***This week, a piece on the hottest coach in MMA: Duane “Bang” Ludwig and Tito Ortiz explains why he came out of retirement and why this fight will be different. One of the judges explains why he scored Phil Davis over Lyoto Machida and Davis explains the secret to beating Machida.
Also, a former CBS star marks his return to fighting after a 17-month layoff, Dominick Cruz talks what went wrong with his knee, when he’ll return, who he wants to fight, and Jeff Curran gives us an update on his dog! All this and much more, this week on Inside MMA Live!***
Inside MMA Live on AXS.TV report by Steve Te Tai
Originally aired LIVE Friday, August 9 at 9pm EST on AXS.TV
Kenny Rice and Ron Kruck are switching roles this week as Rice was on location to interview Dominick Cruz, so Kruck co-hosts with Bas.
Tito Ortiz LIVE
Tito joins us on the big screen live from his gym in Huntington Beach, CA. He explains the reason he came out of retirement to fight Rampage was because he’s at a peaceful place in his life. His surroundings are great and he’s in a positive environment. His mind is active again, and his heart is there. He just wants to compete in a positive environment and that place is Bellator. He didn’t want an easy fight, so who’s a tougher fight than Quinton “Rampage” Jackson?
Tito says Quinton’s boxing skills have improved over the years, but his wrestling and submissions are a little bit better. Their history as training partners make this bout that much more exciting since they know each other inside and out. And he wants to display how much better he can be with a positive mindset than just strictly on training for the fight, and being the old Tito Ortiz and dominating.
Entering a Bellator tournament is always a possibility, but for now when he speaks with Bjorn it’s about building him up in the fighting world and TNA. He’s always been a huge professional wrestling fan, plus his Punishment Athletics business ventures and Bellator is supportive for his future which is different from the “last company he worked for”.
He explains that his Big Bear Training Camp has been on the market since the beginning of this year. He has full custody of his kids, but can’t bring his kids out of the city until this court stuff is done, so he can’t go up there for training camp and has to stay home. Once the court proceedings are behind him he may pull it off the market. (I either didn’t know or forgot but he and Jenna Jameson are in the process of an ugly and heated divorce!)
Despite Rampage and Ortiz’ final fights being losses, he points to the caliber of opponent he had and how he lost close decisions, like against Rashad and Griffin. He goes out and fights his butt off no matter what kind of injuries, he is an entertainer and will put on a show. Rampage is the same, he swings for the fences, no matter what he’s going out to knock a guy out. The past couple fights they’ve had they were given opponents to try to make them look not so good. This is going to be an exciting fight and they both have something to prove, and he will be the most dominant fighter of the night, he believes, against Rampage Jackson.
Kruck says this show would be massive if this was 2005, but it’s still two recognizable names. Bas adds the importance of having his head in a good place and what a difference it makes. He’s been fortunate to have someone that supports him, but for Tito with his problems on the side, he became a new guy, and this will make a big difference for him. (I believe Tito is in the right place as far as him recognizing the pressure is on him and Rampage to carry the show with an exciting fight. If the show tanks plus their fight is boring he realizes the heat on them would be huge and historic as opposed to this being one of twenty UFC shows. I believe Tito and Quinton both be aggressive and focus on going all out and being exciting rather than who can score the most points, and whoever wins wins.)
World Series of Fighting 4
They run down the card for this weekend’s WSOF show from Ontario, CA live on NBC Sports, featuring Tyrone Spong vs. Angel Deanda, Keon Caldwell vs. Nick Newell (our favorite one-armed fighter.) JZ Cavalcante vs. Tyson Griffin (a dream match if this was 2006) and WSOF President Ray Sefo vs. Dave Huckaba for control of the company! (Unfortunately that stipulation was added by me, but it’d be awesome if they did that!)
Bas says it’ll be interesting to see Tyrone Spong and Ray Sefo, both great strikers (K-1) against “good” strikers. He wonders if the “good” strikers will attempt to go toe to toe with Sefo and Spong. They show clips of Spong, Sefo, and Newell. Bas brings up that Newell asked for Caldwell who is a real bad ass so that’ll be interesting too.
UFC 163: Aldo vs. Zombie
They show the clip of where the Zombie’s shoulder separated in the 4th round from his failed attempt to wrest the belt from champ Jose Aldo. They run down the results from the rest of the card including Phil Davis’ “razor thin” decision win over Lyoto Machida.
Bas thinks Aldo should next take on Ricardo Lamas or Anthony Pettis, and that Dana will make Aldo-Pettis happen in some form. Kruck adds Chad Mendes and Cub Swanson too, but definitely more challenges for Aldo. Bas laughs at that clip of Zombie’s shoulder popping out with Aldo kicking the crap out of it, comparing Aldo to an animal seeing another wounded animal.
While Dana and most UFC fans felt Machida won the fight, Davis won the scorecard and one of the judges, Sal D’Amato told IMMA he agonized over the first round, but he felt Davis was a little bit more effective and put a little bit more of an exclamation point. But he understands how close this fight was.
Was the Dragon screwed?
Did Phil Davis deserve the unanimous decision or was Machida the victim of a bad decision? Phil Davis joins us on the set to answer this question! He feels he stayed busier and always looked for takedowns, since whether you get them or not you must always advance your position standing or on the ground. (Talking like the modern era fighter who strategizes for points instead of finishing someone.) He got a couple and Lyoto didn’t go for any at all. If in the case you are even on the standup, takedowns mean a lot.
To counter this, Bas reads a note from Fightmethod.com that Davis had more total strikes but most were to the legs, body, and on the ground. For scoring, standing strikes should be more heavily weighted than the ground strikes. Lyoto also defended 8 of Davis 10 takedown attempts.
Bas personally thinks the reason Davis got the decision is because after Lyoto was taken down, he did nothing to try to get up or “improve his position.” Davis also adds that Lyoto’s style is based on throwing hard punches and then evading. That style fails you when the other guy stays busier and secures the takedown so he can’t evade, and the takedown is the end-all game. Davis calls his final takedowns “clutch”. In the last minutes of the round Lyoto came with big punches to finish strong, and that’s when Davis can take him down. Bas adds the counter puncher will typically lose the cards in a close fight.
Davis also adds that the guy who moves backwards loses “cage control.” Lyoto has a great style against a certain kind of guy and the key to beating Lyoto is be patient and not get frustrated or angry by chasing after him and doing something crazy.
(Ironic that not only did Machida lose a controversial decision since he always used to win those, but also ironic that Machida was the guy who was trying to finish the fight in exciting and aggression fashion and lost to the guy who was just trying to point him to death.)
Kenny Rice with Dominick Cruz Part One
They show a graphic of the longest layoffs for a UFC champion inbetween defenses and Dominick Cruz leads the list with twenty-two months since his last defense (and counting.) GSP was second with nineteen months, then Frank Mir and Tito Ortiz (fourteen months), and Jose Aldo with thirteen months. (I believe Mir and Aldo were both due to motorcycle accidents. That must be why the TUF coach winner gets a Hummer and not a Harley!)
Kenny Rice met with Dominick Cruz about this and other subjects. Dominick says he sat down with Lorenzo and Dana and they’ve made a timetable and are hoping for early 2014, but can’t get an exact date because he hasn’t yet been cleared by a doctor.
Dominick looks at the rest of the bantamweight division and it’s basically the same as it was when he got hurt. He defended the belt four times (he includes the WEC title fights), and he feels he’s earned the right to fight for the title immediately once they get his knee figured out. They bring up that the cadaver tendon was rejected by his body, which is why they had to start all over again. The reason they went that route in the first place is by using an outside ACL they surgery on his body wasn’t as extensive, however his body rejected this new tendon as it wasn’t receiving the necessary blood flow so it snapped, and that was basically seven months lost.
He’s excited to visit the doctor about every eight weeks, because every time he gets new stipulations on what he’s able to do training-wise, and it becomes the light at the end of the tunnel. The number one thing is to not get too excited or overanxious and to stick with the plan, that way when he returns he can stay for the long run.
Bas has heard questions about Cruz being too old when he returns, as he’ll be 28. Bas points out he didn’t train for four years until he started Pancrase at age 28. The myth is that your 20’s is your peak years for fighting, but for him it was 30-33.
--James Devine put to sleep Justin Moore with a head kick from Real Cage Fighting
--Scott Smith finished Mark Matthews with a series of punches on the ground after a 17-month layoff due to personal issues. However, since some felt the stoppage was premature they are fighting again on November 16 in Sacramento for West Coast Fighting Championship.
--Boston Salmon finished JW Lee for Tuff N Uff. Salmons’ veteran trainer, Ron Frazier says he has tremendous combination and hand speed, but his poise and his focus for his young age is exemplary. In three years he will be a legitimate title contender for any major organization that wants him at 145.
--Chael Sonnen received his license despite the challenge from the Las Vegas Culinary Union
--Junior Assuncao signed with XFC after being cut by the UFC for his last loss.
--Paul Daley signs with BAMMA, his eighth company in his last ten fights
--Demacio Page will fight Ryan Benoit at Legacy 24 from Dallas on October 11.
--Jeff Rexroad is retiring from MMA and therefore vacating the Legacy welterweight belt to be a homicide detective for the Houston police department. (sounds like the premise of a new TV show.)
Alpha Male’s Secret: Duane Ludwig
They do a piece on “Bang”’s current career as this amazing striking coach who is having a remarkable impact across MMA. They bring up that it should be no surprise that the fighter with the fastest KO in UFC history is this good at striking. They explain how Team Alpha Male never had an official coach, it was just a tight group that trained together and coached each other, as Faber never really assumed an official “coach” role. Feeling they needed that, they hired Duane Ludwig.
Urijah Faber says in his opinion Duane is a legend in their industry with his world championship kickboxing history, he knows wrestling, jiu-jitsu and how to pass it all down. They look at Duane as the missing link for Alpha Male. They say he added organization and discipline, and someone to dedicate their full time to coaching them, since before they all sort of trained each other.
Ludwig says they have open minds, no egos, and are looking for someone to lead them, and he was looking for someone to lead, so it’s a perfect fit. He’s been blown away by their level of success. Since Ludwig joined, Team Alpha Male is 10-0 in the UFC. Benavidez adds that people told him his most recent fight people said he never looked better. Faber says this is the next generation of coach. A guy who’s been there with a long decorated career. TJ Dillashaw says not all great fighters can be great coaches but Ludwig can. Faber says Ludwig can be a little scary and he can sometimes get in your face but sometimes its better to be feared than respected.
Ludwig credits Bas Rutten and Grudge’s Trevor Wittman for making him a better coach. Bas says Duane has always had bad luck breaking his ankle, his knee, like stupid stuff, but this guy lives and breathes MMA, and him coaching is the perfect fit for Alpha Male.
His next chance to show off that off will be Urijah Faber’s fight will be at UFC Fight Night 26 next Saturday.
Carlos Condit LIVE
Condit’s next fight will be UFC Fight Night 27 against Martin Kampmann. Condit joins us live on the big screen from his gym in Albuquerque. He’s made quite a few changes for this training camp. He’s taking more control and working harder on his wrestling and taking better care of his body.
He appreciates Bas’ support of him in his last fight against Johny Hendricks (Bas put a whole Facebook post about why Carlos should’ve been awarded the win), but knows judging has issues and they need to better standardize criteria, but for this fight he’s just looking to go finish and not leave it in the judges hands.
His much ballyhooed UFC debut was a split decision loss to Martin Kampmann and avenging that loss was always on his mind, even though he rose to UFC title contention after that loss.
Kampmann is very well-rounded but he just needs to be better in each aspect of the game. His movement and striking is better, but Kampmann is great at straight lines not so much angles, but Condit feels he has the endurance to push this to five rounds.
Getting the title shot would be nice. His focus is all on Kampmann so looking past him would be a mistake, so he has to win then we’ll see what happens.
Kenny Rice with Dominick Cruz Part One
He’s doing everything to get his footwork back to where it was. If anybody can take the steps to do that its him, because he understands exactly how that works and he does drills specifically to set up and perfect his footwork. It’s not just a natural thing. His legs will not be an issue.
The UFC insurance appears to be covering all of this, as Cruz says the UFC has been incredibly supportive and the only money out of his pocket is the money he’s not making from not fighting. He’s very appreciative to the UFC for the rest of his life and realizes they could’ve handled his injuries in several different ways, and he owes a whole lot to the UFC.
When he can’t grapple, he still runs the practices, since he can still show the movements and techniques and drills. But for now, he can get down with boxing and spar again.
He is a professional and he’s taking his time on rehabbing properly because he doesn’t want to hurt again. His humility has been at its highest from this experience but when he returns to the Octagon, he will be fighting Renan Barao.
Jeff Curran LIVE
RFA 9, next Friday, will feature Jeff Curran against Pedro Munhoz from the Stubhub Center in the Los Angeles area (the show that Ed Soares is putting on.) Curran joins us on the big screen from his gym in Crystal Lake, IL.
He says someone like Munhoz is always dangerous and has all the tools. Curran says his last fight he cut to 125, and says his best weight is bantamweight.
He feels he has the advantage particularly in the later rounds over Munhoz. He fought 30 rounds in 2008, and Munhoz has only fought about 12 rounds in his entire career. Curran feels he starts to peak around the third round and even those he lost by decision he still always wins the third round.
Curran says the fan reaction to him pulling out of his last fight because of his injured dog has been mixed. He says it was about taking care of this family for once. His wife and kids needed him at home, and he didn’t feel good moving forward without taking care of his dog.
Just today, he was at the vet for five hours today and was told bad news and he might have to put her to sleep, if they don’t see some progress.
(I could imagine Chael Sonnen having a field day if one of his opponents pulled out of a fight against him because of a dog.)
They show a recent fight beween Buck Pineau vs. Isiah Queen at New England Fights. As they were against the cage, Pineau’s legs suddenly went wobbly, and he collapsed to the mat. They found out later he tore tendons in both knees.
So he’s wiggling around on his back, Queen just stands there confused not wanting to attack a dead fish. The ref is confused and finally leans down to check on him, but still waves Queen on to come at him. Queen gives a half-ass punch because he looks like he suddenly became crippled. But since he didn’t verbally submit the round finished as scheduled and Pineau stayed in.
He comes out for round two and his knees can’t support him so he goes down to a punch, but then when Queen goes after him they roll around and Pineau gets on top. After the final round he has to be helped up since he can’t stand. When they go to the cards, he almost collapses again trying to shake Queen’s hand, and then the best part, the judges award the fight to him. (I guess that’s what Queen gets for not going all Jose Aldo on Pineau. Two good kicks to the legs would’ve ended this bout immediately.)
Q & A with Phil Davis
Fans submitted questions on the IMMA Facebook page.
--How do you see yourself matching up with Jon Jones?
He matches up well with him. They’re both wrestlers, but he thinks he’s a little better. Jones has a reach advantage but what he loses in reach he makes up for in tenacity and style.
--Would you rather have a shot at Jones or a rematch with Machida?
Phil would rather fight the champion.
Upcoming MMA shows
--Aug 16, RFA 9 (AXS.TV)
--Aug 23, Legacy 22 (AXS.TV)
--Aug 30, Titan Fighting 26 (Hallman-Hornbuckle on AXS.TV)
--Sep 6, XFC 25
--Oct 18, XFC 26 (Hot Sauce Holtzman © vs. Roger Carroll)
So like Bas always says, Godspeed and party on!
If you don’t get AXS.TV or missed the show, you can watch a replay on Tuesdays at 1am or you can see extended video highlights. You can also follow Inside MMA on Twitter and Facebook.