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Michael Schiavello May be the Best Announcer You Don’t Know

Watching Strikeforce’s coverage on Saturday, you had to switch between two different networks to enjoy the entire show. The prelims were available on HDNet while the main card was on Showtime. Though the fights and names on the main card were obviously the big draw, I have to say the broadcasting on the prelims was fantastic. Play-by-play announcer Michael Schiavello had me cracking up at every other punch, while former fighter Bas Rutten was outstanding on his commentary like usual.

Honestly, listening to play-by-play voice Michael Schiavello describe the action was like watching a comedy show. The veteran MMA and K-1 broadcaster works his assignments with genuine enthusiasm that engages the viewer, and he does so with a brand of original humor complemented by a good voice.

Seriously, where else are you going to hear fantastic lines like this?

Schiavello described a punch as “stiffer than a honeymooner’s package” and a fighter’s submission attempts as having “more triangles than a band camp.” When one fighter began to rally in the last 20 seconds of a round, Schiavello declared “He might go kleptomaniac and steal the round here.”

Then, my absolute favorite line was when one fighter was getting punched repeatedly and Schiavello said he was “taking more hits than a Dutch stoner,” which was slightly ahead of “Tagging him up more than a graffiti artist.”

Some people will complain about his commentary because no matter what, people love to criticize broadcasters (believe me, I’ve been there before, I know how it is). But Schiavello was original, quick with his quips, and his similes were fantastic. I enjoyed his broadcasting and hopefully you did and have been too throughout the years. Networks should continue to reward such on-air brilliance with more prime gigs; the Australian man deserves to show his talents to a broader audience.

Gina Carano Announces Her Return to MMA, Strikeforce

It was a huge night for Showtime and Strikeforce Saturday as their Heavyweight Grand Prix got off to a great, albeit surprising, start. The excitement was bolstered by an announcement made between fights that Gina Carano would be returning to the ring (an item revealed earlier in the evening by MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani).

In an awkward interview where Carano was acting shyly, the woman called the female face of MMA said she owed it to herself to get back to fighting after taking a year and a half off. “I think I need to settle the score with myself really, I need to get back in there for me,” Carano said.

Gina’s most recent experience in the ring was a bludgeoning by 145-pound champion Cyborg Santos (video of that fight here). She spent some of her time off filming the movie Haywire that is due out in April, and it was recently revealed that she’s begun training again in Las Vegas.

In a voiceover that played during a highlight package of Carano, she said “I just want to walk away from it knowing I left it all there — I left it all in the cage.” It’s clear that she still has something left to prove inside the octagon. Her desire is certainly the fans’ gain.

GINA CARANO PICTURES

Fedor Emelianenko Eye Pictures – Swollen Shut After Big Foot Beatdown

MMA heavyweight superstar Fedor Emelianenko surprisingly lost in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix on Saturday night. Antonio Big Foot Silva used his height, weight, and overall size advantage to push Fedor around, especially in the second round. After Silva got on top of the Russian, he went to town raining down blows on Emelianenko’s head. The end product was this damage to Fedor’s right eye that ended up swollen shut:

FEDOR EMELIANENKO EYE PICTURES

Even with the shut eye I’m still surprised the fight was stopped. Fedor’s eye had shut during the second round yet he still fought Silva off and was even trying to crank his foot for a submission at the very end of it. The ringside doctor played it safely and called a stop to the fight, leaving Fedor’s future in doubt. It also leaves us with this pressing question: which was in worse shape, Fedor’s eye, or Antonio Margarito’s eye after the Pacquiao fight?

Fedor-Silva Fight Video – Doctor Should Not Have Stopped the Fight

Saturday’s Strikeforce card on Showtime was fantastic, starting with the prelims and extending to the main event. The headliner fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Antonio Big Foot Silva provided all the excitement one could have asked for, and it delivered as big of an upset as you’ll see in March Madness. The only difference is that with the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix eight-man tournament, the upset came a month early.

Here are highlights of the fight:

Look, I’ll say this straight up: I’m a big Fedor fan and think the world of the man. He is my guy. Obviously I hated to see him go out like that and I was even more crushed when he talked retirement after the loss. But I still believe that the doctor stopped the fight too early. Was Fedor hurt? Definitely. Was he getting beaten in the fight? No doubt. But was he still capable of protecting himself and — dare I say — capable of pulling off a victory? You bet.

After suffering punishment for 4:30 of the second round, Fedor climbed out and began cranking Silva’s foot, hoping for a late-round submission. He didn’t come close, but obviously he was still in a position to compete. He had won the first round on two of the three judges’ cards meaning even if he didn’t score a knockout or submission in the third, he still had a very good chance of winning the fight based on points. As bad of a beating as he took in the second round, he still could have won that fight.

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Trainer Greg Jackson Says Rashad Evans’ Knee Injury Was a Freak Incident

Legendary MMA trainer Greg Jackson was at the Izod Center in New Jersey Saturday evening to support his fighter, Andrei Arlovski, who was fighting in Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand Prix. Jackson was interviewed by HDNet during the prelims and was asked about another one of his fighters, Rashad Evans.

Evans had to pull out of his UFC 128 fight with Shogun Rua because of a knee injury, opening the spot for teammate Jon Jones. Not much information was given about Evans’ status other than he was hurt, but Jackson shed some light on the matter.

“People were wrestling next to him while he was wrestling” Jackson explained, “and they ran into the side of his knee.” He added “[Evans] is probably out for at least a month and a half, I think it was his MCL. Just one of those things. Instead of being bitter, he’s a fighter and he’s already looking forward to his next fight and getting into rehab and doing everything he needs to do.”

If he’s out for at least a month and a half, he probably still should be able to be ready for UFC 130 in case he’s added to that card. We passed along word of the rumored rematch between Evans and Rampage Jackson, but it appears as if Matt Hamill will receive the fight instead. Bottom line, from the sounds of things, it was just awful luck that Evans got hurt. Hopefully he returns completely healthy.

Fedor Emelianenko Training Video – An Unlikely Freak

Fedor Emelianenko seeks to regain his status as an invincible figure in mixed martial arts when he fights Big Foot Silva in the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Saturday evening. In many ways, Fedor is an unlikely champion. Just taking a glance at the man, there is nothing imposing about his stature; he’s not tall, he doesn’t have any bulging muscles, and he doesn’t exchange dirty looks.

In a sport with many outlandish figures known for running their mouths, funky hairstyles, or multiple tattoos, Fedor looks very much like the common man. Heck, he even as the love handles to match. But as you can see from any of his fights or by watching this training video, he is anything but ordinary.

Take a look at this video of Fedor in training as released by Showtime prior to the Silva-Emelianenko fight:

There are a few things about Fedor that stand out from watching the video. He has excellent footwork, and superb instincts when it comes to avoiding strikes. What also stands out is how highly everyone in the video thinks of Fedor. They’re all complimentary of him and how he is as a person, and his humble personality stands out. It’s an excellent trait for such an outstanding fighter, and a healthy contrast to so many other notable fighters. It’s easy to see why Emelianenko is so popular as a fighter.

Jorge Rivera-Michael Bisping Video for UFC 127 Is Hilarious

Jorge Rivera is getting up there at 38 years old, but the man can still bring it. He’s won his last three fights inside the octagon and he’ll be fighting at UFC 127 in Sydney against Michael Bisping on the B.J. Penn-Jon Fitch card. Though his game remains strong, his smack talking may be his best asset.

Through promotional/apparel company RangerUp, Rivera recently released a video mocking his opponent. Putting out videos along these lines is nothing new for River, but his latest may have been his greatest. It’s not often I sit through five minutes of a video, but I did with this one. Pure awesomeness as they mock Michael:

Rivera is clearly looking to boost his profile and increase interest in his upcoming fight, but that didn’t stop Bisping from getting upset. “Although I was originally a bit disappointed with the match on paper, Rivera has begun talking rubbish and getting under my skin, to the point where I can’t wait to shut his mouth up,” Bisping said recently. I don’t know if Bisping is just playing along in the promotional game or genuinely upset, and I don’t care. I just know that after he retires, Rivera will have a future in comedy.

Video via MMA Bay