Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Friday, November 01, 2002
Mixed Artial Arts--- This month's UFC 40 event is shaping up to be a barn-burner. Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock for the Light Heavyweight Championship looks to be the highest-profile fight that Zuffa has promoted since buying the UFC from Semaphore Entertainment Group. Tito's knee is supposedly near 100% as he continues to recover from surgery to repair a torn ACL, while Shamrock appears to be healed from any injuries that he sustained during his loss to Don Frye in Pride. I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that nobody breaks a femur in training, because something freakish like that always seems to happen whenever Zuffa schedules a mega-fight on the level of Ortiz vs. Shamrock.

The semi main event features Matt Hughes defending his Welterweight Championship against Gil Castillo. After completely and utterly dominating two of the top welterweight fighters in the world (Mach Sakurai in March and Carlos Newton in June), Matt Hughes will probably get my vote for Fighter of the Year in 2002 if he is able to pull off a similarly impressive performance against Castillo. Honestly, if he can manhandle Sakurai and Newton, I don't think Hughes is going to have much a problem with Castillo, but at the same time, history has proven that you can never be 100% certain about any MMA fight outcome. Who's left for Matt Hughes to face if he beats Castillo? The first two names that spring to mind are Anderson Silva and Frank Trigg, neither of whom are currently in the UFC.

A previously planned light heavyweight showdown between Vitor Belfort and Vladimir Matyushenko had to be called off because Belfort suffered a knee injury during training, but Vladdy is still available to fight on this card if Zuffa wants to use him. Matyushenko is coming off a decision victory over Rogerio Nogueira (Minotauro's twin brother) in Japan, and he has gone on record saying that he is tired of cutting weight and he would like to move up to the heavyweight division. Meanwhile, heavyweight Frank Mir is scheduled to fight at UFC 40 but doesn't have an opponent. Hmm... connect the dots and you have a potentially exciting heavyweight match-up that I would personally look forward to seeing: Frank Mir vs. Vladimir Matyushenko. Only time will tell if it actually happens, but it would be a hell of a fight.

Even with Vladdy vs. Vitor being called off, UFC 40 still has two top-notch light heavyweight fights: Ortiz vs. Shamrock, and Chuck Liddell vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Liddell has beaten everyone that has been put in front of him en route to an eventual title shot against the Light Heavyweight Champion, including an impressive victory over Vitor Belfort this past summer. With a title shot against the winner of Ortiz vs. Shamrock gauranteed, Chuck Liddell decided that rather than sit on the sidelines for a few months and wait for his title shot, he would rather face one of the top light heavyweight contenders in the world, Babalu Sobral. While everyone is going to be calling Liddell stupid if he loses the fight and blows his title shot opportunity, he has to be commended for the large amount of guts that it takes to want to fight Babalu (as opposed to doing nothing for a few months and getting his title shot just the same).

Rounding out the card: Carlos Newton, coming off a tough loss to Matt Hughes, faces up-and-coming welterweight Pete Spratt. The undefeated Mark Weir, who recently exploded onto the UFC scene by knocking out Eugene Jackson in ten seconds, faces the undefeated Phillip Miller in a middleweight showdown. Ian Freeman, who just notched an impressive victory over the previously undefeated Frank Mir, faces Andrei Arlovski in a heavyweight fight. Finally, welterweight sensation Robbie Lawler faces Tiki Ghosen.

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