Friday, December 31, 2010

UFC 125: Edgar vs. Maynard



Preliminary Card


Lightweight bout: Jacob “Christmas” Volkmann (11-2) vs. Antonio “Mandingo” McKee (25-3-2)


Winner: McKee by decision

McKee is not only making his UFC debut, but he is also coming into the fight with a 13 fight winning streak..  He has also been the subject of criticism, being labeled as a boring fighter by various media sources, due to the majority of his wins being by submission. 

Although he was able to finish his last two fights, McKee’s debut match will likely go the distance.

Welterweight bout: Daniel “Ninja” Roberts (11-1) vs. Greg Soto (8-1)

Winner: Roberts by submission

Roberts has more wins on his record, winning most of his fights by submission.  If he Roberts can take it to the ground, the match will be his.

Featherweight bout: Mike Brown (24-6)  vs. Diego “The Gun” Nunes (15-1)


Winner: Brown by submission

Brown, a former WEC featherweight champion, will be looking towards a UFC title.  He also has more experience than Nunes.  He also has two wins against former featherweight champion Urijah Faber.

Middleweight bout Phil “New York Badass” Baroni (13-12) vs. Brad Tavares (6-0)

Winner: Tarvares by decision

Despite not having as much experience as his opponent, Tavares was one of fighters to advance in the Ultimate Fighter 11 competition (losing to winner Court McGee in the semi finals).  He is undefeated and has overall good striking and ground game. 

However, Baroni, who is known for being one of the more vocal fighters in mixed martial arts, has been training to improve his striking as well. 

Lightweight bout Marcus ’The Irish Hand Granade” Davis (17-7) vs. Jeremy “Lil Heathen” Stephens (18-6)

Winner: Davis by knock out

Although Davis has lost three of his four last fights, this will be his debut in the lightweight division, which could give him a power advantage.  Stephens has yet to be knocked out in his career, and Davis just be the man to do it.

Featherweight bout Josh “The Fluke” Grispi (14-1) vs. Dustin “The Diamond” Poirier (8-1)

Winner: Grispi by submission

Gispi was expected to face UFC Featherweight champion Jose Aldo, but the champion had to pull out of the match due to injury.  He has accumulated wins with knock outs as well as submissions.

Grispi may use this as motivation to submit Poirier early, and cement his contender ship for Aldo’s featherweight title.



Main card


Lightweight bout Clay “The Carpenter” Guida (27-11) vs. Takanori “The Fireball Kid” Gomi (32-6 1NC)

Winner: Gomi by knock out

With the WEC lightweight fighters being absorbed into the UFC, Gomi (former Pride Lightweight champion) and Guida (former Strikeforce Lightweight champion) are two competitors who have the potential to put themselves in title contention.  Both of these men are aggressive strikers.

Gomi is coming into this fight with a knock out victory over Tyson Griffin.  However, Guida is a fighter who can stand toe to toe with the best strikers, even after getting hit with a barrage of punches.  Still, Gomi will be looking to establish himself in the UFC and by beating Guida, he will be one step closer to a title shot.

Welterweight bout Nate Diaz (13-5) vs. Dong Hyun “Stun Gun” Kim (11-0-1 1NC)

Kim by knockout

Diaz, winner of the Ultimate Fighter 5 competition, is coming into this match with a submission victory over Marcus Davis, while Kim has yet to attain a loss in his career.  Kim is also coming into this bout with a win over Amir Sadollah, winner of the Ultimate Fighter 8.

Although Diaz has never been knocked out, Kim’s striking will prevail in this match up, handing the Kid from Stockholm a KO.

Light Heavyweight bout Brandon “The Truth” Vera (11-5) vs. Thiago Silva (14-2)

Winner: Silva by knockout

While Vera has lost his last two fights, Silva has only two losses on his record (former light heavyweight champions Rashad Evans and Lyoto Machida).  Both men have the same number of fights on their record, despite Vera debuting three years earlier than Silva.

Silva’s striking could help him finish Vera in the opening round.

Middleweight bout Chris “The Crippler” Leben (25-6) vs. Brian “All American” Stann (9-3)

Winner: Leben by decision

Leben is a long time UFC fighter, and one of the more exciting fighters, as well as one of the most vocal.  He is coming into this match with a three fight winning streak and more experience. 

Leben’s ground game could easily earn him points in all three rounds. 

Lightweight Championship bout Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (c) (13-1) vs. Gray “The Bully” Maynard (10-0 1 NC)

Winner: Maynard by decision

Maynard will be looking to enter 2011 as the UFC Lightweight champion.  In addition to having no losses, he is on an eight fight winning streak, and has already beaten Edgar in the past. 

However, things will be different as championship bouts have five rounds instead of three, and Edgar has already gone the distance in two separate title matches, giving him at least one advantage in this match.  Still, if Maynard, who like Edgar has won most of his fights by decision, can repeat his performance, he will leave the MGM Grand with the title.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

One belt to rule them all


Champion vs. champion, just one of several titles matches set for 2011

Whoever walks out of the MGM Grand Arena with the UFC lightweight title this Saturday, will be one step closer to making history. 

One of the championship matches expected to take place in 2011 will be a title unification bout between the UFC lightweight champion and Anthony “Showtime” Pettis, the last WEC champion.

The Merger between WEC and UFC

UFC President Dana White had announced the merger between the WEC and UFC back in October.  The WEC had been bought by Zuffa back in 2006, according to MMA weekly.  According to White, all three weight divisions (bantamweight, featherweight, and lightweight) would be absorbed into the UFC. 

Pettis had earned the right to face the UFC lightweight champion after defeating Ben Henderson to become the last WEC lightweight champion.

Jose Aldo, the then current WEC Featherweight champion, was immediately promoted to the UFC Featherweight champion. 

Dominick Cruz was promoted to the bantamweight champion after successfully defending the WEC bantamweight title against Scott Jorgensen. 

UFC 125 main event: Edgar vs. Maynard


The main event of UFC 125: Resolution, pits Frankie “The Answer” Edgar (12-1), current UFC Lightweight champion, against number one contender Gray Maynard (10-0-1). 

Maynard has wins over Nate Diaz, Jim Miller, and even the current champion.  He defeated Kenny Florian at UFC 118 to earn the title opportunity against Edgar. 

While Maynard has a chance of becoming a world champion and keeping his undefeated streak alive, Edgar has a chance to avenge his only loss in his MMA career.
 
Other title bouts for 2011

In addition to the UFC lightweight title matches, other title matches are already set in place for 2011.

UFC Middleweight champion Anderson Silva will be facing Vitor Belfort in their long awaited match up.  Belfort had earned the title shot after defeating former champion Rich Franklin back in 2009.  The match between Silva and Belfort has been pushed back due to injuries by both fighters.  The winner of this match is set to face Yushin Okami.

UFC Heavyweight champion Cain Velazquez and UFC Light Heavyweight champion Maurcicio Rua are scheduled to make their first title defenses against Junior Dos Santos and Rashad Evans, respectively. 

Strikeforce fighter Dan Henderson is scheduled to face current Strikeforce Light Heavyweight champion Rafael Cavalcante

Other title match ups for Strikeforce include the middleweight title match Robbie Lawler vs. Rounaldo Souza, and the welterweight championship match between Nick Diaz and Evangelista Santos.  Both of these matches will take place January 29.

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has also announced of a heavyweight grand prix.  Fighters rumored to participate include Josh Barnett, Fedor Emilienanko, and current Alistair Overeem, the current Strikeforce Heavyweight champion.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Miss Falfaren and the reindeer


Note: This is a little Christmas/holiday themed story I wrote involving the elf detective Ireniana Falfaren.

I

The consultative detective Ireniana Falfaren was hanging the tinsel above the fireplace when she heard a knock from the door.  She quickly tied her hair in a ponytail before placing two unlit candles on the coffee table, then rolled down her white sleeves as another knock came from the door.

“I am coming,” she said as she walked over to the door.

As she opened it, she saw Captain Nestor Rogers dressed his armor.  When she saw the stack of cards and letters in his hand, she smiled.  “I take it those are for me and Melissa.”

“They came by the barracks, I thought I may bring them to you,” the captain said.

Ireniana smiled and took the cards.  “Why thank you for bringing them captain.  Melissa will have to read her cards when she gets back from home.”

The captain walked in and brushed the snow off of his coat.  “Many of the officers have gone back home for the holidays.  I am surprised you did not go back to Delnair.”

“The winter weather has not been too friendly for those who travel on the road,” Ireniana said.  “Neither of my sisters have been able to make it home for the Yule holiday.  Still my father will not be lonely, and once the snow melts, I plan to visit him.  But what about you captain?  Why are you still in Mauertain?”

Nestor rubbed his hands together.  “I have told you before Ireniana.  With the chief, someone has to keep an eye on the city.  Are you are still planning on coming to the Bronze Scale for the barracks celebration?”

“Of course I am,” Ireniana said as she brushed some snow out of the captain’s brown hair.  As she saw the tense look in his eyes, she said,“ Now, I assume that you did not just come over to ask me if I was attending your little party?”

Nestor bit his lip.  “There was a body found down the street from the barracks.  You know that little zoo area where children can pet the reindeer and interact with the animals?  He was someone who worked there.”

The detective raised an eyebrow before grabbing her coat.  “Do you think he mugged on the street?”

Nestor shook his head.  “Actually, the woman who reported the death says she saw him get kicked by one of the reindeer and pushed into the pitchfork that went through his body.”

Ireniana put her coat on before walking out of the door.  “This sounds interesting and odd.  Perhaps it will make more sense when you lead me to the crime scene.”

II

Ireniana approached the body that was covered in a white blanket, seconds after she arrived at the scene.  One of the officers Ireniana knew as Sergeant Jenkins, pointed to the blanket.  ”We did this to keep the snow off of him.”

Ireniana peeled back the blanket.  The victim appeared to be a young man with sandy blond hair with a black tear drop painted below his eye.  There were three small holes in his chest.  To Ireniana’s surprise, the man’s eyes were closed.  “It looks like he died in peace,” she said while turning to the captain.

“His name is Ron Elenas,“ Nestor said.  He pointed to a slender red haired woman, who was speaking with a female officer.  “There is the witness Beatrice Wallin, According to her, she and the victim were feeding the reindeer when one of the animals grew hostile and kicked him into the hay.  In the hay was the pitchfork that stabbed him.”

“Did she say why the reindeer had grown hostile?” Ireniana asked as she watched the woman stannd along side two of the guards.

“According to Beatrice, the reindeer were being mistreated and overworked,” said the captain.

“Overworked by Ron?’ Ireniana asked.

“By the owner, Wanderer Doerr,” The captain said.

The detective nodded.  “Melissa and I have met him a couple of times.  He was once a ranger and many of the animals he carries were rescued by him.”

“What you call rescue, some would call slavery,” said a high pitched voice from behind Ireniana and Nestor.

Ireniana  glanced back to see Beatrice Wallin walk towards her.  “Captain Rogers, am I done being questioned?  I have the animals to attend to.”

“It will be just another moment Miss Wallin,” Nestor said.  “This is  Ireniana Falfaren and she would like to speak with you.”

Beatrice gave the elf a cold look before pointing to the reindeer.  “Clacker is tired, and she needs her rest.”

“Then I will make sure this does not take long,” Ireniana said.  “You told the guards that the reindeer grew agitated and attacked Ron?”

Beatrice shook her head.  “I was signaling that it was time for dinner as Ron was bringing Clacker and the other reindeer from the field.  Before I knew it, Clacker kicked Ron into the hay as he was trying to get him to come to him.  I do not know what could have angered him.”

Ireniana looked past the woman and stared at the animal.  “Did you just refer to the reindeer as a him?”

“Of course Clacker is a male deer,” Beatrice said.  “I have been feeding the reindeer for a month.”

“But you never thought to check in the below regions?”

A horrified look crossed Beatrice’s face.  “That is atrocious, why would I do such a thing?”

“If you would checked, you would realize that Clacker is a female deer,” Ireniana said.  “At least that is my conclusion, due to Clacker’s lack of male parts.”

Beatrice looked down as Ireniana laughed.  “It is all right my dear.  Now, why do you say these animals are slaves?”

Beatrice pointed at the reindeer.  “Wanderer Doeer puts these animals up for show for the amusement of the public and to make some profit.  Some of his animals are sick and tired, and they should be taken to caretakers who will give them the proper care, but he only cares about his coin purse.  If you had any sense, you would arrest him and shut down his little zoo.”

Ireniana crossed her arms as two criers walked past them, the sound of their bells filling the air.  The detective covered her ears as she noticed Clacker let out a cry and buck up and down.  She was about to walk over to the animal when a dark skinned man with slightly pointed ears, arrived from across the street and began chanting a song.  Clacker turned to the man and gently moved towards him.  The man smiled as he began to rub her back. 

“A good morning to you Wanderer,” Ireniana said as she watched the man.

Wanderer regarded the elf with a nod.  “Good morning Miss Falfaren.  When the guards came to my door and told me about Ron, I came here as quickly as I could.  It seems I came here just in time.”

Ireniana watched the reindeer nudge up against her master in a loving way.  Behind her, Beatrice pointed at the ranger and said,” You see, he only treats the animals with respect in front of a crowd.”

Wanderer looked over at Beatrice.  “Beatrice, when Clacker was getting angry, why did you not come and get me?  I was only tending to the horses in the stables, I could have been there in seconds.

Beatrice continued to glare at the ranger.  “You mean, you could have been there in seconds after you whipped the horses.”

Wanderer shook his head as one of the guards led Beatrice away.  Ireniana watched the woman before turning to the ranger.  “Beatrice did not have very nice things to say about you, or the way you keep your animals.”

“She says that I am an overbearing slave master who uses the animals for his own financial purpose,” Wanderer commented.  “Of course, Ron had said that as well, but only when it came to methods and beliefs regarding nature.”

The captain stepped to Ireniana.  “When it comes to regarding nature?”

Wanderer continued to watch the officer lead Beatrice away.  “She did not think that way when she first visited the zoo two months ago.  At first she seemed to enjoy the aspect of taking care of the animals, and asked for a job to help with the Yule season.  Then she changed her view on things after she began running around with Ron.  Like him, she began calling me a slave driver and said that these animals were in captivity and yearning to go back into the wild.”

Ireniana looked at Clacker.  “Clacker seems to enjoy the attention.  You are a ranger and a descendant of the elves, which means you have to have had studied nature at some point in your life.”

“My father is half elf and half human, so you better believe that I have studied nature,” Wanderer said.  “I have learned about nature since I was a small boy, though Ron seems to think my ranger training is nonsense.”

“If Beatrice was only employed for a few months, what about Ron?” Nestor asked.  “How long has he worked for you?”

“A little over a year,” Wanderer said.  “He is a druid from the north.  One of the reasons I hired him is because he seemed attune to the animals, even though I knew our ideas would clash.”

“Some elves who are druids tend to think they are better caretakers of nature then anyone else,” Ireniana said. 

Wanderer sighed.  “I must get back to the zoo to tend to the animals.  Captain, is it all right if I take Clacker?”

Nestor tilted his head.  “As her owner, you are responsible for her actions.”

“I realize that, but Clacker is not hostile and has never hurt anyone,” Wanderer said.  “I know she would never attack Ron on purpose, unless he had done something to her.”

“Has Ron ever mistreated the animals?” Ireniana asked.

“Not to my knowledge,” Wanderer said.  “He would discipline the animals if they were misbehaving, but so have I.  But Clacker has never misbehaved..”

The captain looked at the reindeer before looking back to the ranger.  “Very well, you can take her back home.”

“Thank you captain,” Wanderer said.  “If either of you need anything else, feel free to come by.  The zoo is open today, and I may be busy, but I can take time to answer any more questions.”

Ireniana watched the ranger lead the reindeer away.  “You think Wanderer is responsible for killing Ron?,” she said in a soft voice.

Nestor said.  “Do you think it would be possible for him to train the deer into attacking the helper?

“If he is, then we will have to arrest him,“ Ireniana said.  What will happen to the animals?”

Nestor shook his head.  “You will not like this answer, but the animals would end up being placed back into their natural homes.  Many of them live in the forest, so they would just end up around this area.  That is, unless you are up for taking them in, though I doubt that Melissa would agree with you.” 

“She would not have to know until she returns,“ Ireniana said.  “I will meet you later this evening captain.”

Captain Nestor waved goodbye, then returned to his fellow officers.  Ireniana began walking down the street, she made a quick detour and followed Wanderer and his reindeer.


III

Ireniana arrived at the zoo’s gates just as a group of children were leaving.  As she passed them, she overheard one of the girls speak of a rabbit that fell over in the snow.  After stepping through the gates, she saw Beatrice feeding two reindeer. 

“You accuse your employer of overworking your animals and yet you came back to work,” Ireniana said as she approached Beatrice.

Beatrice scowled.  “Just because my employer is a slave driver does not mean I will allow these animals to suffer.  I see you have taken my word on Wanderer’s treatment of animals.”

“Let us just say that I do not want to leave a stone unturned,” Ireniana said.  “Wanderer said that you came to him and asked for the job after coming here so many times.” 

“I fell under the illusion that Wanderer had cast on this place, like so many of the people who come here,“ Beatrice said.  “After a week of working here, Ron showed me the real side of this zoo.  He showed me the sick animals that Wanderer keeps.”

Ireniana pointed to the reindeer the woman was feeding.  “These animals seem to look healthy.”

Beatrice shook her head.  “Of course they are.  Wanderer only lets out the healthy looking ones.  I will show you what he is hiding.”

Ireniana silently followed Beatrice to a small fenced area on the right side of the zoo.  Inside a cage were two rabbits who were laying on their sides, breathing heavily.  Next to the rabbits sat two reindeer that were sneezing and coughing. 

“This was the first thing Ron showed me,“ Beatrice said as they walked to the feeding trough.  “If these animals were properly released into the wild, and not some attraction-” she stopped as she saw Wanderer walk towards him with Clacker behind him. 

Wanderer immediately approached Beatrice with a stern look on his face.  “Miss Falfaren, I did not expect to see you.  Beatrice, what was this I hear about one of the rabbits being sick?”

“I am showing Miss Falfaren what you keep hidden,” Beatrice said.  “You claim that you do not know about the sick animals, but Ron told me about the sick rabbits and reindeer.“

Wanderer turned to Ireniana and sighed out of frustration.  “If the reindeer are coughing, it is just a cold.  But Ron did not tell me about the rabbits.”

Ireniana noticed the pink flower petals in the trough as Wanderer continued.  “Or it may be because they have been fed something they were not suppose to eat,  I have suspected that you and Ron have been tampering with their food.”

The detective raised an eyebrow.  “You suspect there is something wrong with the feed?” she asked.

Wanderer pointed to the trough.  “I always inspect the feed the animals are given, but from time to time Ron has given them food that I did not look at myself.  When I confronted him about it, he assured me that it was good for them.  As for being a slave driver, perhaps I should tell Miss Falfaren how you and Ron were keeping the animals up at night, trying to get them to run and jump when they should have been sleeping.”

Beatrice said nothing as she hit the feeding the bell.  As the sound of the bell ringing echoed, Clacker lifted her legs towards Beatrice, then backed into Wanderer, who fell backwards over the trough and hit his head on the ground.

Clacker continued to buck towards Beatrice until Ireniana began whispering an elvish lullaby that slowly calmed the reindeer.  “This is how it happened with Ron,” Beatrice said.  “That reindeer tried to attack me.”

Ireniana helped Wanderer to his feet as he clutched his jaw.  “If you were any help, you would go and get someone to look at your employer.  At the very least, you could get him some help.”

Wanderer let out a moan as Ireniana set him on the ground.  “Will you be all right?” Ireniana asked. 

Wanderer smiled as he stood up and rubbed Clacker‘s back.  The reindeer nuzzled her master’s bruised cheek, then regarded Ireniana with a sad look.  Ireniana stroked the reindeer’s fur before she looked into the trough and examined traces of the food.  After sniffing it, she cringed. 

“What is wrong?” Wanderer asked, noticing the look on the detective‘s face.

“I thought I saw lilac pedals in the food,” Ireniana said.  “If it is ingested, it can make someone sick.”

Wanderer sighed as he looked into the trough.  “This must have been made by Ron.  But why would be put pedals into the food?”

“Perhaps this is why Clacker had attacked him,” Ireniana said.  “He must have been deliberately poisoned the animals in order to have the public notice and have the guard shut you down and place the animals back into the wild.  Wanderer, will you be all right?”

“I will be fine for now,” the ranger said.  “For now, I have to finish the rest of the work day.  Afterwards, I plan to speak with Beatrice about the feed, and about Ron‘s plan.  Let us hope this can change her views on the matter.”

IV

Nestor had set down his drink as he watched Ireniana enter the lobby.  To his surprise, the detective wore a red sleeveless dress with a red scarf, with her curly black hair tied in a bun.  She stumbled as she walked towards him.  “These damn heels,” she said as she sat next to him.

Nestor tilted his chin and smiled at the elf.  “You look lovely Miss Falfaren,” he said with smirk.

Ireniana smiled as one of the servers set a glass of wine in front of her.  “You must be glad to get out of the uniform every once in a while.  I will be honest with you captain, I may need more than one glass tonight.”

Nestor nodded.  “I am sure Wanderer will be fine, Ireniana.  Beatrice will have to care for the animals while he gets better.  I planned on sending some men to help her in the morning.  I just can not believe that Ron would go as far as to poison the animals.”

Ireniana sighed before noticing a sergeant at a table, sitting in his chair with his eyes closed.  “That is interesting that Sergeant Jenkins would choose this time to nap.”

The captain laughed before looking at the sleeping officer.  “Jenkins has that ability to sleep anywhere.  There are times when we think he could be dead, but he’s just in a deep sleep.  Apparently it was something he learned when he was a body.”

Ireniana nodded before almost knocking over her glass.  “How could he have learned something like that as a boy?”

Nestor raised an eyebrow.  “I thought you knew that Jenkins was a druid before joining the guard.”

“We usually do not have much time to talk,” Ireniana said.  “Many druids are known to have that kind of ability.  Captain, where was Ron’s body taken?”

“It was placed in the temple after you left the scene,“ Nestor said.  He shook his head, then saw Ireniana’s eyes light up.  “Do you think he was still alive when his body was found?”

“Ireniana shook her fist.  “He was in a deep sleep to fool us, which means he and Beatrice lied about him getting kicked in the chest and knocked into a pitchfork.”

Nestor raised an eyebrow.  “How could they lie about Ron falling into the pitchfork?  He had the holes from the pitchfork.”

Ireniana nodded.  “Yes, he had the holes, but they were not symmetrical like they would have been if they had fallen over.  The holes were by his own design.“

Nestor sat back as Ireniana quickly rose from her chair.  “Where are you going?  Are you going to the zoo?”

“There is more, but I will tell you on the way.  ,” Ireniana said.  “If this man was desperate enough to shut down the zoo by faking his own death, imagine what he and Beatrice could do to Wanderer?”

“They should have our coats reasy,“ Nestor said as he stood up and looked at Ireniana’s feet.  “If we want to get there quickly, you should probably not wear the heels.”

V

Ireniana and Nestor had made it over to the zoo just as Ron and Beatrice were entering the zoo‘s front gates.  As the captain drew his sword, Ireniana stepped forward and said,” Where is Wanderer?”

“He is inside of the house,” Ron said in a cool voice while rubbing his thigh.  “He is out cold from the hit Beatrice had given him.”

Nestor stepped next to Ireniana and looked between the man and the woman.  “Why did you have to go through all of this?  Wanderer never mistreated the animals.  He cared for them.”

“Him keeping the animals in this zoo was mistreatment enough,” Ron said as he continued towards the gate.  “The old ranger was so set on keeping these animals from their homes that he never saw the pain they go through.”

Ireniana walked right up to Ron, staring into his eyes.  “The only pain I had ever seen these animals go through is that poison you fed to them.  I know all about how you used lilacs to poison the food, and the nighttime running with the animals.”

Ron began to walk backwards as Ireniana continued,“ Clacker also knew that you were using poison because she kicked you when you tried to get her and the other reindeers to eat., but her kicking you was not apart of the plan, and so you injured yourself and faked your own death.”

Nestor raised an eyebrow.  “But I thought you said the reindeer never kicked him.”

“I said Clacker never kicked him on the chest,” Ireniana corrected.  “However, Clacker did get a good shot to his thigh.  That is why he is rubbing it.”

Ron stared at the detective before looking at the gate.  Nestor took another step towards them.  “And what would you have done if you released those animals into the wild, they decided to come back to the zoo?”

“I would have placed them into the care of the druids who live into the forest,” Ron said.  “They are adept at helping animals adapt back into the wild.”

Ireniana shook her head.  “This is not about putting animals back into the wild.  This is about taking a kidnapping a man’s friends and taking them away.  Have you ever thought about the emotional response you are placing Wanderer through.”

“As if we give a damn to what that ranger thinks,” Ron said.  He turned to Beatrice.  “Open the gates and release the animals.”

“Beatrice, you do not have to do this,” Nestor said.  The woman hesitated before opening the gates. 

Ron smiled as he walked over to Beatrice.  Ireniana rolled her eyes.  “You know that the animals are asleep.  The captain and I could  have enough officers to stop you.”

Ron regarded the detective with a wave of his hand.  “Even if you went to get the entire Mauertain Guard, due to the all night exercise routines, Beatrice and I would have already made off with some of the animals.”

“I have had enough of this,” Nestor said as he and Ireniana walked into the gate.  Ron picked up a rabbit and held his fingers along its neck.

“Not one step closer, or else I will snap this rabbit’s neck,” Ron said.  “Perhaps I should have let the old fool witness this.  He would let me walk out of here with the entire zoo than let one innocent rabbit get hurt.”

Ireniana gritted her teeth until she saw Clacker approach Ron.  As the reindeer’s footsteps came closer, a clicking noise came echoed from the distance and the rabbit Ron held, woke up and bit him in the fingers.  He screamed and dropped the rabbit, then turned and faced the reindeer. 

Before he could shout a command to halt the animal, Clacker lifted up both legs and kicked Ron in the jaw.  Nestor ran and grabbed the man just as he hit the ground and placed his hands behind his back.  “Ron, I hope you know that we currently have a couple of druids who work at the guard, and they do not take kindly to those who threaten animals.”

Nestor pulled Ron to his feet and began leading him away.  Ireniana stroked the reindeer’s chin, then saw Beatrice walking towards them.  “That was some quick running.  What made you change your mind about Ron?”

Beatrice shrugged.  “Back in the cabin.  He wanted to kill Wanderer, but I stopped him.  Will I have to be taken to the prison?”

Ireniana led Beatrice out of the zoo.  “If it were my decision, I would bring you in for attempted kidnapping, but I am going to let Wanderer decide your fate.”

“Do you think he will fire me?” Beatrice asked.

“He does need help taking care of the animals,” Ireniana said.  “And as long as you say you are sorry.”

Beatrice nodded “Oh I am sorry Miss Falfaren.”

“Then that is all I need,” Wanderer said as stood at the gates.  “If you are indeed sorry Beatrice, then I will allow you to remain here.”

Ireniana raised an eyebrow before she noticed the bruise around his eye that was above the faint bruise on his jaw.  “Wanderer, how did you know we were outside?”

“Druids are not the only ones who know how to fake a sleep,” Wanderer said.  “I was just about to go outside when I saw you and the captain arrive.  I made the clicking noise that caused Jibady to come awake and bite Ron.  Miss Falfaren, you look lovely.”

“Thank you,“ Ireniana said, tightening her coat around her body.  “The captain and I were at a Yule ball before we arrived.  Which means I should probably get back to the barracks and see if the captain needs any help.”

Wanderer smiled and waved goodbye to the elf.  Ireniana took one last look at Beatrice before walking back to the Bronze Scale, hoping that the holiday wine would still be there.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What lies ahead for Sonnen


Chael Sonnen, a UFC fighter in the middleweight division recently lost the appeal to his case about him failed a post-fight drug test, which revealed elevated levels of testosterone in his urine, after his fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 117. 

The California Athletic State Commission had originally punished Sonnen with a $2,500 fine, and a years suspension.  After the appeal process, Sonnen’s suspension was reduced to six months.

Sonnen’s reason for using testosterone

According to an article in SI.com, Sonnen and his legal team explained that his reasons for taking the tesosterone injections was due to Sonnen suffering from hypogoanedism.  Hypogonadism is a condition that results from the inability of the testes to produce testosterone, according to the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center College of Medicine. 

Men who are diagnosed with the condition experience symptoms such that  include lack of muscle and bone mass, erectile dysfunction, decrease in body and facial hair growth, and decreases in size or firmness of testicles.  One of the treatments for hypogonadism is an injection of testosterone every two weeks.

During the appeal process, Sonnen had said that he had told various people about the testosterone treatments.  One of these men included Nevada State Athletic Commissioner  Keith Kizer.  Kizer denies hearing of such information.

According to Cagepotato.com, Sonnen’s counsel said that the fighter did not try to hide the fact he was using testosterone for treatments, as he had listed it on the pre-drug screening form.


Possible opponents for Sonnen’s return

Sonnen’s suspension will be up in March, just in time for the UFC 128 event.  Although the possibility of a rematch against Anderson, or a shot at the middleweight title, is not likely to happen at this point, there are still other opponents for him to choose from, such as Yushin Okami, that is the date of his title shot has not been determined.  There is a possible match with fellow middleweight like Michael Bisping, or a rematch with Nate Marquardt.

One fighter who may be eager to fight Sonnen could be Wanderlei Silva

Prior to his fight with Anderson, Sonnen had made comments about the champion’s background, mocking that he had received a black belt while training under the Nogueira brothers. 

“I think having a black belt under the Nogueira brothers is saying, like, I got a free toy in my happy meal,” Sonnen said.

According to mmafighting,com, there is a video of Wanderlei, who was riding in the same van with Sonnen, told him that he did not need to attack the Nogueria brothers.

“These guys are the history of the sport,” Wanderlei said.  “We need to have a good conduct about that.  In Brazil, we have a saying.  You have respect, you don’t lose your teeth.”

UFC President Dana White was quoted to saying that he had wanted to promote a rematch between Anderson and Sonnen, before the news of Sonnen’s failing the drug test. 

After Sonnen was suspended, Anderson’s next opponent was announced to be Vitor Belfort, who had originally earned the right to face Anderson for the title, after defeating Rich Franklin in September 2009. 

Belfort was taken off of the UFC 122 card and replaced by Nate Marquardt who faced Yushin Okami.  Okami won the match and is slated to face the winner of the Anderson vs. Belfort bout, which is rumored to take place at UFC 126.

Fighters who have used drugs and rose back to the occasion

While being suspended may hurt Sonnen’s career, it does not mean that he will never get a chance to become a champion.  There have been several fighters in mixed martial arts who have tested positive for having drugs in their system, have been dealt punishments, and yet are still fighting in the sport.

Sean Sherk, former UFC Lightweight champion had tested positive after successfully defending the title against Hermes Franca back in 2007.  Although he was stripped for the title, he would later return to the UFC, and still competes.

Tim Sylvia had been the UFC heavyweight champion when he failed a drug test in 2003.  After losses to Frank Mir and Andrei Arlovski, Sylvia would regain the title in 2006, and keep the belt for almost a year.  According to USA Today, Sylvia became the inaugural heavyweight champion for the Powerhouse World Promotions organization.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu 2



Preliminary Card

Welterweight bout:
 
Fernando Bettega (6-4) vs. Wayne Phillips (4-3)

Winner: Bettega by submission


Lightweight bout:

Justin Lawrence (0-0) vs. Max “Payne” Martytniouk (0-0)

Winner: Martyniouk by decision


Light Heavyweight bout:

Terrell Brown (2-0) vs. Patrick Cummins (0-0)

Winner: Brown by decision


Middleweight bout:

Lucas Lopez (19-10) vs. Cortez Coleman (5-1)

Winner: Lopez by decision


Light Heavyweight bout:


Lee Brousseau (5-2) vs. Mike Glenn (4-5)

Winner: Glenn by decision


Lightweight bout:

Tom Aaron (8-2)vs. Matt Ricehouse (3-0)

Winner: Aaron by KO


Middleweight bout:


Booker DeRousse (3-4) vs. Coltin Cole (1-0)

Winner: Cole by KO


Catchweight (130 lbs) bout:


Ben Brown (1-0) vs. J.W. Wright (0-0)

Winner: Wright by decision


Main Card


Light Heavyweight bout:

Benji “Razor” Radach vs. Ovince St. Preux

Winner: Preux by TKO

Despite taking this fight at a two weeks notice, Preux will end up winning this fight.  He currently has a five fight winning streak, four of those coming from KO/TKO.


Heavyweight bout:


Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva (14-2) vs. Mike “Mak” Kyle (18-7-1)

Winner: Kyle by KO

Kyle is subbing for Valentjin Overeem.  Despite having more losses than Silva, Kyle has fought and won championships in different organizations.  This is his first heavyweight bout in over a year, and he will be sure to capture a win.


Welterweight bout:

Paul “Semtex” Daley (29-9-2) vs. Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith (17-7 1NC)

Winner: Daley by KO

Daley is making his Strikeforce debut, against one of the organization’s veterans.  Although he is known for being controversial, Daley is also known for winning championships and getting it done in the cage.  Daley’s win could give a push towards a welterweight title shot.


Middleweight bout:

Robbie “Ruthless” Lawler (19-6 1NC) vs. Matt “The Law” Lindland (22-7)

Winner: Lindland by decision

In addition to having more wins on his record, Lindland is coming into this fight with a win from Kevin Casey.  He is also a renowned grappler, and has faced off against various opponents such as Fedor Emelianenko, Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, and Carlos Newton.  Having a win against Lawlor might put him into the middleweight title picture.


Light Heavyweight bout:

Dan Henderson (25-8) vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral (36-8)

Winner: Henderson by submission

This main event has many implications.  Not only will the winner get a shot at the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight title, but it is a rematch that has been ten years in the making.  Henderson, who is looking to be a major star in Strikeforce, will take the fight and try and control it on the ground. 


Scott Coker, CEO of Strikeforce, has said in interviews that 2011 is going to be a big year for Strikeforce.  He plans to feature Heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem in a bout, as well as looking over opponents for Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, and even the return of Gina Carano.

The Ultimate Fighter finale 12 predictions



Preliminary bouts

Middleweight bout:

Rich “The Raging Bull” Attonito (9-3) vs. Dave Branch (7-1)

Winner: Attonito by TKO

Attonito has more experience and is coming in with a four fight winning streak.


Featherweight bout:

Fredson Paix√£o (10-3 1NC) vs. Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza (9-1)

Winner: Garza by decision

Despite coming off of a loss from his first (and last) WEC fight, Garza will be looking to make an impact in his UFC debut.


Catchweight (138 lb) bout:

Will Campuzano (8-2) vs Nick Pace (5-1)

Winner: Pace by decision

Pace may be coming into this fight with a loss, but this also means that he will be determined to get back on the winning track.


Lightweight bout: 


Sako “The Chainsaw” Chivitchian (5-0) vs. Kyle Watson (12-6-1)

Winner: Watson by submission

Both of these fighters will be making their UFC debut.  Although Chivitchian has no losses on his record, Watson has more experience.  He has also won all but two of his fights by submission. 


Featherweight bout:

Tyler “Thunder” Toner (10-2 1NC) vs. Ian “The Barn Owl” Loveland (13-7)

Winner: Loveland by decision

Despite taking this fight on two weeks notice, Loveland has enough arsenal to take down Toner. 


Lightweight bout:

Cody “Big Time” McKenzie (11-0) vs. Aaron “The Daywalker” Wilkinson (6-3)

Winner: McKenzie by submission

McKenzie is not only undefeated, he has yet to go the distance in any of his pro bouts.  He has 10 of his 11 fights by submission, nine of those by guillotine choke.


Main card

Featherweight bout:


Leonard "Bad Boy" Garcia (14-6-1) vs. Nam Phan (16-7)

Winner: Phan by TKO

Phan is the fresher of the two and will be looking to establish a solid winning streak.


Welterweight bout:

Rick “The Horror” Story (11-3) vs. Johny Hendricks (9-0)

Winner: Hendricks by decision

Hendricks is not only undefeated in his career, he is also looking for his 5th straight win inside of the Octagon, as is Story.  Hendricks has also won the majority of his fights by decision.  


Middleweight bout:


Demian Maia (13-2) vs. Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove (12-7 1NC)

Winner: Grove by decision

While Maia may have more wins and fewers losses, Grove is a former Ultimate Fighter winner (season 3) and being on the stage at a Finale may be just the thing to earn him a win against a former middleweight title contender.


Light Heavyweight bout:

Stephan “The American Psycho” Bonnar (12-7) vs. Igor Pokrajac (22-7)

Winner: Bonnar by TKO

The former Ultimate Fighter finalist may have lesser wins than Pokrajac, but he is also coming off of avenging a loss from earlier in the year.  Bonnar will be looking to make a comeback of sorts.  Like Grove, being on an Ultimate Fighter Finale card may be just the thing to inspire him to get the win.


Lightweight bout:

Jonathan Brookins (11-3) vs. Michael “The Menace” Johnson (8-4)

Winner: Brookins by submission

Both of these fighters were on Team GSP and fought their way to the finals.  Not only does Brookins have a better record, he also has no problem defeating fellow teamates, defeating fellow teammate Kyle Watson in the semi finals of the competition. 


Visit the UFC page to check out more information on the event