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UFC 121 Preview: Lesnar vs. Velasquez

Brock Lesnar is the perfect UFC heavyweight champion.  His popularity is due in large part to his incredible size and speed, his WWE background and his charming personality.  Something that goes under appreciated, and what makes Brock Lesnar so compelling among casual and die-hard MMA fans, is the quality of competition he continually faces and the vulnerability he has shown at every stage in his career.

He is the perfect villain, facing one tough “good guy” after another, looking beatable, and keeping his opponents hungry.  To say that he will be beaten is a whole different story.

At UFC 121 Lesnar will square off with another world-class challenger in Cain Velasquez.

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Carlos Condit Knocks Out Dan Hardy at UFC 120 (Video)

Man, these free fights on Spike TV are great.  There’s just something more satisfying about being able to take in the fights without burning a $50 hole in your pocket, even if it doesn’t include the likes of Brock Lesnar or Anderson Silva.  Free fights are even better when you get to witness one of the best knockouts of the year, and if you were watching UFC 120 on Saturday night that’s exactly what you got.  Carlos Condit and Dan Hardy both tried to catch the other with a big hook in the first round.  Unfortunately for Hardy, his hook missed a bit and Condit’s landed right on the button.  Check out the Carlos Condit vs. Dan Hardy knockout video:

Video Credit: YouTube user wattsryder217

Arianny Celeste Is Playboy’s Cover Girl for November After Posing Nude

Back in August, we told you that UFC Ring Girl Arianny Celeste was posing in Playboy. Miss Celeste did her shoot and interview with Playboy, and she’s on the cover of the November issue which hits newsstands Friday.

Unless your name is Rube Baker, you probably skip the interview and go straight for the pictures. With that knowledge in mind, here are the cliffs notes from the interview. Celeste says her legs are one of her strongest features “I love my legs – they’re super-strong and lean. I’m proud of these stems.” Not that you’d see those stems in any of our preview pics, but they’ll probably be on display in the magazine.

The other interesting item revealed in the feature is Arianny is pursuing a music career and recently recorded her first pop single, “Fight to Love Me,” which will be available in late October. Who knew? Alright, so here are a few pictures courtesy of Playboy with the nude ones available in the mag.

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Mike Tyson: James Toney Looked Horrible, Had No Respect

James Toney got destroyed by Randy Couture in his MMA debut at UFC 118 last month. Toney was unprepared to fight in the Octagon and was done as soon as he was taken down to the ground. This fact was evident to anyone watching, including Iron Mike Tyson himself.

Tyson, who appeared on The Ultimate Fighter, told the Canadian Press “You have to admit, Toney looked horrible. He looked slow. He didn’t look like a seasoned, conditioned athlete. You only had to look at his body structure. No way, Toney didn’t get ready to fight a real, professional athlete like Randy is. It was ridiculous. He had no respect for Randy.”

Tyson, ever the voice of sanity, said a boxer could succeed in MMA but would have to learn to wrestle and grapple first. He’s exactly right. Many MMA fighters have boxing backgrounds and all have to learn how to box. But that’s the thing — boxing is just one aspect of fighting in mixed martial arts. Without a wrestling and grappling background, you’re not going to do well in a fight.

Leave it to Tyson to say something that makes sense. Now if he says Toney should retire altogether, he’d be making even more sense.

Bacne Pictures Suggest Chael Sonnen Was Using Steroids

We learned Sunday that MMA fighter and loudmouth Chael Sonnen tested positive for PEDs following his UFC 117 bout with Anderson Silva. Although we haven’t heard Sonnen’s side of the story, the evidence against him is mounting.

On top of the positive test, MMA Junkie via Bloody Elbow dug up pictures from Sonnen’s past three fight weigh-ins. The pictures seem to show a development of skin lesions on Sonnen’s back. Bacne of course can form in many different ways, but it is a notorious side effect from steroids use.

Here are the Chael Sonnen bacne pictures for you to judge, and remember they were taken from October 2009, February 2010, and then six months later in August 2010 (in order from left-to-right). Click on the pics to enlarge and take a closer look.

Chael Sonnen Tested Positive for PEDs After UFC 117 Fight with Anderson Silva

When it comes to big mouths in sports, it doesn’t get much bigger than Chael Sonnen. I’m guessing you’re thinking T.O. and Chad would take the cake, but Sonnen has those guys whipped, it’s just that you probably don’t follow MMA to realize it.

Sonnen recently called out fighters Georges St. Pierre and Brock Lesnar despite being in a much lower weight class. He was talking all kinds of crap about Anderson Silva (widely considered to be one of the top two pound-for-pound fighters in the world) prior to their bout. And despite losing to Silva, Sonnen’s been talking up a big game as if he won the thing!

Much like Jay Mariotti’s arrest, their probably wasn’t any item of news more satisfying for members of the MMA community than the Sherdog report that Sonnen tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs following his fight with Anderson Silva at UFC 117. This seems to be retribution for disrespecting his opponents with all his talking.

Sonnen is the second fighter who looked impressive in a loss to a high-profile opponent and was later linked to PEDs. What gets me is that there is little outrage within the fighting community over such news.

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Todd Duffee Cut by UFC for Being an ‘Ass’

Fans of LBS will know the name of Todd Duffee quite well. He’s the guy who beat Tim Hague with a record seven-second knockout and the guy who got knocked the bleep out by Mike Russow despite dominating the entire fight.

Well Duffee has been let go by the UFC, as first reported by MMA Junkie via Bloody Elbow. Duffee was set to fight at UFC 121 in Anaheim but had to pull out because of a knee injury. Though it seemingly came out of nowhere, it has been confirmed that Duffee was cut.

So why was such an up-and-comer in the heavyweight division like Duffee let go? SI’s Josh Gross provides some insight on twitter: “Sounds like accumulation of things led UFC to release Todd Duffee. Overall attitude probably being at the top.” Gross also got a comment from Duffee’s manager who told him “It unfortunate, but Todd’s an ass.”

And there you have it. One of the best parts about the UFC is Dana White because he is excellent at promoting his brand and giving the fans what they want. The downside is that if you piss off White, you’re pretty much toast. Unfortunately for Duffee, it sounds like he got on the dark side. Watch out for Duffee on a Strikeforce card coming to a Showtime channel near you.

Sources:
UFC releases heavyweight prospect Todd Duffee [MMA Junkie]
Josh Gross on Twitter