Posts Tagged ‘Arizona’

If Promoted Correctly, Women’s MMA Is More Exciting Than Men’s

August 15th, 2010

If there’s one thing that can be learned in the aftermath of Strikeforce Challengers 10 it’s that Women’s MMA is on the rise.

The event which took place at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona, highlighted a unique single night tournament in the women’s welterweight (135-lbs.) division featuring four talented female fighters—six if you include the tournament reserve bout between Liz Carmouche and Colleen Schneider.

The tournament was won by Miesha “Takedown” Tate as she defeated both Maiju Kujala and Hitomi Akano to earn a guaranteed shot at the women’s welterweight championship.

Every female fight on the card clearly outshined the male bouts in terms of skill, pure excitement and crowd reaction. This is nothing new as anytime a women’s fight is displayed on an MMA card it usually produces a great reaction from the crowd.

Yet somehow female fighters still aren’t being placed on the same pedestal as men. The UFC won’t even promote a women’s division in their organization claiming that there simply isn’t enough talent to create a legitimate female division for their brand.

The truth is, there are plenty of high caliber female fighters all over the globe so to suggest that there isn’t enough to form a division is not entirely true.

 Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos and Gina Carano might be the most popular women’s fighters in the world but they are not the only girls who can perform at a high level in MMA.

Tara LaRosa and Erin Toughill have been fighting long before the aforementioned Carano and Santos, and they are still ranked highly in their respective weight division.

Other top ranked females include Megumi Fujii, Marloes Coenen, Lisa Ward, Jessica Pene, Carina Damm, Zoila Frausto, Elena Reid, Cindy Dandois, and Shayna Baszler. Now that’s just naming a few, there’s an abundance of established fighters and undiscovered female talent out there.

It boils down to a lack of promotion and not a lack of talent when it comes to Women’s MMA. The fact is, if promoted correctly female fighters would far exceed their male counterparts in terms of anticipation and excitement.

The current reigning Strikeforce women’s welterweight champion Sarah Kaufman is a technical masterpiece boasting an undefeated record with notable victories over the tournament winner Tate and Roxanne Modafferi.

Both of those fights were just as exciting, if not more so, than an average “Fight of the Night” on a UFC pay-per-view. The Modafferi fight in particular ended in highlight reel fashion with Kaufman slamming the English teacher into unconsciousness. Yet both fights took place on the Challengers series rather than a major Strikeforce event, much like the single night female tournament in Arizona.

Kaufman’s next title defense against Marloes Coenen should headline, or at least serve as a co-main event, for a significant Strikeforce event on Showtime. When it comes time for Tate to fight the winner, that bout should absolutely take place on a CBS card.

Strikeforce has done a pretty good job at promoting women’s MMA thus far, much better than most promotions, but there is still so much more that they could be doing to truly legitimize their female talent.

They also cannot rely solely on “Cyborg”, Kaufman and Tate to carry the flag either. They have to start building up other female talent as well, not just from a fighting perspective but allow these ladies to tell their story both in and out of the cage.

Not to criticize Strikeforce though, they along with the Bellator Fighting Championships have invested a lot of effort in promoting female MMA. Bellator is also in the process of a women's tournament in the 115-lbs division featuring the likes of Megumi Fujii, Lisa Ward, Aisling Daly, Jessica Pene and Zoila Frausto.

The amateur fight promotion Tuff N’ Uff is also well known for their ability to promote up and coming female fighters, even featuring an “All Women’s” event back in 2009. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan attended that event in Las Vegas and was highly impressed with the talent that some of the ladies possessed.

Can you imagine how successful a woman’s division would be if promoted under the Zuffa banner? There isn’t a promoter alive that listens to their fans more than UFC President Dana White. If enough fans asked for females in the UFC or the WEC, White would set it up in a heartbeat.

Do you want to see females fighting in the Octagon? Let White know, he’s easy to reach just send him a tweet. If you aren’t 100% sold on women’s MMA yet, your opinion will change because the ladies are set to have their biggest year yet in 2011.


Mitch Ciccarelli is the sexiest MMA columnist on the face of the earth. His articles drive women crazy and make men extremely jealous. Follow Mitch on twitter if you'd like to read some fun tweets about MMA, oompa loompas, pancakes, and flying elephants. @mitchciccarelli


NFL Scores: Saturday Night Football Primer With QB Rotations

August 15th, 2010

Here are the preseason news and notes, quarterback rotations, and key player injuries from 

Vikings vs. Rams 

The Minnesota Vikings may get great inspiration from the scheduled miracle return of LB E.J. Henderson. He is coming back from a gruesome fractured left femur injury, which was considered career threatening. 

Percy Harvin is out for the Nordic Explorers. The star WR continues to have migraine headache issues. Two Pro Bowlers, Adrian Peterson and Sidney Rice, have also missed significant camp time because of mystery injuries. Rice is definitely out. Bernard Berrian and Jaymar Johnson get the starts at WR. 

Rams star RB Steven Jackson will see very little if any time tonight and throughout the preseason. There is a three-way competition for the backup spot: Kenneth Darby, Chris Ogbonnaya, and Keith Toston. 

This marks the debut of Rams QB Sam Bradford, but he will be the No. 2 behind journeyman AJ Feeley. Feeley will play two or so series and Bradford may play into the third quarter. 

St. Louis is very thin at CB with Ron Bartell and a bunch of nobodies. They are furthermore weakened by injuries. 

Top expert pick on this game: GodsTips of has this side among two Wise Guys. 

Browns vs. Packers 

The Cleveland Browns have a revamped QB rotation with Jake Delhomme the starter, followed by Seneca Wallace and rookie Colt McCoy. The rookie from Texas should see significant playing time in the second half. Brett Ratliff may see mop-up duty. 

Cleveland’s secondary is a work in progress. Eric Wright just got hurt and is questionable. First round pick Joe Haden has gotten mixed reviews in training camp thus far. 

Titans vs. Seahawks 

Tennessee is very thin at TE. Starter William Hayes is doubtful. Top draft pick Derrick Morgan is also likely out and Jacob Ford has missed several practices with a hip flexor. T Jason Jones has been playing a few snaps at DE. 

The Titans starters will be in for 12-15 plays. Vince Young starts at QB, but Chris Simms and Rusty Smith will see a lot of time. Kerry Collins may not play at all. 

For Seattle, QB Matt Hasselbeck isn’t expected to play more than a series—certainly two at the most. He will give way to Charlie Whitehurst, who will play a lot, then followed by J.P. Losman says Mike Godsey of 

Seattle is very thin at LB because of injuries. Two recent signings, guys not even expected to make the team, will be forced into action: Alvin Bowen and Tyjuan Hagler. The big position battle for the Birds is at WR. 

Top expert pick on this game: Matt Rivers, who was the winningest handicapper ever—nobody came close—on a large network of sites. It’s his only pick of preseason NFL betting so far. He also has MLB winners up. 

Lions vs. Steelers 

Detroit is very thin on the OL, and RG Stephen Peterman is questionable. S Louis Delmas is out for the Lions. He played in 15 games making 94 tackles last season. 

Ben Roethlisberger is eligible to play in NFLX. He may see some time with the first team. Also expected to play at QB for the Steelers at QB is Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, and Dennis Dixon. Starters will play 8-12 snaps. 

For Detroit, it’s Matthew Stafford, Shaun Hill, and Drew Stanton. They will be without RB Kevin Smith, who rushed for 747 yards last year and TE Brandon Pettigrew, who had 30 catches last year. 

Texas vs. Cardinals 

Of course Arizona will have a new starting QB with the retirement of Kurt Warner. Biblical bust Matt Leinart continues to struggle and presumed backup, former Browns starter Derek Anderson may make a run at the top spot. 

Leinart will play the first quarter. Derek Anderson will then take over, but the offensive line is expected to play into the second quarter. Conversely, the defense may not play as much. 

For Houston, backup Dan Orlovsky will get the most snaps at QB, says Bob Warner of He will play about two quarters 

John David Booty will also play, as starter Matt Schaub won’t play much. “More than a series for Schaub would be a shock,” says Warner. 

Despite their regular season success, the Redbirds are 2-10 straight up under Ken Whisenhunt. 

For bettors who like position battles, the Texans have a big one at RB. Arizona will have a lot of crowd support as the game is sold out. 

Buccaneers vs. Dolphins 

Tampa starters will play about 12-15 snaps. Colt McCoy and Josh Freeman will each get 12-15 snaps at QB. 

It’s the first year as starting QB for Dolphins Chad Henne. He will be followed in the rotation by Tyler Thigpen, Chad Pennington, and Pat White. Thigpen and White may each play more than a quarter. 

Thigpen has been horrible in practice, throwing a lot of interceptions reports Brian Kayma of 

Tampa is without TE Kellen Winslow, CB Aquib Talib, CB Myron Lewis, among others. 

Bears vs. Chargers 

Chicago starters could play as much as the entire first half tonight said coach Lovie Smith. 

LB Shawne Merriman is out, having just ended his holdout. WR Vincent Jackson and LT Marcus McNeil are holdouts, making San Diego very thin at LT. Merriman’s backup Larry English is doubtful. RB Darren Sproles is out while LT Tra Thomas is also out. 

Chicago has a revamped offensive line and has struggled greatly against 3-4 defenses in the past. They’ve been practicing against a 4-3. 

Top expert pick on this game: ScoresOddsPicks is already off to a big start against the NFL odds and has their Inter-conference Best Bet of the Preseason on this contest.

The Beast From The East: NFC East Predictions

August 15th, 2010

T-3. Dallas Cowboys

Many people predict the Cowboys to go to the Superbowl, but i'm not buying it.  Don't get me wrong, the Cowboys are loaded with Romo, Austin, ect.. But in the past three years the cowboys have alternately gone to the playoffs one year then missed them the next year. I expect that trend to continue. With win's coming against Philly, NY, Green Bay, Arizona, Detroit, Chicago and Jacksonville. 

2009 overall record: 11-5 1st division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 7-9 T-3 division


T-3 Philadelphia Eagles

Some people think the Eagles are better of without McNabb and some don't. I side with those who don't. The Eagles have a lot of young talent with rising stars such as Brent Celek and Jeremy Maclin. But they do not have enough experienced players. With win's against Detroit, SF, Houston, Dallas, NY, Atlanta and Washington.

2009 overall record: 11-5 2nd division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 7-9 T-3


2. New York Giants

Many people think that the New York Giants are done, but I'm not one of them. I do think they will struggle at times, but in the end it will all come together. I expect them to grab a wildcard in the last few weeks.

2009 overall record: 8-8 3rd division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 10-6 2nd division


1. Washington Redskins

Some may call this crazy but I'm putting my money on the Redskins to be the Beast from the East. Even though it was only a preseason game, the 42-17 victory over the Bills convinced.

2009 overall record: 4-12 4th division

Predicted 2010 overall record: 11-5 1st division 


Recap: Atlanta Falcons Preseason Game 1

August 15th, 2010

The first preseason game is in the books with the Atlanta Falcons besting the Kansas City Chiefs, 20-10, at the Georgia Dome last night. Although there were plenty of positives for the Falcons in the first game of the season, some inconsistent play and uncharacteristic penalties seemed to stall the team at times.

The Falcon first team offense played fairly well when it was on the field, and the defense had some bright spots against a overmatched Chiefs team.

The no-huddle attack was out in full form. Is this the coaching staff just working out the plays or a sign of things to come in the regular season?

Michael Turner is in Week 6 form, displaying superior vision and hitting holes with purpose and power. Preseason game or not, Falcon fans have to be pleased to see him running with such fervor and finishing with power.

Click here for the season preview on Michael Turner.

Matt Ryan played commendably but didn't have much time to operate in the pocket as the Chiefs did succeed in bringing pressure from the outside.

Two Montana Grizzlies had some bright moments as Biermann continued to display a tenacity for rushing the passer and rookie Shann Schillinger took a interception back 29 yards.

The big story of the game, however, has to be the play of Jamal Anderson, often targeted by experts, fans, and critics for his play. We've all heard the rumors and reports of Anderson doing well in training camp, but Falcon fans had heard this before with little to no results during the season.

If this first preseason game is any indication, the Falcon pass rush seems to be in good hands, further validating the front office's stance this past offseason.

A breakdown of players and positions below.


The Good: The Falcon Defense

Jamal Anderson was close many times and played well along the line wherever he was, either at the end or inside. He continued to show stout ability in the run support and showed bursts off the line rushing the passer. Great showing by him and hopefully he can continue to build on his play. The Falcons pass rush needs all the help they can get.

Kroy Biermann's performance was terrific, spanking Ryan O'Callaghan and stripping Cassel for a John Abraham recovery. His added bulk did not seem to slow him down as his high motor style of play continued to play a huge role in the game.


Secondary Play

Up and down the Falcon roster, players in the secondary were playing lights out. Flying to the ball, intercepting, breaking up passes, and playing with desire filled out the night for the Falcons.

Even with Dunta not playing, our corners and safeties set the tone all night by punishing the ball carrier repeatedly. Christopher Owens continues to impress the more I watch him, Decoud looks ready to take the next step, and some promising play by Schillinger and Jackson late provided more positives.

Sidbury had a terrific play in the second period where he launched right off the ball and bulled his way past the guard the fullback and tackled Jamal Charles for a loss. Great hustle and effort by the kid.

Midway through the second period, our rookies entered the game for the offensive line. Hawley and Reynolds were both solid in providing a pocket for both Redman and Wilson, but the push on running plays dropped off significantly.

Dimitri Nance from Arizona State was a pleasant surprise, running with determination and decent vision as he scored two touchdowns.


The Bad

Sam Baker

Baker either seemed to be hurt or not focused as he had a sloppy game against the Chiefs. He struggled against Tamba Hali quite a bit and struggled when Hali went wide. The false start penalty in the first period was an indication of Baker struggling against Hali's speed rush.

The second drive of the game featured a Baker false start, followed right up by a Hali speed rush that collapsed the pocket on his side. Baker needs to step it up.

The 3-4 seemed to give the Falcons trouble last year, and both Clabo and Baker seem to struggle when forced to move laterally against quicker linebackers rushing on the edge. Last night was no different as Baker had a poor showing against Hali.



The first team offense outside of the running game seemed to shoot itself in the foot at every turn. Being the first preseason game, there are wrinkles to iron out of course.

The first drive itself shows a perfect example of the problems that need addressing and no doubt are already being reviewed by the coaching staff:

  • The first play of the game was a power run to the right side of the Falcon line as Turner toted the rock up the middle for a gain of eight

  • Turner displays excellent vision and cuts back to the left side behind Blalock for a gain of nine for a first down and then some.

  • Vrabel then just flat out embarrasses Clabo, forcing Ryan to check down to Turner for a gain of six.

  • Turner takes the ball and follows Mughelli behind Dahl for another gain of nine. Turner running with power and authority and the O-line carving out some impressive holes against the front seven for the Chiefs.

  • Snelling plunges ahead for two, missing a huge gaping hole along the right side of the line.

  • Snelling takes another handoff and hits the hole hard again on the right side, the O-line continues to muscle the Chiefs around on straight power running plays.

  • Snelling takes a stretch play to the left and manages to eek out a solid four yards on a play that looked to be strung out by the Chiefs' linebackers.

  • Roddy White whiffs on a block on Vrabel on a 3rd-and-2 from the 11-yard line, tackling Snelling on the sweep and ends the drive with a Matt Bryant 30-yard field goal.

Domination by the Falcon running attack and offensive line sprinkled with a few bad plays of miscommunication and mistakes. While the mistakes and bad plays can be attributed to the first-game jitters, the offensive line chemistry and rushing attack early was a terrific building block moving forward.

The Falcons did not fare as well when trying to bounce runs to the outside.

Clabo and Baker struggled with the speedier linebackers rushing to the outside, lateral movement was not in Baker's vocabulary last night at all.

Weatherspoon did not have a good showing, outside of some theatrics in the first quarter. He might be better served by toning down the bluster a little and focusing at the task at hand.

He would whiff on running back Moore in the flat early in the second period, and was slow to react to the pass the following play. Looks to be playing with his head too much and overthinking instead of reacting.

Spoon will work these kinks out with the coaching staff.

The Falcon defense, who continued to have starters in there long into the second period, had a very solid showing against admittedly a weaker opponent. It is the preseason, so not much can really be gleaned from a stripped-down playbook, and the coaches making substitutions on the fly.

What we can learn from the first preseason game is that while the Falcons do have a lot of work to do, there are some very nice performances that fans look to. Naysayers may just point to the fact that it is the preseason, but this was a great performance for the youngsters on this team.

It is easy for anyone to say that the talent level of this team has risen, as well as the depth. It is now up to the team to put in the work and effort to continue building and gelling as a unit

The defensive line with Peters, Jerry, and Babineaux had very solid performances and Biermann, Sidbury, and Anderson showed what they could do. All this in front of a secondary that was playing with a lot of passion. Will they be able to put it all together during the regular season?

I have good reason to believe so, and if you are a Falcon fan, you should too.

Click here for my Falcon defensive unit preview, in which the details are outlined for a top 10 defense in the making this year.

Next up? the New England Patriots

Arizona Cardinals 2010 Preseason Preview

August 15th, 2010

Tonight begins a new season of Arizona Cardinals football. 

Many of you won't be able to be there in University of Phoenix Stadium tonight but your hearts, minds, and thoughts might as well be. 

This may be one of the more watched preseason games in Arizona Cardinals history. 

With all the changes the Cards have undergone, many fans want to see how they'll react. 

But the preseason is more than just one game, as we well know. 

So what should we be looking for from the Cardinals in the preseason?

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