After several delays, UFC President Dana White this week finally revealed his "major" announcement that Lorenzo Fertitta was shifting his focus as casino mogul to a full-time hands-on position as UFC owner.
If that wasn’t big enough, the promotion drops another bomb that had the entire mixed marital arts world buzzing: Anderson "Spider" Silva will take on James Irvin in a light heavyweight showdown during the main event at UFC Fight Night 14 on July 19.
We can view this move in two ways:
- White and Co. get to stick it to Affliction MMA by running a FREE show the same night as the promotion's much-ballhooed pay-per-view (PPV) debut.
- It gives casual fans -- perhaps those who don't order PPVs -- a rare opportunity to see arguably the most dominant fighter in the world today strut his stuff before a massive nationwide audience.
Regardless of how you feel, it is possibly the beginning of Silva putting another stamp on what is likely a legendary career. If he can do what Dan Henderson did overseas in Pride FC, for example, holding two belts in two separate divisions simultaneously, well, he will indeed be the man.
It’s going to be interesting to see if he will be as quick at light heavyweight as he was at middleweight. Silva has stated that he walks around at about 215 pounds when he’s not training. Therefore, weight should not be much of an issue.
And if it makes him even more powerful and dangerous ... watch out.
The possible fights he could have at light heavyweight right now are monstrous. Wanderlei Silva, Chuck Liddell and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson are all dream match ups, which would more than likely generate unreal interest and profits.
Let's remember: This move up in weight is only temporary. In fact, if all goes well he could still defend his 185-pound title and headline UFC 88: "Breakthrough" against Yushin Okami in September.
In this sport, of course, not everything goes according to plan. Irvin could very well shock the world and upend the Brazilian -- he can't be overlooked.
Irvin may have had some ups and down in the past year, but he’s a dangerous fighter nonetheless. He’s not a top 10 205-pound fighter by any means, but when it comes to striking he can hold his own.
The most exciting aspect in this fight is the fact that someone’s getting knocked out. Irvin has no ground game that I’m aware of, so of course he'll be looking for the knockout. And Silva can destroy Irvin on the ground as well as striking.
On paper, it’s a fight that Silva should win nine times out of 10. But again ... never say never in MMA.
As for middleweight competition, if Silva fights and gets passed Okami he will essentially cleared the middleweight division. Guys like Patrick Cote and Michael Bisping are still nowhere near the level of Silva right now.
It’s all about going down as the greatest fighter ever for Anderson, and if takes him to move up to 205 then so be it.
Put simply, Anderson Silva is well on his way as establishing himself as the greatest fighter to ever step foot inside the Octagon. And the only way to do that is to continue fighting the best opponents available, whether it's at middleweight, light heavyweight or who knows, heavyweight.
Nothing he does at this point would be too shocking.
Enjoy the run while you can folks … it maybe years before we ever this reign of dominance again. Silva is a legend in the making.
MMA news and notes
UFC 2009 video game first trailer to debut tonight: One of the most anticipated video game trailers this year -- UFC 2009 -- will finally be revealed tonight at 1 a.m. ET on Spike TV. If the teaser trailer that debuted at E3 earlier this year is any indication, this could be best MMA-themed game ever. In addition, having an MMA game is important tool to help the growth of the sport -- fighters will soon become household names.
DREAM 5 Lightweight Grand Prix Finals set for July 21: This tournament is single-handedly bringing the Japanese MMA scene back up to the forefront. Although it still has a long way to go in terms of being back in the mainstream of the country, it’s still a great start. The final four match ups were announced this week and all of them have the potential to be instant classics. Tournament favorite Tatsuya Kawajiri is going against the dark horse, Eddie Alvarez, and the sickest submission fighter in the world, Shinya Aoki, is looking to add an MMA legend in Japan, Caol Uno, to his hit list. Picking a clear cut winner is tough. Many fans are going with Kawajiri to win the whole thing but I think that Eddie Alvarez (my tournament pick) can win this fight as well. It's going to be a special night come July 21.
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale quick picks:
- Kendall Grove
- Diego Sanchez
- CB Dollaway
- Spencer Fisher
- Matthew Riddle
Let's end this week's edition of Throwdown by saying that it’s officially time for Kazushi Sakuraba to retire from the sport. There is no longer any benefit to keep fighting if you continue to end up in another fighter’s highlight reel.
Just ask Matt Hughes right now.
One must give credit where credit is due: Melvin Manhoef is the real deal and I still don’t understand the reason UFC or Elite XC executives have not signed this animal to a contract already. I understand he’s signed with K-1, but that hasn’t stopped any fighters before and I can see him causing some serious damage in the middleweight division in either promotion.
Next week in the Throwdown we'll begin to highlight the three main fights that will headline UFC 86: "Jackson vs. Griffin" on July 5. We'll begin with a potential fight of the night battle between Marcus Aurelio and Tyson Griffin. It’s a fight that could have some serious implications in what is already a stacked UFC lightweight division.
Until next week folks, I’ll see you right back here in the Throwdown!