I was asked this weekend if I was brave enough to lead the Monday blog with UFC 59. After all, there was sports this weekend of the normal variety, with baseball and basketball and hockey. But, there was Forrest Griffin vs. Tito Ortiz. So, to that guy (Hank) who didn’t think I was brave enough, here you go.
Ortiz beats Griffin in a decision
I hoped and hoped that Forrest Griffin would have the ability to slay one of the big giants in the game, former champ Tito Ortiz. After all, Forrest had been on our show, and therefore is our favorite UFC Fighter. But, he is also the winner of a reality tv show, and therefore people question the credentials of him compared to a fighter who worked his way up the ranks the traditional way.
Anyway, Round 1 was a domination of the highest order and Ortiz just got Griffin on his back and administered the ground and pound. Heavy elbows rained down on Forrest who tried many solutions to the problem, with none of them working. He remained active, but the damage was being done. At the end of the first round, it looked like a miracle was going to be necessary for Griffin to survive the onslaught. And, it also seemed obvious that he was outclassed, and winners of a tv show are no match for the big boys.
But, as the fight moved to Round 2, Griffin figured out the important strategy of staying on his feet. On his feet, the two fighters were equals and Forrest frustrated Ortiz by using a sprawl well to avoid takedowns. Griffin clearly won round 2 in my mind, by landing far more punches and looking far more active as Ortiz appeared to tire.
Then, it came down to the third and final round. This is where the fight turned back to the veteran, Ortiz, as he did get one key takedown with less than 2 minutes to go. But, this time, Forrest Griffin, who had demonstrated his heart by this point, actually issued quite a bit of punishment from his back. He then got back to his feet in the final seconds, but was unable to mount a flurry that could get more support from the judges. It went to the cards, and two of the three judges did not give Griffin a single round. Ortiz won on a split decision, but Griffin earned all the credit in the world from the public who saw he had a heart like Rocky. Our boy is a little green, but he is indeed a bad man.
Sylvia shocks the pitbull
I thought there was about a 0% chance Tim Silvia could beat that maniac Andrei Arlovski for the heavyweight belt. If you have seen Arlovski destroy most of his opponents, you would most likely feel the same way. But, there was the question of his one loss a few years ago when he got tagged on the chin and dropped like a ton of bricks. And in the first round on Saturday, with Arlovski looking to be dominant again, he was caught once in the chin, and fell on his face looking completely out cold. And he evidently was. Sylvia pounced, and the fight was stopped immediately. In fact, I thought the ref got a bit carried away, but most agreed that the right call was made, and we have a new heavyweight champion. He is the old one, too. Tim Sylvia. Look for a rematch pretty soon.
The lesser fights were so/so, but that Ortiz/Griffin fight was awesome.
There, it took a lot of courage to do what I just did, unless you consider that this is Bob’s blog, and I am Bob.
Sherdog’s review of the PPV …
Rangers win 2 of 3 in Oakland, and pitching is looking pretty good …
The starting pitching? Try not to dwell on Vicente Padilla's three straight gopher balls last Saturday, and you'll notice that Rangers pitchers have logged five solid starts in a row.
Take away the three Padilla pitches, in fact, and Rangers starters have a 2.08 earned run average over those five games, with only four walks and 21 strikeouts.
Kameron Loe performed like the No. 3 starter that the Rangers -- for now -- need him to be. And Millwood was the better pitcher Friday night in his battle against Barry Zito.
Mavericks win, await opponent for playoffs …
Getting healthy, honing a playoff rotation and working on the "system" are the goals this week. Johnson did accomplish one key with his lineup against the Jazz.
For the first time since March 3, Johnson started Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Josh Howard, DeSagana Diop and Griffin. Not only is that lineup the most used this season, it's also 19-2.
No other starting combination has more than eight wins.
"It's been awhile," Terry said. "With us it doesn't matter. Whoever is out there is able to get the job done. It's our system."
The Jazz (40-40) had its five-game winning streak snapped and was eliminated from playoff contention. The eight teams in the West are set, with the final seedings being the only mystery.
Memphis (47-33) or the Clippers (46-34) are the candidates to face the Mavs as the fifth seed. The Grizzlies have the upper hand, but the two teams meet Tuesday in Memphis.
"I'm assuming if both teams stay the course," Johnson said, "whoever wins that game, we'll play."
Meanwhile, The Stars play out their string …awaiting their opponent, too…
The Stars should know their playoff opponent by the stroke of midnight tonight.
Dallas, which will play at Detroit, is locked into the second seed in the Western Conference and is waiting for the seventh seed to be determined. The only two teams that could land in the seventh spot – Colorado or Anaheim – each play tonight, with Colorado at Edmonton (8 p.m.) and Anaheim hosting Calgary (9:30 p.m.).
If Colorado (43-29-9, 95 points) loses to Edmonton in regulation, the Stars will play the Avalanche in the first round, starting Friday at American Airlines Center. But if the Avalanche gains two points for a win or one point for a loss in overtime or a shootout, then Anaheim (42-27-12, 96 points) could fall to the seventh seed by finishing with the same amount of points as Colorado.
The first tiebreaker in the seeding process is number of wins, and Colorado holds that advantage. In any scenario where the teams finish with the same amount of points, the Avalanche wins the tiebreaker.
If Anaheim wins, it clinches the No. 6 seed and would play No. 3 Calgary. If the Ducks lose or gain only one point, then they'll need help to remain ahead of Colorado.
Either choice is an interesting one for the Stars. The Avalanche knocked Dallas out in the first round in 2004. The Mighty Ducks eliminated the Stars in the second round in 2003.
So, it appears that the 1/8 series is Detroit and Edmonton, and the 4/5 series is Nashville vs. San Jose. All that is left is placing the Avalanche or Ducks in Dallas or Anaheim. Good pairings it appears.
Wild need to figure out how to resign Gaborik …
In Minneapolis, Dirk has a supporter for MVP …
That leaves Nowitzki as the choice here. Dallas' roster, when healthy, is fine but not eye-popping, and the Mavericks have not been healthy for much of this season. Nowitzki is on pace for career highs in scoring and all three shooting categories, has found ways to deflate defenders big and small and truly has become a leader in his locker room.
What ever happened to Alonzo Spellman? Arena Football …
I am always asked to explain European Soccer to various people that are interested, but confused. Well, here is something you should print and save. It is a nice summary of how it all works: World Football 101 …
Hansen leaves the Ticket …Now get off my radio station!
I have been asked my thoughts on this quite a bit, so here it is. I like Dale. I consider Dale a friend, and if he thinks moving somewhere else makes sense for him, than good luck. Of course, now we are mandated to beat him, so consider it like Finley heading to San Antonio. Well, that doesn't work, as the Spurs are the Champions. How about Pierre Turgeon to the Avalanche? Hmmm. Kenny Rogers to the Tigers? Forget it.
Anyway, I would describe my feelings as the following (and look for this on the radio today): It is like when your mother leaves your house after an extended stay. You love her and all, and you likely had some great times, too. But, boy, is it ever nice to have that extra space back! Noon to 3!!! Dirty, Noon to 3!!
Hansen is leaving The Ticket, his radio home since 1999, because he says he felt unwanted at the Cowboys' new flagship station. Hansen is a frequent critic of Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. He preceded Laufenberg as Cowboys radio analyst and was fired, with Jones' blessing, with two games remaining in the 1996 season.
"It was obvious to me they [The Ticket] were pushing me off the postgame show," Hansen said Sunday.
Hansen had been a regular on The Ticket's Cowboys postgame show, which aired after game broadcasts on KLUV-FM (98.7). Hansen also hosted a year-round show Mondays from noon to 1 p.m. on The Ticket and a one-hour show on Fridays during the football season.
Hansen had been negotiating a new contract with The Ticket, but it got bogged down by the recent sale of the station. Hansen met with ESPN Radio management last week and accepted an offer.
See you at NOOOOOOOOOOOOON!