After an incredible weekend of golf at Augusta National, the 2012 Masters Tournament has proven that you don’t need Tiger Woods to make the PGA exciting again. Here are some of the Tiger-less storylines from this past weekend: Continue reading
The Miami Marlins may have a Certified LEED Silver Stadium, but no one in Miami is as much of a tree-hugger as this balls tripping ULTRA girl:
In our first installment of “Sparring Sessions,” Rob Sobalvarro and Joel Perez discuss recent MMA headlines and trending topics. Let’s get started:
Can UFC 146’s all-Heavyweight fight card deliver?
Rob: Most heavyweight fights are like rough sex – it starts off incredibly well paced, you’re banging away on all pistons, and you’re so pumped up with adrenaline that you want to place a well-timed muay thai knee in someone’s face. Then, after the first five minutes or so, you just feel really tired, your arms start to gas out, and frankly you just pray that one of you will finish the other off sooner rather than later. Unless, of course, you eat horse meat. Then you just end it at the muay-thai-knee-to-the-face part.
Joel: Yes and no. Fans think that Heavyweight fights provide the best chance for KO’s and firework finishes. Although that may be true, most heavyweight fights are, in truth, pretty boring compared to the lighter weight classes. Having a few HW fights on the main card will always help to attract more fans but the entire card? Most of those fights won’t last all 3 rounds but since the main title fight is set to begin at a specific time, we could be looking at very little fighting and a LOT of commercials. The plus-side is that we get to watch two unbelievable fights in JDS-Overeem and Mir-Velasquez.
Does Rashad Evans stand a chance against Jon “Bones” Jones?
Rob: No, because two words: Greg Jackson. Jones will have arguably the best strategist in MMA cornering for him. Actually, scratch that, it’s unarguable (and “unarguable” is definitely the right word, because it has way more hits on Google than “inarguable.”) In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that Greg Jackson makes Sun Tzu’s The Art of War look like My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This is the dude who told an injured Georges St. Pierre to stop being a pussy and hit Thiago Alves with his groin. Coincidentally, Jackson is also the same man who instructed Jones to check on a seemingly lifeless Lyoto Machida corpse after securing a submission victory at UFC 140, so that he could “get some fans.” I think that with these Jackson tactical advantages, Jones is the veritable Predator of MMA, and he will continue collecting the skulls and spines of his enemies as he sees fit.
Joel: Evans stands a chance. Slim, but it exists. He has more of a shot to beat Jones than anyone in the LHW division right now. He’s trained with Jones before and knows his style. He’s quick, stocky, and has a powerful punch (as Chuck Liddell found out the hard way back at UFC 88). That being said, I still think Jones takes this one. He’s just too damn tall and lanky. He can reach halfway across the octagon with a single kick. He proved to people that he can stand and strike with Lyoto Machida even though his preference is the ground game. I think Jones wins the fight and ultimately will face the winner of Rua-Henderson 2 (oh dear god just talking about that rematch gives me goosebumps).
Is it the right move to do a Henderson-Edgar rematch? BONUS QUESTION: Should Frankie Edgar move down a weight class?
Rob: Okay, honestly I didn’t really watch this fight, and haven’t kept track of the Lightweight division at all to have a solid opinion, but I can make up some opinions anyway. One is that rematches are reserved for fighters with Chael Sonnen-level shit talking, crappy decisions, and 50/50 fights. Sometimes rematches lead to even better fights than the first — e.g., Lesnar-Mir and Shogun-Machida. Sometimes they’re boring five-round cuddlefests — e.g. every fight Jon Fitch has ever won. Secondly, Edgar’s home is at lightweight. Period. I do not endorse the idea of Edgar getting paid to be literally raped by Jose Aldo in a Featherweight fight, because that sounds an awful lot like prostitution. And prostitution is wrong — unless it’s on on-demand pay-per-view. Then it’s just porn.
Joel: I don’t really think the UFC has a choice but to make this rematch happen, whether the fans agree or not. They gave BJ Penn the opportunity for a rematch after Edgar took the Lightweight title from him and they gave Gray Maynard another shot at Edgar after last year’s Fight-Of-The-Year ended in a draw. It would be pretty dick of Dana White and his minions to not offer Edgar the same possibility, even though Dana himself has voiced his opinion (along with a whole slew of MMA fans including myself) about Edgar moving down to Featherweight and fighting Jose Aldo, even if its on the basis that no one in FW has been able to put up a fight against Aldo. Henderson-Edgar 2 is gonna be a helluva fight, though. Don’t kid yourself. I can’t wait to see Frankie fight with a chip on his shoulder.
How much security will be required to protect Chael Sonnen in Brazil?
Rob: I’ll answer this question with a brief history lesson. Prior to his fight in 2006 with Tim Credeur, the first person to (legally) obtain a Black Belt rank in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the state of Louisiana, Chael Sonnen commented that being underneath a man on television isn’t something he is comfortable with because he is “a Republican” (read: not gay). Interestingly, about half of Sonnen’s submission loses in his MMA career have come via triangle choke, a submission used by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners in which one dude gets his carotid arteries crushed by the legs of the dude underneath him. So, statistically speaking, Chael Sonnen is only “underneath” for 50% of the time, and the rest of the time, he’s “a Republican.” That’s more than can be said of Brazilians and their Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, who threaten to snap America’s delicate moral fiber like a neck in a triangle choke. Chael Sonnen’s not gonna let that happen, motherfuckers. Not again.
Joel: Trick question. No one is required to protect Chael in Brazil. No fans will attack him or try and murder him. They are going to welcome him in Brazil with open arms and clear his path to the octagon. Why, you ask? Because everyone in Rio can’t wait to see Anderson Silva roundhouse-kick the shit out of Chael. No amount of security is going to protect Chael from getting a taste of Anderson Silva. Rob, I know you love Chael and yeah he gave a not-100% Silva a challenge but still LOST. I don’t even like Silva but I would love to see Chael eat his words on internationally televised live TV with 80,000 Brazilian fans shouting . Besides, if Anderson loses, the microscopic hope I have of seeing a GSP-Silva superfight would vanish. And I just can’t handle that.
Well, it was another normal offseason for the
Florida Miami Marlins. We spent hundreds of millions of dollars on proven MLB talent, didn’t get rid of any key players, filled holes in our starting and relief rotation, and built a new baseball-sized ballpark. Wait, did I just write that?
Ok, so it wasn’t exactly a normal offseason. But with all this new talent and a new cool, calm, collected manager at the helm, the Marlins should definitely win the NL East, right?
Let’s break down the division and we’ll see how the Fish drop:
1. Miami Marlins: Led by pitching ace Josh Johnson (who last year had one of the greatest duels in recent memory with Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay) and former shortstop-now-third-baseman Hanley Ramirez, the Marlins will be significantly more competitive this year. And with an expanded 10 team playoff system, the signing of Jose Reyes, Heath Bell, and Mark Buehrle couldn’t have come at a better time. A new stadium and skipper will hopefully bring out the fans for the first few years, but is ballpark’s modern/artistic design enough to sustain Miami’s interest over the long haul? That’s the subject of another post altogether.
2. Washington Nationals: The main issue for the Nats is to stay healthy. This is particularly true for former all-star Ryan Zimmerman and first baseman Adam LaRoche. Despite LaRoche’s slow and short start last season, expect him to come out with bats blazing. We also saw the emergence of Mike Morse, who ended up being one of the MLB’s best hitters last year. During the offseason, the Nats acquired MLB veteran pitcher Edwin Jackson and former Oakland A’s up-and-comer Gio Gonzalez (SP). Oh, there’s also a guy by the name of Stephen Strasburg who is supposedly a pretty good pitcher, too (although he’s got to work on his pop-ups). Expect the Nats to give the NL East an even harder time they did last year (they finished 3rd…oh, you didn’t know that? yeah, they no longer suck).
3. Atlanta Braves: Youngster Jason Heyward and former all-star catcher Brian McCann lead this Braves team who are looking for redemption after a complete meltdown last September, culminating in the most insane Closing Day of all time. Dan Uggla clearly found his rhythm last year with his 33-game hit streak last year and now that Martín Prado has gotten used to LF, he should provide solid defense in the outfield (not to mention he’s a pretty good hitter too). And you can bet your ass that Chipper Jones is gonna end his hall-of-fame-bound career with a bang. Don’t forget about last year’s NL rookie of the year and Atlanta’s star closer, Craig Kimbrel.
4. Philadelphia Phillies: It’s the Phillies. Need I say more? Actually, yeah. They may have the best pitching rotation in baseball (and that is statistically inarguable) and may have added Jonathan Papelbon to their bullpen, but early injuries to stars Ryan Howard and Chase Utley could affect how they start the season and may hamper their lineup efficiency for the first few games. Ok, seriously…let’s talk reality. The Phillies have the best team in the NL East hands down. In fact they may be the best team in the NL (St. Louis, I’m looking at you, now). Expect these guys to finish at the top.
5. New York Mets: Going into the offseason, the Mets knew that they had to improve their bullpen. So what did they do? They signed three relievers, pretty much all at once. Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana is back and healthy, but we have yet to see what effect his shoulder surgery complications will have on that wicked change-up. And although Jose Reyes has taken his talents and dread-less look to SoBe, Mets fans can still breathe easy with sluggers David Wright and Jason Bay in the lineup.
So how will these offseason changes affect the standings at the end of this year? Here are my predictions for how the NL east will finish: