|07-08-2006, 04:20 PM||#1|
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Article: TAKE FIVE: ultimate fighting championship
Today: July 08, 2006 at 7:41:47 PDT
TAKE FIVE: ultimate fighting championship
UFC ready to mix it up at Mandalay Bay tonight
By Jeff Haney <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Las Vegas Sun
Co-main events: Andrei Arlovski (11-4) vs. Tim Sylvia (23-2), for Sylvia's UFC heavyweight title; Ken Shamrock (26-10-2) vs. Tito Ortiz (14-4), light heavyweights
Other featured bouts: Joe Stevenson (29-7) vs. Yves Edwards (29-10-1), lightweights; Dan Christison (8-4) vs. Frank Mir (8-2), heavyweights; Josh Burkman (17-3) vs. Josh Neer (17-3-1), welterweights (plus four preliminary fights)
Time/site: 5:15 p.m. today, Mandalay Bay Events Center Tickets: Sold out except for a few scattered individual seats
Closed circuit: Luxor, MGM Grand ($50); Whiskey Pete's in Primm ($40)
TV: Pay per view, $39.95 suggested retail price
Betting lines: Arlovski -250/Sylvia +200; Ortiz -500/Shamrock +350; Edwards -200/Stevenson +160; Mir -260/Christison +210; Neer -150/Burkman +120
1. Taking on the world
Since Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta took over the UFC in 2001, mixed martial arts fighting has elbowed its way into the mainstream . "Obviously the sport of mixed martial arts has come a long way in the last 5 1/2 years since our first sanctioned event in Nevada," said UFC president Dana White . Mixed martial arts fights are now sanctioned in 22 states, and the UFC appears on TV in 60 countries .
2. Full house
A recent card in Anaheim, Calif., drew a record crowd of 17,000 fans, and a sellout of 12,300 is expected tonight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. The marquee attraction is the heavyweight championship fight, a rubber match between Tim Sylvia (6-foot-8, 255 pounds) and Andrei Arlovski (6-3, 240) . Their first two meetings ended quickly: Arlovski forced Sylvia to tap out in the first round last February, and Sylvia evened the score with a first-round knockout in April.
3. Live underdog?
Even though he's the current belt-holder, Sylvia is a betting underdog of more than 2-1. "I think it's because Andrei always has a lot of supporters," Sylvia, 30, said. "He had a good reign; he won six fights in a row . Hey, I'm an underdog again and I love it." In his official Q&A , Arlovski, 27, answered succinctly, if a little incongruously, when asked about his hobbies: "Nightclubs, girls, read books."
4. Coach vs. coach
Tonight's co-feature pits Tito Ortiz, 31, against Ken Shamrock, who served as rival coaches in the third go-round of the popular UFC cable reality TV show "The Ultimate Fighter ." Shamrock is a member of the UFC hall of fame and competed on the first UFC card in 1993. At age 42, he's on the downside of his splendid career . "No question I've lost a step or two," said Shamrock, of Susanville, Calif. "But ... I was dominating the sport. I can lose a step or two and still compete."
5. No love lost
In their previous meeting, Ortiz scored a TKO victory against Shamrock in 2002 at the MGM Grand. The enmity between the two men was apparent to viewers of the reality show. Ortiz insisted the feud isn't just promotional hype. "There is nothing fake about it, man," he said. "I guarantee it's real. This is hatred. It goes back a long time."
TINA FEY: Maybe what bothers me the most is that people say that Hillary is a bitch. Let me say something about that: Yeah, she is. So am I and so is this one. [Points to Amy Poehler]
AMY POEHLER: Yeah, deal with it.
Bitch is the new black!!!