gonna be a good one if Maynerd doesnt Lay and Pray like always

i'd love to see him try, Miller's got some slick jitz. just hope he doesn't get a trigger happy ref like in his last fite

03-02-2009, 09:10 AM
The People vs. Keith Jardine (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/the-people-vs-keith-jardine-16391)

As he usually does, Keith Jardine will jog into Saturdayís Octagon appointment -- this time against Quinton Jackson -- against a soundtrack of silence.

No one boos Jardine, exactly, but no one really cheers for him. Ask how he invites apathy, and no one will be able to articulate why.

Heís hardly a reluctant slugger: Heíll wade in and get dirty, as he did against Chuck Liddell. Heís not a braggart, not a reformed street thug with a mouth bigger than his ability. He holds wins over three of the biggest names in the 205-pound division: former champion Liddell, former champion Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera.

So whatís the problem? Why accuse Jardine of contributing to an overpriced, underwhelming UFC 96? ($44.95, plus applicable sales taxes.)

Three possible answers:

1. He hears the final bell nearly 50 percent of the time. There are no spectacular finishes in the Jardine arsenal: If heís going to win, itís likely going to be because he sucks you into a war of attrition, taxing your conditioning and earning the victory by unraveling a few more feet of guts.

Put more succinctly: He donít win pretty.

2. Heís been broken before. If Jardineís roughhouse style remained unsolved, there would be some mystery -- as in the case of Lyoto Machida -- as to whether this fight will be the one in which heís figured out.

Instead, heís suffered abrupt batterings that have made him look like Peter McNeely to his opponentís Tyson. Houston Alexander made him forget the entirety of third grade; Wanderlei Silva used his head for batting practice. Thereís no aura surrounding his methodology. Heís talented but not immune to a primitive bee-swarm of an attack.

3. Heís kind of a bore. Not necessarily athletically, but in general. In a sport full of big archetypes, he looks the part of a Hellís Angel on parole: nasty, frightening, prone to clubbing people with a plumberís wrench.

But thatís about where the color ends. His attitude isnít particularly intimidating. (Seems like a pretty pleasant guy, actually.) He doesnít say anything to make the audience love him or hate him. As a result, thereís not much emotional investment in the outcome. If he beats Jackson, hey, heís delivered the upset special on a platter before. If he doesnít, itís just the latest in a line of losses that didnít shake anyoneís ground.

Bizarrely, itís this kind of collective public coma that makes me want to root for the guy. Jardine puts in his hours at Greg Jacksonís gym in Albuquerque, sweats and bleeds in just as much volume as anyone in the sport and enjoys few of the fringe benefits. Iíve yet to see him endorse a corporate giant (Rashad Evans and Microsoft), bag the ring card girl (do your own research) or throw an after-party (everyone else).

Maybe his lack of a niche is his niche: the blue-collar guy who doesnít feel the need to invent a persona or take big risks in order to rally a following. He goes to the gym and does his job: no fanfare, no fireworks, little attention. Thatís 95 percent of the working population.

I doubt much would change if he goes on to beat Jackson Saturday. It puts him on the fast track to nowhere, as he and Evans have already declared they would never fight each other. Jardine could go on to defeat the majority of the UFCís light heavyweights and probably never be a substantial ticket draw.

Is it too bad? That depends on Jardine. Weíre too quick to assume that everyone in the sport clamors for the accompanying attention and ego inflation. In some cases, athletes enjoy the competition -- and the relative anonymity of flying under the radar.

One advantage to being the invisible man: no one sees you coming.

03-02-2009, 07:00 PM
i like the dean of mean, but i don't see him beating rampage. jackson will knock jardine's ass out and run around the cage howling with his chain around his neck

03-02-2009, 07:48 PM
MATT BROWN EXPECTS TO BANG IT OUT AT UFC 96 (http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8289&zoneid=13)

Matt Brown will be making his return to the Octagon at UFC 96 against Pete “Drago” Sell. Brown was last seen at UFC 91 where he submitted Ryan Thomas after taking the fight on short notice.

As he prepares to deal with Sell, he will do so at a different camp than in the past. Moving out to Las Vegas to expand his training regimen, Brown discussed his recent transition and the reasoning behind it.

“There was a lot of things,” he told MMAWeekly Radio recently. “The biggest thing was just to get refreshed in life. Change things up and get away from the norm. A lot of it, after being in the show and everything in Ohio, people started putting me up on a pedestal. I needed to come out here and be around a lot more UFC fighters where I'm kind of a nobody.

"I train mainly at Warrior Training Center. They're some great training partners out in Cincinnati. I love everyone out there. It wasn't so much the training that brought me out here. Jorge's gym, nothing against it, but it was more of a jiu-jitsu gym. That's never been my strong point. I like to stand up and bang. I work with better Muay Thai and boxer guys out here.”

As luck may have it, Brown’s next fight happens to be back in his home state of Ohio. Realizing that he was fighting on this card prior to making the move, he was planning to take his camp out of his home state regardless. “I was originally not planning to have my camp in Ohio to avoid distractions when I was going to fight on this card. Once I came out here in Vegas, I got a lot of good friends out here and decided to make it a permanent move.”

He is excited about having the opportunity to showcase his skills to his hometown fans. “This is a dream come true to fight in front of my home town. There is going to be close to 100 people in my family there, so it's going to be pretty crazy for me.”

Having a crowd chanting his name isn’t something that he’s necessarily used to. After all, prior to his stint on The Ultimate Fighter, Brown wasn’t the cheered-for fighter. This will more than likely not be the case for this fight.

“I've never really had crowds cheer for me until I went to Atlanta. That was the first time and it was just a weird feeling. I was never famous in the local scene and stuff," he recalled. "I never really had a fan following until I made it on The Ultimate Fighter. All of a sudden I got 20,000 people cheering for me. Once that bell rings, you're not thinking too much about the crowd. You're worried about the guy in the ring knocking your head off.”

Brown’s opponent is no slouch either. Sell has had an up and down career in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, however most would be hard-pressed to find a boring fight that he’s been part of. Sell trains with former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and has one of the most memorable fights ever in the UFC when he lost to Scott Smith. Even though he lost that fight, it was an extremely entertaining fight from start to finish. That’s what Brown is hoping for, not to mention the fact that this fight has fight of the night potential written all over it.

“I watched Pete Sell all the way back from UFC 51 when he fought Phil Baroni,” he said. “I always expected him to do a lot better than he did. I always thought he was a real talented guy. As soon as they called me and said they were looking to have me fight Pete Sell, I jumped all over that. I'm ready to get that fight of the night bonus. I don't think he's going to do a lot of shooting or pulling guard or anything like that. He's going to stand and we're going to beat the (expletive) out of each other.”

When you have an opponent that is willing to stand and trade with you, it can make a fighter increase his will to win and push himself just a little bit harder. That’s what Pete Sell is doing for Matt Brown.

“It definitely made me train that little bit harder. Not that I wouldn't train just as hard anyway, but I don't know, there's just something about it. When I fought Dong Kim, I knew it wasn't going to be the most exciting fight. It turned out to be a good fight, but he doesn't want it to be an exciting fight. Me and Pete Sell, we want this to be an exciting fight. We'll go in there and try to hurt each other. We're going to do everything in each others' power to put the other one to sleep. There's no possible way this fight will be boring.”

03-02-2009, 08:00 PM
I believe that Jardine's herky-jerky will surely be his demise in this fight. It works great against outside style stand up fighters - However against Jackson, a defensive fighter who favors staying in the pocket, it should be more of a disadvantage to be awkward. Everyone has a Puncher's Chance, but aside from that, Jardine has nothing going for him. I doubt that Jackson will ever be stuffed with leg kicks the way he was against Forrest ever again, especially with his new camp.

And as for the card, besides Jardine/Jackson and Carwin/Gonzaga, I really don't think the game is worth the candle.

03-02-2009, 08:02 PM
this card is pretty ****ty. the only 2 fights are really ppv quality

03-03-2009, 03:40 AM
wow, what a terrible card. and why is Brandon Vera in the perlim fights? thats probably the 2nd best fight on the card.

03-03-2009, 10:48 AM
war Rampage

03-03-2009, 11:46 AM
wow, what a terrible card. and why is Brandon Vera in the perlim fights? thats probably the 2nd best fight on the card.

Vera has been performing like garbage lately.

03-03-2009, 01:30 PM
This is a poor card. Rampage should win by ko but it wouldnt be a complete shock to be if Jardine managed to outwork him to a decision.

03-03-2009, 04:53 PM
TOP RUNG OFF LIMITS, JARDINE CLIMBING LADDER (http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8294&zoneid=2)

Whether Keith Jardine is first, second, or third in the light heavyweight hierarchy, the important thing is that he’s there in the first place.

“I’m probably like the third person asked to the prom on this one, I think,” he said of his UFC 96 fight with Quinton Rampage Jackson during a media teleconference. “But I got a call and couldn’t turn it down.”

The announcement that he’d face the former UFC light heavyweight champion was dropped on fans during the telecast for UFC 93, scrapping earlier reports he would face Brazilian prospect Luis Cane at UFC 97.

It’s a familiar scenario for the Jackson MMA fighter – an extremely tough match-up with implications in the division’s hierarchy. Like his teammate and current 205-pound champion Rashad Evans, he’s got a habit of throwing a wrench in everyone’s plans – whether they’re for him, or his opponents.

Whatever happens at Saturday’s fight, though, he’s aware of his role in the sport’s marquee division, and he’s okay with it.

“They just think they’re going to get a good fight from me,” continued Jardine on the UFC’s outlook. “I like to strike. I’ve never been in a boring fight. And they’re just throwing me out there and they expect me to put on a good show, but they don’t expect me to win.”

And that’s often where Jardine is at his best. When he’s expected to lose, he wins. Recently, he lost to the heavily favored Wanderlei Silva at UFC 84, but rebounded with a win over Brandon Vera as a slight underdog at UFC 89. He’s unpredictable.

“It’s just the way things work out,” he explained. “After I lost to Wanderlei, I took the (Alexander loss) as a fluke, and then I just got caught down on the head with a big punch. And the same thing happened with Wanderlei. So I had to really take a look at myself and look at how I was approaching fighting and the way I was doing things. I was able to take that with me to fight Vera, which is one of my favorite wins. I think he’s a better striker than anybody I’ve fought, better than Forrest, better than Chuck.

“So I’m just climbing the ladder right now. Since that Wanderlei fight I feel like I started over and right now I’m 1-0 in the UFC – that’s the way I look at it.”

It’s not breaking news that a fight between Jackson and Evans would be better for business. Jardine maintains he won’t fight Evans, and the UFC has already invested in Jackson. A Jardine win could create an awkward situation for those who think title shots should be given out in a straight line. But the soft-spoken fighter says, for him, it’s not all about status or dollars and cents.

“I get to beat somebody else that used to have a title, so that’s great for me,” Jardine said. “That’s why people love this sport, is because we’re not businessmen. We’re not like NFL players; they’re trying to stay healthy and get a paycheck. We fight with all of our heart and our soul.

“How are you going to do out there and give the audience what they deserve when you’re fighting one of your best friends? That is just not going to happen.”

Jardine does promise that he'll continue to give his heart and soul, even if the top rung of the ladder may be off limits.

“I’m going to have a long career,” he said. “All of that stuff will work itself out. I have no problems up in heavyweight. I have no problem knocking out contenders either. So we’ll see. I’m in this game for a long time.”

03-03-2009, 05:02 PM
added the blog

03-04-2009, 08:52 AM
added another blog

03-04-2009, 10:56 AM
READY FOR JARDINE, NO EASY FIGHTS FOR RAMPAGE (http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8298&zoneid=2)

When former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson decided to make his move to the United Kingdom and become a full time member of the Wolfslair Gym, many wonder what the end result would be. The answer came in the form of an emphatic knockout of longtime rival Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92 in December 2008.

Since that time Jackson has continued to train abroad in England with training partners like Michael Bisping and Cheick Kongo, while staying focused on getting his title back. The next step towards that goal comes by way of Keith Jardine, who opposes the Tennessee native this Saturday night at UFC 96 in Columbus, Ohio.

Speaking about Jardine, Rampage had nothing but compliments for his opponent, and he understands the skill level of the "Dean of Mean."

"I think he’s an excellent fighter," Jackson said about Jardine recently. "So you know he got big wins. He got big losses just like us all. You know what I’m saying? That don’t make a fighter, how many losses, how many wins you got, what type of fighter. Anything can happen on any given day. I like Keith’s style. He’s got a good little style. He stands up and he likes to bang. He’s a good fighter."

Coming into this fight, much like the third bout with Silva in December, Jackson draws upon a loss to gain motivation to hit the gym and train harder than he ever had before.

"After my performance with Forrest I’ve been so ashamed of myself, so every fight I’m motivated. I’m motivated to go out there and look good and win because I know what type of fighter I am," he stated. "And I was really disappointed in myself for letting myself take it to that point where I’m not motivated and I get it in my head that all of these guys are easy.

"There’s no more easy fights. I’m motivated to train hard every time."

That motivation to train has pushed Jackson that much harder when working with his new team at the Wolfslair. He gives them credit for helping him get to where he's going for this fight, and beyond.

"I chose to train at Wolf’s Lair because I see the way they train. The guys train
really hard there, no non-sense, and they’ve got really good coaches there," commented Rampage. "And a lot of people would be surprised if they came and saw how the training is there. It’s not like the best looking gym you ever want to see. They don’t care about that type of thing. All they care about is putting in hard work. And there’s a lot of guys that are training. It’s a good training environment. Everybody at the gym is a fighter. It’s the type of place where I like to train at."

Jackson also commented on the differences that a nutritional plan has made in his career, something he had never done before working with the Wolfslair.

"Actually it did make training camp better," he said about eating better before his fights. "It’s doing its job. I never ate really good. I never took supplements and stuff before. So now I’m doing it. I’m 30 years old now and so it makes a big difference."

The former light heavyweight champion says as long as he's healthy and ready he wants to keep competing this year. While he is in no way looking past Jardine, if given the choice for his next match of another shot at Forrest Griffin or a title bout against Rashad Evans, he has an answer.

"I guess I’d probably go for the title shot," Jackson said.

While a title shot seems almost virtually guaranteed with a win, Jackson remains focused on Keith Jardine at UFC 96, and everything else stays in the background.

03-04-2009, 11:00 AM
THE YEAR OF GONZAGA BEGINS AT UFC 96 (http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8297&zoneid=13)

The heavyweight division in the UFC may crown the next top contender on Saturday night as Brazilian Gabriel Gonzaga tries to take one more step towards his championship dreams as he faces undefeated prospect, Shane Carwin, in Columbus, OH at UFC 96.

For Gonzaga, the opponent has never mattered as much as the challenge, and he knows that Carwin is the real deal and a very tough opponent.

"Carwin is a big guy with great power and wrestling background. Great fighter, undefeated and (he's) been training in a great camp," Gonzaga said about his opponent in an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly.com.

On fight night, Carwin will likely step into the cage weighing well above the 265lb heavyweight limit, and as a massive fighter gives him a size and strength advantage in almost any bout. Despite his opponent's size, Gonzaga says he will not put on any extra weight to try and contend with Carwin, but will instead use his skill to test the Colorado native who has yet to go out of the first round in his professional career.

"I am training very good and I am going to this fight ready to fight three rounds if we have to," Gonzaga stated. "It will be a great fight."

Going to the ground is nothing new to Gonzaga, who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and has competed in countless grappling tournaments. His opponent, Shane Carwin, has a tremendous pedigree in the wrestling world, which leads many to wonder if he'll test his ground work against that of Gonzaga's.

"We have to respect his wrestling skills, but I am training a lot (of) wrestling, but it would be interesting to see how we match it…his wrestling skills on top, and my BJJ on the bottom," said Gonzaga.

With the announcement on Monday that the UFC will be pitting Frank Mir against Brock Lesnar to unify the heavyweight title, Gonzaga knows that his chance at the championship could depend on this fight, but his mind is only thinking about one thing.

"The heavyweight (division) is getting better all the time with new comers, and it is awesome!" Gonzaga stated. "I would face anyone that the UFC asked me. At this point I am just focused on Carwin and after that let's see what happens."

Regardless of a future title shot or not, Gonzaga thinks that 2009 will be his year, and Shane Carwin is the first obstacle in his way.

"I think 2009 is going to be my year," said Gonzaga. "I hope at the end of the year have the belt on my waist."

03-04-2009, 11:00 AM
Munoz Vows to Test His Wrestling Against Hamill’s (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/munoz-vows-to-test-his-wrestling-against-hamills-16416)

For every fighter, there’s that moment when you hit the crossroads in a real match and get formally initiated into the ranks. For Mark Munoz, the gut check came in the opening moments of his June 2008 WEC bout with Chuck Grigsby, when the 6-foot-6 slugger nailed him with a potent right uppercut.

Munoz’s head snapped back, he wobbled ever so slightly, then resumed circling.

“It was right on the chin. It was good. I thought he was far away from me, and I was circling away, and he had such a long reach. You know, when he hit me with it, I thought, ‘We’re in a fight now,’” said Munoz, 5-0, of the toughest moment of his career. “’OK. I’ve really got to move my head, close the gap and get to where I want to be.’ It put a sense of urgency in me.”

Munoz did just that, taking Grigsby down, where he delivered a series of right hands while standing, tossed Grigsby’s legs aside and smashed him into defeat for a jolting finish.

Munoz’s WEC career consisted of the Grigsby fight and a first-round stoppage of Ricardo Barros before the division was scrapped by the organization. But now he is set to debut on another big stage, against Matt Hamill this Saturday at UFC 96.

A state champion who grew up in Vallejo (a few miles east of San Francisco), Munoz now lives in Mission Viejo, conveniently located between San Diego and Los Angeles, where he shuttles around meeting the prescribed training regimen for each particular day.

“I go to wherever I need go,” said Munoz, who is a married father of four. “Jokers Wild Fighting Academy at Lake Forest, Babalu (Sobral’s) gym in Cerritos. I’ll go down to San Diego and train with Brandon Vera, and the Gracie gym in Torrance.”

He also has sessions with Jake Shields.

“Jake is awesome, a wizard on the ground,” Munoz said of the last and only EliteXC welterweight champ. “He teaches me a lot as far as interweaving wrestling with jiu-jitsu. He’s a vital asset to me and a great training partner.”

Munoz went from a virtual unknown to another promising blip on the sport’s radar with the nationally televised win over Grigsby, but his tales of gym prowess are quickly developing him a name among fighters and those close to the sport. Urijah Faber, who pestered him for months to turn pro, calls him “an animal.”

Fellow northern California high school wrestler Rick Randolph was three years ahead of Munoz in high school, took seventh in state and knows the name from way back. Randolph, who is gunning for the Gladiator Challenge heavyweight belt the same night Munoz battles Hamill, had high praise for the 2001 NCAA champ as well. He believes the much-hyped “wrestler versus wrestler” angle of the Hamill-Munoz matchup won’t turn out to be as competitive as many think.

“He’s just a dominant, dominant guy,” Randolph said. “Mark Munoz is an NCAA national champion. That’s not good (for Hamill). Mark Munoz is a ridiculous wrestler. It’s not even in the same category. That’s essentially where he’s at. Hamill’s good, but the wrestling is not gonna be an issue. The wrestling will be dominated by Munoz. When you go with a guy at that level, it’s like, ‘How did you dominate me?’”

Or there’s James Irvin’s summation of grappling with Munoz, offered up in a January 2007 conversation with this writer before Munoz turned pro and was still prepping for his debut.

“It’s bad,” Irvin said, shaking his head. “Really, really bad.”

Manager Mike Roberts said that Munoz’s standup has improved since the Grigsby fight.

“A lot of people are going to be surprised when they see him out-strike Hamill,” Roberts said. “He’s been working on everything to become the total package. And the grappling will be dominated by Mark.”

Munoz is excited to get the chance to tangle with Hamill, whose improvement since his appearance on “The Ultimate Fighter” has been considerable.

Once strictly relegated to a wrestling-based approach, Hamill has developed some striking and seems to have the kind of natural aggression and will to carry him through rough spots. He lost a disputed decision to Michael Bisping, bounced back with a quality win over Tim Boetsch, was stopped by Rich Franklin and rebounded again to pound out Reese Andy. He’s a pretty tough opponent to take on during your first appearance under the UFC banner. Welcome to the neighborhood, kid.

“It’s a great matchup for me. Wrestler versus wrestler. But it’s not gonna be a wrestling match,” Munoz said. “It’s gonna be, I feel like, whomever has adjusted to MMA better. That’s going to win the fight. All the in-between techniques. The transitions between wrestling and other disciplines. It’s going to be an interesting fight. I’d like it to be exciting. I know Matt Hamill’s gonna want to stand. In a lot of fights, he uses his wrestling sporadically. I like to use wrestling to set up other things.

“I think obviously his strength is his takedowns. But I haven’t seen much ground game from him. I’ve seen a lot of front headlock punches, and once he gets guys tired and worn down, he’s like a juggernaut. He keeps coming forward. He wears them out with those front headlock punches, dirty boxing punches. Uses wrestling to tire the guys out, but I haven’t really seen him doing ground-and-pound when he’s in guard or half-guard.”

Nonetheless, Munoz still has a big challenge in front of him. But he’s used to making his own breaks.

A high school state champion at 189 pounds, Munoz was asked to cut to 167 by the legendary John Smith after joining the Oklahoma State University wrestling squad. He complied for the first two years, torturing himself to make a weight that simply wasn’t right for him. He’d argue back and forth with Smith, citing declining performance as the season went on as evidence he wasn’t suited to wrestle that light. Finally, one summer, determined to force the issue, Munoz lifted like a maniac and came into the first practice of the season at 236 pounds. He proceeded to beat up on a blue-chip recruit Smith had pegged for the 197-pound slot. The point had been made -- and he made NCAA All-American his junior year and took the championship in his final season.

Munoz still says he wants to move like a boxer, kick like a muay Thai expert when necessary and embrace the realm when the moment is right. It’s not just about wrestling, but rather the mix of disciplines that excites him. But at the end of the day, he figures he can always take it to the ground, and he wants more finishes like the Grigsby one that fans will notice.

“I kind of want that to be my signature,” Munoz said. “Once it’s on the ground, I feel so comfortable. Because I love the ground. That’s my home. I feel that if they try to submit me, I have great knowledge as far as submission defense that I can scramble out of them.”

And after mixing in the new skills he’s been working on, Munoz figures he and Hamill will eventually settle the wrestling question en route to the finish.

“I haven’t seen much ground (work) from him. Obviously, his standup’s gotten a lot better,” he said. “His weaknesses are, I believe, in his ground game on his back. Nobody’s ever put him there. So yeah, I’m looking to put him on his back.”

03-04-2009, 11:01 AM
UFC 96 Breakdown: The Main Card (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/2/UFC-96-Breakdown-The-Main-Card-16421)

Quinton Jackson vs. Keith Jardine

Quinton “Rampage” Jackson Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’1/205 lbs.
Age: 30
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn.
Fighting out of: Irvine, Calif.
Team: Wolfslair Academy
Record: 29-7

The breakdown: Once upon a time, the solution to any in-cage problem for Jackson was to slam his opponent and, if said foe still had a grip on consciousness after the fact, slam him again. While a much-celebrated overhaul by former trainer and manager Juanito Ibarra revived Jackson’s stagnating post-Pride Fighting Championships career, it seems that the high-impact slams of yesteryear have been replaced by a style that emphasizes orthodox boxing.

That will be a problem when Jackson tangles with Jardine, whose leg kicks are known for their limb-splitting potency. What’s worse, Jackson has long been vulnerable to leg kicks, and opponents are starting to zone in on that weakness after Forrest Griffin made them the lynchpin of his strategy against Jackson at UFC 86.

Jackson needs to follow the gameplan his archrival, Wanderlei Silva, used to great effect against Jardine at UFC 84; close the gap early, and go after Jardine’s suspect chin.

The X factor: The mixed martial arts world saw Jackson go from dominant to dilapidated after Griffin turned his base to mush with a single leg kick at UFC 86. Unless Jackson comes out ready to check and counter Jardine’s leg kicks, be on standby for a post-fight fasting ritual and vehicular public relations nightmare for UFC President Dana White.

Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’2/205 lbs.
Age: 32
Hometown: Butte, Mont.
Fighting out of: Albuquerque, N.M.
Team: Jackson’s MMA
Record: 14-4-1

The breakdown: Figuring out Jardine is a difficult proposition. While he has loaded his resume with upset wins over the likes of Griffin and Chuck Liddell, he also has a 36-second knockout loss to Silva on his ledger. And try as he may, the memory of a 48-second KO loss to Houston Alexander just will not go away.

The lesson in both those losses is that Jardine is successful when he controls the tempo and distance in his bouts. Thanks to lacking hand speed and a porcelain vase chin, Jardine needs to use his powerful leg kicks to keep Jackson at bay and create a more stationary target for his looping but powerful punches.

Considering Jackson’s best punches -- the hook and uppercut -- require close-quarters combat, Jardine needs to start this fight on his horse and draw Jackson towards him before unloading well-timed leg kicks.

The X factor: Jardine loves a good scrap, and that brawler’s mentality has gotten him in trouble before. Typically, Jardine is at his best when he balances his aggression with tactical precision. Striking that perfect balance while under fire from Jackson will be the biggest test of Jardine’s Octagon career.

* * *

The bottom line: Take your pick. Either Jardine will give Jackson a case of Gumby legs, or he will end up doing the face-up Ickey shuffle courtesy of a “Rampage” knuckle buffet. While muay Thai remains Jackson’s kryptonite until proven otherwise, Jardine’s defense is notoriously porous, and his unorthodox striking means he needs time to establish his range and rhythm.

That’s time he will not be afforded, as Jackson will use deft footwork to close the gap and force Jardine into the trenches, where “Rampage” will be victorious.

03-04-2009, 11:02 AM
UFC 96 Breakdown: The Main Card (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/3/UFC-96-Breakdown-The-Main-Card-16421)

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Shane Carwin

Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’1/242 lbs.
Age: 29
Hometown: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Fighting out of: Ludlow, Mass.
Team: Team Link
Record: 10-3

The breakdown: Unless one wears some anti-bear battle suit, it’s not a good idea to get into a game of fisticuffs with Carwin. If Gonzaga wants to regain his UFC mojo, he needs to focus on making better use of his top-tier jiu-jitsu game. While Carwin’s size and wrestling background make scoring a takedown unlikely, Gonzaga should have no problem pulling guard or goading Carwin into a takedown as long as he ditches the striking in favor of the clinch.

From there, Carwin’s brute physicality will be no match for Gonzaga’s hard-earned jiu-jitsu credentials. Gonzaga has to stay mindful of controlling Carwin’s posture; even a brief ground-and-pound flurry from the Colorado man-beast will be enough to prove that old nugget about black belts only covering so much of one’s rear.

The X factor: Typically, Gonzaga likes to find a rhythm on the feet, and while that strategy will always work against fighters like Josh Hendricks, the same approach cost him dearly against Fabricio Werdum at UFC 80. Going off in search of a stand-up war with Carwin might earn Gonzaga the UFC’s Darwin award.

Shane Carwin Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’3/265 lbs.
Age: 34
Hometown: Greeley, Colo.
Fighting out of: Denver
Team: T’s KO/Jackson’s MMA
Record: 10-0

The breakdown: What’s worked best for Carwin thus far has been pounding out opponents, standing or on the mat. The second part of that strategy has to go out the window against Gonzaga, who would love nothing more than to turn another inexperienced wrestler into a living licorice twist.

Carwin needs to use his wrestling and strength advantage to bully Gonzaga as he pressures him with constant blows from close quarters. Gonzaga is surprisingly effective from a distance thanks to his leg kicks, but he struggles when opponents get too close for comfort.

The X factor: With just 10 fights worth of professional experience -- and all of it against the heavyweight division’s lesser talent -- it’s anyone’s guess how Carwin will react to a Scott Bakula-level quantum leap in competition. Carwin is used to being the boss come fight time, and how he adjusts to an actual struggle will say a lot about how he fares.

* * *

The bottom line: For a guy with totally unproven jiu-jitsu, Carwin actually has the right style to beat Gonzaga. In the past, Gonzaga has always struggled when opponents muscle him around and force him to work harder than he wants. That’s the exact strategy Carwin will use to announce his presence in the suddenly relevant UFC heavyweight division.

03-04-2009, 11:03 AM
UFC 96 Breakdown: The Main Card (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/4/UFC-96-Breakdown-The-Main-Card-16421)

Gray Maynard vs. Jim Miller

Gray “The Bully” Maynard Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 5’8/155 lbs.
Age: 29
Hometown: Las Vegas
Fighting out of: Las Vegas
Team: Xtreme Couture
Record: 6-0 (1 NC)

The breakdown: Arguably the premier product from season five of “The Ultimate Fighter,” Maynard has built his success on his Hughesesque combination of high-impact wrestling and suffocating top control. Employing both against Miller will be pivotal, as Miller’s top game is a rare combination of wrestling wisdom and submission savvy.

Jiu-jitsu remains the great unknown for Maynard, and testing the limits of his game against Miller would likely end with one of his limbs matching his already mangled ears. A steady diet of takedowns and top control may not be the most scintillating of strategies, but neutralizing Miller’s aggression and offensive dynamism is the only way Maynard will knock the lightweight half of the Miller brothers off course.

The X factor: It seems like Maynard’s time at Xtreme Couture has led to his becoming a more conservative fighter who focuses more on takedowns and top control than on scoring points with actual damage. If Maynard starts accumulating referee restarts during this fight, it may only be a matter of time before Miller hits a takedown of his own and puts Maynard in a position where playing it safe means tapping out.

Jim Miller Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 5’8/155 lbs.
Age: 25
Hometown: Sparta, N.J.
Fighting out of: Whippany, N.J.
Team: AMA Fight Club
Record: 13-1

The breakdown: Miller should see a counselor to make sure he’s mentally ready to be outwrestled. While Maynard is hardly the second coming of Cael Sanderson, he’s impossibly strong and has the fundamentals to tie it all together. With that sobering reality in mind, Miller needs borrow from C+C Music Factory and make Maynard sweat.

Stepping forward with strikes, keeping an active guard and making Maynard work for every takedown he gets should be the standing orders for Miller, who has the cardio and aggression to make it work.

The X factor: Playing it safe will get Miller his first UFC loss, but he may get the same result if he goes all out. Forcing a hyperactive tempo while avoiding costly mental errors may be far from easy, but the alternative would leave him on the wrong end of a top control special.

* * *

The bottom line: Miller is a good wrestler but not good enough to stop Maynard from getting the better of him in that department. The real variable here is whether or not Miller’s jiu-jitsu is good enough to force Maynard out of his usual ground-and-pound routine. While Miller’s hybrid wrestling and jiu-jitsu game is almost unstoppable when he has top position, being stuck underneath Maynard for 15 minutes is a recipe for defeat.

03-04-2009, 11:04 AM
UFC 96 Breakdown: The Main Card (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/5/UFC-96-Breakdown-The-Main-Card-16421)

Matt Hamill vs. Mark Munoz

Matt “The Hammer”Hamill Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’1/205 lbs.
Age: 32
Hometown: Loveland, Ohio
Fighting out of: Utica, N.Y.
Team: Team Renzo Gracie
Record: 5-2

The breakdown: A mirror image fight in every way, Hamill has to take on another converted wrestler who loves to maul. However, Hamill’s dirty boxing and trench war mentality give him a marked advantage on the feet against the still one-dimensional Munoz. Hamill needs to seize on that advantage by stuffing Munoz’s inevitable takedown attempts and, more importantly, forcing him to step outside of his usual game and into a losing battle.

The X factor: While Joe Rogan jumps all over every opportunity to overstate Hamill’s wrestling pedigree, Munoz is the far more accomplished collegiate competitor. How Hamill handles being in the cage with someone fully capable of taking him down will say a lot about just how much stock we should put in him from here on out.

Mark “The Philippine Wrecking Machine” Munoz Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’0/205 lbs.
Age: 31
Hometown: Yokosuka, Japan
Fighting out of: Sacramento, Calif.
Team: Ultimate Fitness
Record: 5-0

The breakdown: Awesome nickname aside, Munoz has an awful lot to prove, considering he’s going from the scrap heap -- the World Extreme Cagefighting light heavyweight division -- to the mutant shark tank that is the UFC. While the deck seems stacked against him, Munoz has a natural affinity for ground-and-pound that makes him dangerous against opponents who cannot stop his shots. As long as he can turn into an irresistible takedown force come fight time, he has the game to make Hamill the first in a potentially long line of victims.

The X factor: Once a coddled prospect in the comfy confines of the WEC, Munoz now has to graduate to full-fledged contender if he wants to stick around in the UFC. How Munoz handles that pressure and the question of whether or not he’s even ready for this match will be the best measure of his future in the fight game.

* * *

The bottom line: Munoz will give Hamill trouble if he puts him on his back. Whether Munoz can finish a quality opponent in his UFC debut is another question. Expect Hamill to win a rough one by stopping most of Munoz’s takedowns and forcing him to play a striking game that Munoz is just beginning to learn.

03-04-2009, 11:05 AM
UFC 96 Breakdown: The Main Card (http://www.sherdog.com/news/articles/6/UFC-96-Breakdown-The-Main-Card-16421)

Pete Sell vs. Matt Brown

Pete “Drago” Sell Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 5’11/170 lbs.
Age: 26
Hometown: Bayshore, N.Y.
Fighting out of: Westbury, N.Y.
Team: Serra Jiu-Jitsu
Record: 8-4

The breakdown: Seems no one has a clue why this fight is on the main card. However, it does represent a chance for Sell to rediscover the mojo he’s lost since he pulled out that miracle guillotine choke and beat Phil Baroni at UFC 51. To that end, ditching the Macho Man Randy Savage routine and actually using his supposedly strong jiu-jitsu game against Brown will be critical. Staying disciplined and focusing on advancing position is basic for any jiu-jitsu player; whether or not Sell realizes that remains to be seen.

The X factor: It’s no secret that Sell fancies himself as the Long Island, N.Y., incarnation of Rocky Balboa, and that fantasy has gotten him knocked out on more than one occasion. When Sell fights with his head, he becomes a much better competitor. Unfortunately, he often lets opponents use his head for target practice instead.

Matt “The Immortal” Brown Scouting Report
Ht/Wt: 6’0/170 lbs.
Age: 28
Hometown: Xenia, Ohio
Fighting out of: Cincinnati
Team: Team Jorge Gurgel
Record: 8-7

The breakdown: This fight boils down to Brown’s ability to lure Sell into a losing battle. Turning that brawling mindset against “Drago” needs to revolve around Brown seizing takedown opportunities, staying behind a jab and landing counter punches whenever Sell gets too bold. Staying out of the fistic spectacle Sell craves may not win Brown many fans, but it could earn him a comfortable victory.

The X factor: There will be a distinct size disadvantage at play against Brown, as Sell was once a healthy-sized middleweight who now makes the cut to 170 pounds. Keeping that disadvantage from coming into the foreground will be the biggest problem Brown has to negotiate against Sell.

* * *

The bottom line: All things considered, Sell has shown some maturation of late, and his bout with Josh Burkman at UFC 90 proved he can be quite effective when he stays composed. Look for more of the same, as Brown fails to match up against Sell’s punching power and jiu-jitsu.

03-05-2009, 08:29 AM
UFC 96 IN-DEPTH: JACKSON VS JARDINE (http://www.mmaweekly.com/absolutenm/templates/dailynews.asp?articleid=8310&zoneid=2)

Though they could hardly be considered utility fighters, Quinton Jackson and Keith Jardine were inked for this Saturday’s UFC 96 when several main event proposals fell through. Jackson was expected to meet Rashad Evans for the title in the summer, and Jardine was in limbo after a loss to Jackson victim Wanderlei Silva and win over Brandon Vera.

If things were easy – and they never are – Jackson would have waited for the shot. But with main event worthy fights in short supply, a roll of the dice was in order.

If Jardine wins, things get complicated. If Jackson wins, things stay pretty simple. Somewhere in the picture, Lyoto Machida lurks.


Since making his debut on the big stage, Jardine has drawn sideways glances for his awkward gait – a leaning, shuffling style that runs counter to the traditional movements of fighters weaned on boxing, kickboxing, and Muay Thai. He throws bent punches from his arms, winging them from his sides (where his hands often sit). If there were any strikes he threw traditionally, it would be his leg kicks, which have stung many an opponent over the years. But even then, his hands often fly up when throwing them after punches, or when he chases a moving target.

Both fighters and fans were skeptical of him early on, but lately, more people have begun view him as a threat, simply because he gets the job done, and for fighters, because they can’t replicate him in the gym.

That said, Jardine has shown glaring weaknesses for aggressive strikers and straight punchers. The placement of his hands (low) and the position of his head (forward) make him an easy target for fighters who get inside and throw bombs. No examples are more obvious than his quick losses to Houston Alexander and Wanderlei Silva, who turned his lights out quick from close range.

But because his attacks come from odd angles and timing, it often means he’s harder to hit from range. He gets in and gets out, and changes pace (though he rarely stops coming forward unless overwhelmed). Two of his biggest triumphs, Forrest Griffin and Brandon Vera, had difficulty adjusting to the variations in his rhythm.

After many years as a brawler, Jackson’s striking has taken a technical turn. He still likes to throw bombs, but his jab, head movement, and footwork have improved dramatically since his UFC debut.

Jackson is strongest as a counter fighter. He is willing to take an initial shot, particularly to his legs, as a fighter closes distance. He keeps his head up, at the ready, to return fire as they move into clinch range or backward from punching range.

His last appearance, a big knockout of nemesis Wanderlei Silva, was a perfect example. Silva came in aggressive with a flurry of hooks, and was caught by a well-timed hook that left him lifeless on the mat.

While his knockout power gives him the ability to end the fight on a moment’s notice, an elusive fighter is his greatest enemy. The man who took his light heavyweight title, Forrest Griffin, worked outside combinations, and with the exception of one right uppercut, got away before being clobbered.

Grappling and Submissions

Jackson is far more effective from top position, using his strong wrestling base to take fights down. His ground game is more in the style of anti-jiu-jitsu, preferring to work position for ground and pound. When opponents threaten him with submissions, he powers his way out of danger. He is anxious to get off his back when put there, but he avoids damage well when he’s on the bottom.

Jardine is generally a convert to the ground game, and uses it as a supplement to his bread and butter on the feet. Against Brandon Vera at UFC 89, he immediately shot for a takedown, surprising all with a ground and pound attack. Though he was not able to do a tremendous amount of damage, it illustrated his unpredictability again.

Jardine’s work with friend, teammate, and light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans has made him more able to control the action when it hits the ground (or threatens to), but he hasn’t been tested there for a long time.

Ring Control

Jardine, more often than not, likes to be the aggressor in a fight. Instead of a big rush of aggressiveness, he keeps the pressure on, wearing opponents down over time. He can be pushed back if properly motivated, especially early on in fights. However, he generally likes to keep moving forward.

Despite being a counter fighter, Jackson will often take the center of the ring and let opponents move him from it. Also not overly aggressive, he has developed into a more patient fighter over time, waiting for the right opportunity to let out short burst of aggressiveness. Sometimes, he gives too much ground waiting for the right opportunity to strike back, but eventually takes it back.


As the story goes, Jackson’s much-publicized run in with the law taught him the value of taking better care of his body. Though he wasn’t known to expire more quickly than the average fighter, he went on a health kick as of last year, scrapping post-training cheeseburgers and supplementing with vitamins. With his first round knockout of Silva, conditioning didn’t come into play. It didn’t seem to be much of an issue for the two 25-minute fights he fought against Dan Henderson and Forrest Griffin, either. So, if history is any indication, Jackson will not tire in the least after 15 minutes with Jardine.

Jardine’s conditioning seems to have gotten better in his recent fights that went the distance. Against Vera, his punches kept their snap into the final minutes of the fight. Earlier, in his days on Ultimate Fight Night cards, he seemed to lose steam as fights wore on. But the more talent trainer Greg Jackson’s camp has attracted, the less he seems to falter in longer battles.

The “X” Factor

Let’s face it: Jardine seems to be an “X” factor wherever he goes. One minute he’s grinding his opponent out, next he goes down in a blaze of glory – or defeat. As he’s faced bigger talent, he’s gotten less consistent results, a common problem in the upper echelon of UFC talent.

The early moments of the fight will be Jardine’s unknown. If his chin is touched early by a power puncher like Jackson, he will expire. If he can survive, and Jackson gives him too much respect, the fight favors him as it wears on.

Will Jackson give Jardine that respect? It’s been a while since he’s faced a fighter with such a unique style; Matt Lindland, whom Jackson battled to a narrow split decision in 2006, was perhaps the last fighter to throw him off guard. Whether he’s equipped to negate Jardine’s style is unknown.

A lot will be determined by the first few minutes of the fight.

Keys to Success

Jackson would do well to take control of the fight early. He’s got a strong chin and heavy hands – bad news for Jardine. He is incredibly strong, and can use that power to muscle Jardine around in the clinch. If he ends up on his back, Jackson needs to lock Jardine up quick to avoid a swarm of punches. But his mission should be to get inside and throw bombs.

Jardine, on the other hand, should replicate the game plans that served him so well against Brandon Vera and Chuck Liddell. Soften Jackson’s legs with his devastating kicks, get in and out with punches, and stay in motion. Surprise the former champ with a takedown. If he’s pressured, circle away and re-set. Do not match strength with strength.

03-05-2009, 05:56 PM
It's not a ppv, it's free on tv, I'm looking forward to Rampage knocking Jardine out! Gonzaga fight also

03-05-2009, 06:16 PM
Nope it's a PPV.

03-06-2009, 03:44 PM
added blog

03-06-2009, 03:45 PM
added countdown show