Posts Tagged ‘night’

John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger: Where Does This Fight Stand on August 1st?

July 15th, 2010

After what will be a brief, month-long hiatus from the airwaves, the UFC will return to prime-time action with its second venture onto the Versus Network, which is set to take place on August 1st in San Diego, California.

The headlining fight of the "UFC on Versus 2" event is the return of the young, unorthodox phenom fighter, Jon "Bones" Jones, as he takes on the crafty veteran and always dangerous ground striker, Vladimir Matyushenko.

The night also features other key divisional matchups, as Mark Munoz looks to continue his impressive middleweight performances against a UFC dark horse in Yushin Okami.

Also on the card, in the opening bout, is an important lightweight battle between Tyson Griffin and Takanori Gomi, with both fighters in desperate need of a victory to keep pace in an ever-evolving division.

Sandwiched in between these key fights is an overlooked bout between two welterweight workhorses.

Two fighters that always bring that "do-or-die" mentality into the cage with them.

Two warriors that won't fold after struggling to execute their desired gameplan.

Both John Howard (14-4) and Jake Ellenberger (22-5) not only look to bring in their all to get the win, but to also do it impressively to elevate their notoriety enough to get them a chance to test their skills against the elite of the division.

While Ellenberger is only 1-1 inside the UFC promotion, he should not be overlooked in any way. His only UFC loss came by way of a somewhat controversial split-decision against the last reigning WEC welterweight champion, Carlos Condit.

Before that, Ellenberger was riding a four-fight win streak, during which he smothered his opponents with constant pressure and heavy hands.

With a strong foundation in wrestling, Ellenberger has been able to work on the other aspects of his game, which has garnered tremendous improvements in his stand-up attack.

Don't get it twisted, though. Ellenberger is far from being a technically sound striker, but the raw power that he brings with his ability to take a punch could possibly outshine his nasty ground attack in this fight.

The key word in that last paragraph is "possibly."

After all, Ellenberger is stepping into the octagon against someone who is on quite a hot streak. Howard is undefeated in his last seven bouts, with four of those coming inside the UFC's walls.

While he's been on a tear with his apocalyptic right hand, Howard is well-versed in all of MMA, including the grappling aspect of it. This is a good thing, considering he's about to square off against a high-pace wrestler.

But just because Howard has some Jiu Jitsu tricks up his sleeve doesn't mean he should be content with battling Ellenberger on the ground.

Over the last two years, Howard's striking has improved dramatically, and he is far more technical in his strikes than Ellenberger and the hay-maker style he brings.

The gameplan for each fighter is the same with a few variations involved, but they both end along the lines of punishment from ground strikes.

Ellenberger is going to want to get the fight to the ground as soon as possible.

He shouldn't get sloppy in setting up his takedowns, but at the same time, Ellenberger should keep himself out of a striking war with Howard. His striking style likely won't work against the cleaner punches that Howard will bring.

If Ellenberger gets the takedown, he needs to do what got him to the big show, and that is to smother Howard with continuous pressure and non-stop shots to unguarded areas.

On his back, Howard has shown that he struggles against a never-ending attack, especially into the later rounds when his energy levels start to drop.

Howard, on the other hand, will want to employ a sprawl-and-counter type of strategy to keep the fight standing.

While it's not a lock, Howard has the advantage on the feet with cleaner, more accurate strikes. If he can time the takedowns of Ellenberger and counter on the exit, Howard could really sap a lot of energy away from his opponent.

If Howard is able to avoid the takedowns, he should be able to pick apart the willing, yet fading, Ellenberger throughout the fight, or until he clips him with his powerful right hand that would be followed up with a barrage of ground strikes.

Both fighters bring the pain.

Both give it their all, every time.

Both are equally skilled in different aspects of the game.

On a night of one-sided matchups, on paper that is, John Howard vs. Jake Ellenberger appears to be a lock for the Fight of the Night bonus.


An Open Letter to MLB: Stop the Spit

July 14th, 2010

Spitting in baseball is a Major League problem.

While watching last night’s All-Star game game on FOX, the disgusting discharges emanating from eminent National and American League players seriously sullied my spectating enjoyment.

I know all of America agrees with me that baseball players spit way too much.

The only thing more annoying than Tim McCarver’s minutiae or Joe Buck’s babbling about boring baseball statistics is seeing the sunflower seeds and spittle splattering the baseball diamonds of an All-Star game.

Major League Baseball needs to establish a No Spitting Policy immediately. Look at other sports. You don’t see LeBron launching a loogie into the lane before attempting a free throw or Michael Phelps flinging phlegm into the pool before diving off the starting block in a big race.

Before losing its faithful, baseball fanbase to saliva-free sports, the Commissioner needs to halt the hurling of hawkers by expunging expectorating from baseball.

Straight Talk. No static.

MIKE – The American Made Voice on Sports

MVP McCann helps NL end All-Star drought (AP)

July 14th, 2010
Brian McCann, Scott Rolen or Heath Bell might really appreciate what happened on this July night come October. Charlie Manuel, too. An All-Star win the National League thought was long overdue. And with it, home-field advantage in the World Series. McCann earned MVP honors with a three-run double in the seventh inning, right fielder Marlon Byrd alertly threw out David Ortiz to slow a ninth-inning...

The Steak Ends: National League Tops American League In 2010 Mid-Summer Classic

July 14th, 2010

The 2010 All-Star Game began as an early pitcher's duel at Angels Stadium on Tuesday night. No runs were scored, and seven pitchers performed without allowing a run, in the game's first four-and-a-half innings.

No one crossed home plate until the bottom of the fifth, when the American League struck first. They scored an unearned run off of pitcher Hong-Chih Kuo's throwing error. The AL got on the board without getting a hit in the inning.

Until the seventh, the AL All-Stars were shutting out their opponents, and it looked as if they would once again come away with a victory. But Brian McCann changed the NL's disastrous recent past in All-Star games with one swing of the bat.

McCann came into the batter's box with the bases loaded and ripped a bases-clearing double to right. Three runs scored on the play, also the final three of the game, which would be enough for the NL pitching, who did not allow an earned run all night, to close the game.

McCann was named the game's MVP. Matt Capps, who struck out the only batter he faced to end the sixth inning, was the winning pitcher. Though he did not allow the game-winning double, which was allowed by Matt Thornton, Phil Hughes was tagged with the loss.

He allowed the first two runners that would score to reach base, while only recording one out.

The National League had not won an All-Star game since 1996, and the only instance in which they had not lost since then came in 2002, when the game ended in a tie.

Since 2003, the winner of the All-Star game has been awarded home-field advantage in the World Series. October 2010 will mark the first time since then that a National League team will host the Series.

12-Year-Old Outfielder Cut After Horrid Play In 2010 Home Run Derby (Satire)

July 14th, 2010

There have been many poor performances in sports history, but never has a player had a night this horrific. And it just so happened that 12-year old Keri Sterling’s nightmare of a game happened in front of a packed house at Angel Stadium in Anaheim, California and a nationwide audience on ESPN.  

Due to her father’s contacts in the business world and his willingness to shell out a few hundred bucks, Sterling got the nod from Home Run Derby Manager Gus McFarland to start in Short Left Center Field.

It was a decision that McFarland would soon regret.

The Diamondbacks’ Chris Young started off the night against the Home Run Derby fielders, and it wasn’t long before he hit a lazy fly ball Sterling’s way.  Clearly nervous in her first Derby start, the young outfielder misjudged the fly ball by at least twelve feet, falling backward and bumping into another fielder in the process.

That missed fly ball began what was a comedy of errors as the over matched Sterling attempted to chase down fly balls from sluggers Corey Hart, Hanley Ramirez, Chris Young, Matt Holiday, David Ortiz, Vernon Wells, Nick Swisher, and Miguel Cabrera.

Her poor fielding display included running long distances with her left arm straight out and her right arm covering her face, turning her glove over the wrong way multiple times, and jumping to catch balls that were twenty feet of more over her head.

Even when Sterling was able to retrieve the ball, she was unable to throw it more than three feet towards the infield. By the time eventual Home Run Champion Big Papi made it to the plate for the last time, Keri Sterling had committed a record 37 fielding errors, and it would have been 39 had two of those errors not been incorrectly pinned on 8-year old Jake Lowery, the Derby’s fourth Mid Left Center Fielder. 

“After a performance like that, we really have no choice but to make a move,” said Coach McFarland, “We just can’t afford to have a kid like her out there with such a glaring lack of any athletic ability whatsoever. We only have enough room for about 85 outfielders on this roster. I’m afraid that all the coaching and practice in the world wouldn’t help, clearly this young lady was just a loser in the genetic lottery.  I’ve met with her and told her that sports are just not in her future, and that maybe she should take up piano or painting or Harry Potter books or whatever it is that those un-athletic, nerdy kids participate in.”

“I don’t know what to say,” said Sterling’s distraught father, an account executive for a local State Farm office “I’m very displeased with this performance.  We practiced for weeks in the backyard, and eventually I was able to toss up the ball and hit a few fly balls that almost made it out to where she was standing.”

TSC attempted to speak to Sterling herself following her record setting night, but she left the stadium crying like a little girl.

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