Ultimate Fighting Championship

Ultimate Fighting Championship

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Having gutted the middleweight division during his title run, Anderson “The Spider” Silva is moving up to light heavyweight for a superfight with former 205-pound champion Forrest Griffin at UFC 101: Declaration in Philadelphia, Pa. on Aug. 8. To help get you properly amped for the show, FIGHT! has compiled the best bits of Silva from our archives, like this profile, this roundup of the top seven strikers in MMA history, and Kelly Crigger’s history of muay Thai. If that’s not enough, take a gander at FIGHT!’s photos of the world’s best middleweight.

FIGHT! Fans: Which Anderson Silva do you expect to see at UFC 101 – the guy who demolished James Irvin or the one who toyed with Thales Leites?

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This week’s episode of Pro MMA Radio will feature World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight champion Miguel Torres, who is scheduled to face top contender Brian Bowles at WEC 42 at the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas on Aug. 9, and a run-down of UFC 101: Declaration, set to take place in Philadelphia, Pa. on Aug. 8.

FIGHT! Magazine’s own Donovan Craig will be the guest during the “Closing Round” segment in which he will discuss all things Fedor with Pro MMA Radio host and new FIGHT! columnist Larry Pepe. Go here to read “Legacy On the Line,” Pepe’s first column about Fedor’s failed negotiations with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and weigh in with your opinion – does Fedor’s legacy hinge on whether or not he signs with the UFC?

Pro MMA Radio airs every Monday night at 6 p.m. PST / 9 p.m. EST and on-demand replays are available throughout the week.

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(Penn batters Sean Sherk.)
(Penn batters Sean Sherk.)

Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight champion BJ Penn is one of the most polarizing characters in the sport. His jiu jitsu credentials are unassailable, his technical contributions to MMA undeniable. But his attitude, which ebbs and flows between hang loose Hawaii and prideful belligerence, has earned him as many critics as fans. Having failed to take Georges St-Pierre‘s welterweight title, Penn returns to defend his lightweight strap against Kenny Florian at UFC 101: Declaration in Philadelphia, Pa. on Aug. 8. Sam Sheridan penned an excellent character study of “The Prodigy” for the October 2007 issue of FIGHT! Magazine, which you can read here. The piece is almost two years old but Sheridan’s impression of the fighter is as true today as it was when it was first published. A BJ Penn photo gallery can be found here.

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("The Dentist" attempts an extraction on Din Thomas. Courtesy Zuffa, LLC)
(“The Dentist” attempts an extraction on Din Thomas. Courtesy Zuffa, LLC)

By FIGHT! contributor Matt Burosh

“As an amateur, I knocked out two different guys’ teeth, two weeks in a row,” says Josh Neer. “The announcer said I was always knocking people’s teeth out, so he started calling me ‘The Dentist’ and it just kinda stuck.”

Those amateur fights in Des Moines, Iowa were a weekly ritual for Neer, a recently graduated high school wrestler. “I didn’t train before I started fighting,” admits Neer, but he claims to have racked up 90 wins against one loss over a two-year amateur career before deciding to get serious about MMA.

But the year was 2003 and fight gyms weren’t commonplace, leaving Neer to his own wits. “I’ve been self-taught [for much of my career],” says Neer. “Whoever I could learn from, I did. I learned jiu-jitsu from a guy named Curtis Brigham, and then I trained in Des Moines, IA before going to Miletich Fighting Systems in Bettendorf [Iowa].”

Neer is three fights into his third hitch with the UFC, suffering a single loss in 2005, going 2-2 in 2006, and winning two out of three since 2008 with appearances at regional shows in between. Now “The Dentist” has an appointment with Kurt Pellegrino at UFC 101 on August 8 in Philadelphia, Pa.

To prepare, Neer has made his way back to his hometown, training at Des Moines MMA with Anthony Porcelli. “It’s basically a gym that he and I started before I went to MFS,” Neer says.

“Kurt is a well rounded fighter,” he says, “[But] I read in an interview that he basically doesn’t even like fighting, that he does it for the money [and] if he could get paid to do jiu-jitsu he would do that. To me I think that is a weakness. To me he’s saying he’s not a fighter.” Neer takes this almost as a personal affront. “I love the feeling when my fist first meets the face of my opponent and it’s go time,” he says, “I love the one-on-one competition—that you basically have to make the other guy quit. That’s what I try to do in all of my fights.”

FIGHT! Fans: Do you think Neer’s powerful hands give him a definitive advantage over Kurt Pellegrino?

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