Once upon a time, 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsus Eddie Bravo didnt like what happened to him when he smoked pot. Those days are over. Big time. Eddie Bravo loves to burn, and he doesnt care who knows it. In part 6 of this FIGHT! Life series, Bravo waxes lyrical on the benefits, pleasures, and spiritual power of ganja.

Produced and directed by Matthew Ross. Shot by Rick Lee, Marc Rizzo, and Randy Ward. Edited by Ashley Cahill and Ryan Jackson-Healy.


Number-one middleweight contender Vitor Belfort tells FIGHT!’s Paul Thatcher that he will focus on dance lessons going into his highly anticipated title bout with Anderson Silva. Shot and edited by Rick Lee.


Strikeforce Lightweight Interim Champion Gilbert Melendez invited FIGHT! Magazine’s Danny Acosta into his training camp for five days. Acosta documented a week of the San Franciscan’s quest to unify the Strikeforce Lightweight belts versus title-holder Josh Thomson on Dec. 19 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. live on Showtime.

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.— Gilbert Melendez battles one Shields all the time. Today he has to fight two.

A closed-door sparring session sees Clement Shields, Jake Shields’ brother and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Claudio Franca, stop into camp.

After Jake wears Melendez down, takes him to the mat, mounts and back mounts him, Melendez goes on the offensive against Clement, attempting to break down the grapplers strong base against the wall-mounted mats and secure the takedown.

“I feel like my wrestling is actually better than [Josh Thomson],” says Melendez of his upcoming bout against the Strikeforce Lightweight Champion. “I just gotta show it.”

If he stands any chance of putting the champion on his back, taking down the Shields brothers, who each hold a distinct 20-pounds-plus weight advantage, is a good start. He’s broken collar ties, stopped switches and guillotine chokes, even looking for guillotines and rear-naked chokes of his own, but the former San Francisco State wrestler has yet to take Clement down.

“He’s an animal,” says Melendez of Clement, who also has a high school wrestling background. Cesar Gracie refers to fighters that way, so it’s a high compliment from the Interim Strikeforce Lightweight Champion.

“El Nino” starts to find success against Clement, digging deep for takedowns while Jake alternately coaches his brother and Melendez. Shields’ guidance brought Melendez into the sport after the two met at San Francisco State. Shields was already fighting in Gladiator Challenge events and he invited Melendez to train with him at Cesar Gracie’s.


“I was just a kid interested in something new and I wanted to try it out,” says Melendez. The Californian toyed with jiu-jitsu for eight months, sparred for three months and spent two weeks prepping for his first fight with Jake Shields.

“I remember telling myself, ‘Gil, whatever you do, do not throw a haymaker. Whatever you do, do not throw a haymaker.’ Ding ding ding! Haymaker. Waaah,” says the Shooto and Pride veteran. “The guy shoots a single leg on me and takes me down and I was able to overcome and tap him out. My only submission ever.”

After losses to Mitsuhiro Ishida and Thompson, “El Nino” worked with 2008 Olympian Matt Gentry to sharpen the skill that brought him success in the first place; his wrestling. That work, and sessions with bigger, stronger wrestlers have made Melendez believe that he will take down – and take out – Josh Thomson on Dec. 19.

Gilbert Melendez Training Camp (Day One)
Gilbert Melendez Training Camp (Day Two)



At 7 p.m. EST, FIGHT! Magazine presents live streaming video of the official weigh ins for WEC 53: Henderson vs Pettis live from Arena in Glendale, Ariz. The card features the final WEC Lightweight Championship bout between current champion Benson Henderson (#? Lightweight) and challenger Anthony Pettis (#?) and the final WEC Bantamweight Championship bout between current champion Dominic Cruz (#1 Bantamweight) and challenger Scott Jorgensen (#6). The winner of Henderson vs. Pettis will immediately challenge the winner of Edgar vs. Maynard for the UFC Lightweight Championship while the winner of Cruz vs. Jorgensen will be installed as the first-ever UFC Bantamweight Champion. Immediately following the weigh in, former WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber (#3 Bantamweight) and Carlos Condit (#8 Welterweight) will participate in a fan Q&A session. The main card of WEC 53 will air live on Versus at 9 p.m. on Thurs., Dec. 16. Check back on Fri., Dec. 17 for full results and analysis of how WEC 53 affected FIGHT!’s rankings.


(Junior Dos Santos celebrates his win over Cro Cop.)

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira discussed his protege, Junior Dos Santos, with FIGHT! photographer Paul Thatcher after Dos Santos’ win at UFC 103.

(Sims on the wrong side of a Daniel Gracie choke. Props to
(Sims on the wrong side of a Daniel Gracie choke. Props to

You already recognize some of names and faces from the upcoming season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” but there’s a lot you probably still don’t know about this group of 16 heavyweight warriors. Each weekday between now and the Sept. 16 premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights,” FIGHT! will introduce two cast members leading up to the introduction of our TUF bloggers.

Wes Sims
Age: 29
Height: 6’10”
Weight: 260 lbs
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio
Trains: Lancaster, Ohio
MMA record: 22-12-1

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Sims was a star center on the basketball team at Amanda-Clearcreek High School and went on to the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Cincinnati. Upon his arrival at college, Sims decided to pursue a career in professional wrestling and dropped out after a semester to move back to Columbus in order to train. There, he linked up with Mark Coleman, who had dabbled in professional wrestling. Coleman had a better plan for Sims and convinced him to train in mixed martial arts, believing his size and length would be hard on opponents. Coleman’s instincts proved to be correct, and 10 years of training with Coleman’s Team Hammer House, Sims has compiled more than 20 wins, includin victories in his last three bouts by either knockout or submission.

Sims is no stranger to the Octagon, as he had three fights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship between 2003 and 2004, including two losses to former heavyweight champion Frank Mir, with whom he had a heated rivalry. He longs to exact revenge against Mir and “The Ultimate Fighter” is his first step in doing so.

When he’s not training, the charismatic Sims is the owner of a mixed martial arts gym in Ohio and and serves as the chief of the local Police Athletic League which runs youth programs in karate, boxing and grappling.

Learn more about the cast of “The Ultimate Fighter Heavyweights.”


(Silva stopped Sonnen just short of the finish line. Check out the full gallery here.)

Chael Sonnen walked his talk for four and a half rounds but his tendency to hang out in guard came back to haunt him when Anderson Silva slapped on a triangle to end the fight. Full results are below along with details on bonuses, attendance, and a recap of our FIGHT! picks.


Anderson Silva def. Chael Sonnen by submission (triangle) at 3:10 of Round 5.
Jon Fitch def. Thiago Alves by unanimous decision.
Clay Guida def. Rafael Dos Anjos by submission (injury) at 1:51 of Round 3.
Matt Hughes def. Ricardo Almeida by technical submission (arm triangle) at 3:15 of Round 1.
Junior Dos Santos def. Roy Nelson by unanimous decision.
Rick Story def. Dustin Hazelett by TKO (strkes) at 1:15 of Round 2.
Phil Davis def. Rodney Wallace by unanimous decision.
Johny Hendricks def. Charlie Brenneman by TKO (strikes) at 0:40 of Round 2.
Tim Boetsch def. Todd Brown by unanimous decision.
Stefan Struve def. Christian Morecraft by TKO (strikes) at 0:22 of Round 2.
Dennis Hallman def. Ben Saunders by unanimous decision.

(Struve drops Morecraft. Check out the full gallery here.)


If retaining his belt after being battered by Chael Sonnen for four and a half rounds wasn’t enough, Anderson Silva will cash a check for $120,000 after being awarded both “Submisson of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” after UFC 117. Sonnen takes home $60,000 and, in his words, the silver medal. Stefan Struve scored “Knockout of the Night” for stopping UFC newcomer Christian Morecraft.

Attendance & Gate reported that UFC 117 drew 12,971 attendees for a live gate of $1.56 million – official numbers will be released next week.

Random Bits

MC Hammer, who recently announced the formation of his MMA fighter representation agency, was in attendance at the Oracle Center.

Aging action movie star Steven Seagal was in Anderson Silva’s corner on Saturday, which is appropriate considering that Silva spent the entire evening under siege.

(Nelson vs. Dos Santos was a classic slugfest. Check out the full gallery here.)

FIGHT! Picks Recap

We are currently 75-40 with our picks in 2010.

Anderson Silva (-525) vs. Chael Sonnen (+350)
FIGHT! Pick: Silva Resulting Outcome:  CORRECT

Jon Fitch (-125) vs. Thiago Alves (-105)
FIGHT! Pick: Fitch Resulting Outcome:  CORRECT

Clay Guida (-125) vs. Rafael Dos Anjos (-105)
FIGHT! Pick: Guida Resulting Outcome:  CORRECT

LIVE DOG Matt Hughes (+135) vs Ricardo Almeida (-165)
FIGHT! Pick: Hughes Resulting Outcome:  CORRECT

Dustin Hazelett (-115) vs. Rick Story (-115)
FIGHT! Pick: Story Resulting Outcome:  CORRECT


I caught up with Cain Velasquez at the American Kickboxing Academy near the end of his training camp for his UFC 104 scrap with Ben Rothwell. We spoke about fighting, family, and identity, and we spoke in two different languages. Check it out.


Tune in right here at 8 p.m. EST / 5 p.m. PST, Fri., Feb. 25 for live streaming video of the UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch Fight Club Q&A and Weigh Ins. The event will take place at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, the site of Saturday night’s fights. The card is headlined by former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion BJ Penn (#2 Welterweight) and perennial welterweight challenger Jon Fitch (#3), with the winner promised a shot at the UFC Welterweight Championship. The catch is that its possible that the championship will be vacant by the time either man gets his shot, as UFC President Dana White has stated that if Georges St-Pierre (#1) – who has beaten both Penn (twice) and Fitch (once) – beats Jake Shields (#4) at UFC 129, he will vacate his belt to fight at 185 pounds.

UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch will air live on pay per view in the United States on Sat., Feb. 26 with two preliminary fights airing on ION Television and two preliminary fights streaming on Go here to view the full UFC 127: Penn vs. Fitch fight card.


FIGHT! Magazine editor in chief Donovan Craig traveled to Mosul, Iraq in Sept. to cover the first sanctioned mixed martial arts fight held in an active combat zone. Documentary filmmakers were also on hand – this is the trailer.