UFC 123: What's Next?


UFC 123: What's Next?

Monday, November 22, 2010, 2:12 pm

By Greg Schultheis

UFC 123 in Detroit was an exciting card from top to bottom. Rampage actually stuck to a game plan. BJ Penn walked to the cage crazy eyed and mumbling to himself you could just sense something big was going to happen. George Sortiropolous is on his way to the top of the Lightweight Division and both Phil Davis and Edson Barboza are on track to becoming stars in the sport. CSN breaks down what we can expect for some of the winners and losers from UFC 123.

Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Lyoto "The Dragon" Machida

What Happened: Quinton Jackson paid homage to his days in Japan by walking out to the Pride theme song. It showed that he was taking this fight and his career very seriously, which had been in question by many fight fans. During the bout, Jackson controlled the center of the octagon, pushing the pace which forced Machida on the run for most of the match. Being aggressive was the factor that won over the judges for a split decision win (28-29, 29-28, 29-28). Unfortunately, for The Dragon he waited until the 3rd round to attack and it may have been what cost him the victory.

Whats Next For Rampage: This was an impressive win over a very tough opponent. After the fight Rampage said he wanted to give Machida a re-match but later in the post-presser when asked about a rematch Dana White confirmed: "No. There won't be a rematch. As far as I am concerned and as far as the judges are concerned, Rampage won that fight."

Most likely Rampage will be getting a shot at the UFC gold. MMA fans have been clamoring to see Rampage vs. Shogun 2 or if Rashad Evans defeats Shogun in their title fight, Rampage may get his chance to shut Evans mouth for good. Dana White knows Jackson fighting for a title against either of these guys is a PPV smash hit.

Whats Next For Machida: Machida has dropped two straight losses so his stock has also slightly fallen. On a high note, he looked very good in this loss against Rampage, using good footwork. He minimized damage and dominated the 3rd round, even rocking Jackson. Look for Machida to take on either the loser of Bader vs. Jones or possibly the loser of Evans vs. Shogun.

BJ Penn vs. Matt Hughes

What Happened: KO of the Night, thats what happened! It didnt take long for BJ Penn to finish Hughes in the 1st Round. Penn dropped Hughes to the canvas with a solid right, and then knocked him out in just 21 seconds with a nasty flurry of shots to the dome.

Whats Next For Penn: Dana White confirmed he will be facing top contender Jon Fitch at UFC 127. It seems the Welterweight Division is a good home for the Prodigy.
Whats Next For Hughes: Up until getting stopped by Penn, Hughes had been on a roll with three straight wins against high-level opponents. Look to see him in the octagon sooner than later and racking up wins again. Some exciting match-ups could be against Martin Kampman or Diego Sanchez.

George Sotiropoulos vs. Joe Lauzon

What Happened: Sotiropoulos vs. Lauzon took Fight of the Night honors with Sotiropoulos submitting Lauzon via Kimura at 2:43 of Round 2.

Whats Next For Sotiropoulos: In this fight Sotiropoulos showed he has the tools that he is a true contender in the Lightweight Division. He kept his composure and had the ability to put a stamp on his opponent when the opportunity arose. He is now 7- 0 in the UFC and that cannot go unnoticed, he is on the brink of a title shot. His next opponent will be Dennis Siver at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia.

Whats Next For Lauzon: After being finished, Lauzon really drops in the mix of the lightweight division. Maybe a fight with Tyson Griffin would work with the loser most likely getting cut from the UFC.

Phil Davis and Edson Barboza showed signs of brilliance in there fights, both finishing emphatically. Keep these guys on your radar!

Breaking down where Cubs can turn NLCS around and beat L.A.


Breaking down where Cubs can turn NLCS around and beat L.A.

“Sometimes, you got to lay your marbles out there,” Jon Lester said Sunday night inside Dodger Stadium’s visiting clubhouse, before the Cubs flew home from Los Angeles down 0-2 in the National League Championship Series. “And you get beat.”

It will be extremely difficult for the Cubs to win four of the next five games against the Dodgers, starting Tuesday night at Wrigley Field. But the Cubs had the, uh, marbles to win last year’s World Series and have developed the muscle memory from winning six playoff rounds and playing in 33 postseason games since October 2015.

There is a cross section left of the 2015 team that beat the Pittsburgh Pirates and silenced PNC Park’s blackout crowd in a sudden-death wild-card game. While 2016 is seen in hindsight as a year of destiny, those Cubs still had to kill the myths about the even-year San Francisco Giants, survive a 21-inning scoreless streak against the Dodgers and win Games 5, 6, 7 against the Cleveland Indians under enormous stress.

There is at least a baseline of experience to draw from and the sense that the Cubs won’t panic and beat themselves, the way the Washington Nationals broke down in the NL Division Series.

· Remember the Cubs pointed to how their rotation set up as soon as Cleveland took a 3-1 lead in last year’s World Series: Lester, Jake Arrieta and Kyle Hendricks would each give them a chance to win that night. The Dodgers will now have to deal with last year’s major-league ERA leader (Hendricks) in Game 3 and a Cy Young Award winner (Arrieta) on Wednesday night in Game 4.

“Obviously, we know we need to get wins at this point,” Hendricks said. “But approaching it as a must-win is a little extreme. We've just got to go out there and play our brand of baseball.

“Since we accomplished that, we know we just have to take it game by game. Even being down 3-1 (in the World Series), we worry about the next game. In that situation, we didn’t think we had to win three in a row or anything like that. We just came to the ballpark the next day and worried about what we had to do that day.”

· The history lessons only go so far when the Dodgers can line up Yu Darvish as their Game 3 starter instead of, say, Josh Tomlin. There is also a huge difference between facing a worn-down Cleveland staff in late October/early November and a rested Dodger team that clinched a division title on Sept. 22 and swept the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round. Joe Blanton and Pedro Baez aren’t walking through that bullpen door, either.

“We’ve done it before. We’ve been there before,” shortstop Addison Russell said. “But this year’s a new year. That’s a different ballclub. We’re definitely going to have to bring it.”

· Outside of Kenley Jansen, can you name anyone else in the Los Angeles bullpen off the top of your head? No doubt, the Dodger relievers have been awesome in Games 1 and 2 combined: Eight scoreless innings, zero hits, zero walks and Anthony Rizzo the only one out of 25 batters to reach base when Jansen hit him with a 93.7-mph pitch.

But the Dodgers are going to make mistakes, and the Cubs will have to capitalize. Unless this is the same kind of synthesis from the 2015 NLCS, when the New York Mets used exhaustive scouting reports, power pitching and pinpoint execution to sweep a Cubs team that had already hit the wall.

“Their bullpen is a lot stronger than it was last year,” Kris Bryant said. “They’re really good at throwing high fastballs in the zone. A lot of other teams try to, and they might hit it one out of every four. But this team, it seems like they really can hammer the top of the zone. And they have guys that throw in the upper 90s, so when you mix those two, it’s tough to catch up.”

· Bryant is not having a good October (5-for-28 with 13 strikeouts) and both Lester and Jose Quintana have more hits (one each) than Javier Baez (0-for-19 with eight strikeouts) during the playoffs. But we are still talking about the reigning NL MVP and last year’s NLCS co-MVP.

Ben Zobrist is clearly diminished and no longer the switch-hitting force who became last year’s World Series MVP. Kyle Schwarber doesn’t have the same intimidation factor or playoff aura right now. But one well-timed bunt from Zobrist or a “Schwarbomb” onto the video board could change the entire direction of this series and put the pressure on a Dodger team that knows this year is World Series or bust.

“We need to hit a couple balls hard consecutively,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Once we’re able to do that, we’ll gain our offensive mojo back. That's all that’s going on.

“I inherited something from my dad, and that was patience. So you’ve got to be patient right now. You’ve got to keep putting the boys back out there. You keep believing in them, and eventually it comes back to you.”

· Maddon is a 63-year-old man who opened Monday’s stadium club press conference at Wrigley Field by talking about dry-humping, clearly annoyed by all the second-guessers on Twitter and know-it-all sports writers who couldn’t believe All-Star closer Wade Davis got stranded in the bullpen, watching the ninth inning of Sunday’s 1-1 game turn into a 4-1 walk-off loss.

By the time a potential save situation develops on Tuesday night, roughly 120 hours will have passed since Davis threw his 44th and final pitch at Nationals Park, striking out Bryce Harper to end an instant classic. Just guessing that Maddon will be in the mood to unleash Davis.

SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?


SportsTalk Live Podcast: Should the Bears let Mitch Trubisky throw more?

Adam Jahns (Chicago Sun-Times), Ben Finfer (ESPN 1000) and Jordan Cornette (The U/ESPN 1000) join Kap on the panel. Justin Turner hits a walk-off 3-run HR off of John Lackey to give the Dodgers a 2-0 lead in the NLCS. So why was Lackey even in the game? How much blame should Joe Maddon get for the loss?

The Bears run the ball over and over and over again to beat the Ravens in overtime, but should they have let Mitch Trubisky throw the ball more?