Midwestern Idiot
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Dec
15

With another card in the books let’s take a look at the results and speculate what’s next for each fighter. Feel free to agree or disagree in the comments section.

BJ Penn Defeats Diego Sanchez, Fifth Round TKO (Doctor Stoppage)

If there’s one thing that everyone will take away from this fight it’s that BJ Penn is going to be on top of the UFC’s lightweight division for a very long time to come. Penn set the pace early dropping Sanchez 30 seconds into the fight with a solid punch, and came very close to finishing it with some ground and pound.

The next four rounds were dominated by Penn, who constantly found the mark with punches and knees while avoiding every take-down attempt and dodging almost anything Sanchez could throw at him. The fight ended in the fifth round when Penn opened up a massive cut on Sanchez’s forehead above his left eye.

What’s Next for BJ Penn?

Frankie Edgar and Grey Manyard both fight in the same weight class as Penn, but neither fighter is in the same league. If Penn keeps this focus he cannot lose to anyone in his division. Perhaps Penn should looking into moving up a couple of weight classes and taking on Brock Lesnar.

What’s Next for Diego Sanchez?

Plastic surgery to fix one of the ugliest cuts I’ve seen in combat sports. A long talked about rematch with previous Penn victim Kenny Florian.

Frank Mir Defeats Chieck Kongo, First Round Submission (Guillotine Choke)

Frank Mir is back and bigger than ever. The former champ came into this fight at 264 lbs, 20 pounds heavier than his fight with Brock Lesnar, and it appeared to be all muscle. Mir made it look easy too, by slipping a Kongo punch, and answering with a right hook, 30 seconds into the first round. As Kongo fell and tried to get back up Mir sank in the fight winning choke and put Kongo to sleep.

What’s next for Frank Mir?

Mir reestablished himself as a top contender in a loaded division with the victory. Assuming Big Nog beats Cain Velasquez—something I see happening—I and many others would like to see a healthy Nog get his rematch with a bigger, stronger Mir.

What’s next for Chieck Kongo?

Two straight losses to top competition seems to relegate Kongo to a gate keeper role in the upper echelon of the heavyweight class. A fight against Junior Dos Santos or Gabriel Gonzaga seems likely.

Kenny Florian Defeats Clay Guida, Second Round Submission (Rear Naked Choke)

The technical Muay Thai striker used his boxing and new found wrestling skills to defeat fan-favorite Clay Guida. After saying goodbye to trainer Mark DellaGrotte, and shacking up with Firras Zahabi—one of the many trainers of Georges St. Pierre—Florian put on a striking clinic, cutting Guida with an elbow, dropping him with a right hook, and cinching in an RNC for the win.

What’s next for Kenny Florian

Florian is from Boston, Massachusetts, a state which just regulated Mixed Martial Arts. Florian and Diego Sanchez in Boston in August. Make it happen.

What’s next for Clay Guida?

A springboard for Sanchez and a rebound for Florian. Guida deserves to be in the Octagon with the lightweight division’s top competitors. It remains to be seen if he can beat them. Either Gray Manyard or Frankie Edgar is next for BJ Penn, whoever doesn’t get that shot should be fighting Guida.

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Nov
14

Modern-Warfare-2   Warning: This review may contain some minor campaign plot spoilers

   It seems in the last several months one could not pick up a gaming magazine, surf their favorite websites, or even watch TV without hearing about Modern Warfare 2. The hype surrounding the game had been built to insane levels. It even broke Halo 3’s preorder record

    One could worry with all of the hype surrounding the title that maybe it would not live up to it. I’m here to tell you, fans of the series will not be disappointed. MW2 is the best first person shooter to come out in this generation of consoles, and a strong contender for game of the year.

    MW2 picks up where the original left off and improves upon almost everything. The game is split into three distinctive modes; Campaign, Multiplayer, and the brand new Spec Ops mode. Odds are you will be spending quite a bit of time with all three.

   Let’s start with the campaign mode. MW2 picks up five years after the original left off. It appears that once again not all is right between Russia and USA. You’ll be taken all over the world in this campaign. From the Ice mountains of Kazakhstan, to the deserts of Afghanistan, the busting streets of Rio De Janeiro, and even to Washington D.C. and the suburbs of Virginia.

   Each locale is meticulously crafted and looks amazing. Both the visuals and sound appear to have received substansial upgrades. The environments are highly destructable. Blow something up and expect to hear a loud emphatic boom followed by shrapnel from whatever you blew up flying all over the place. Squad mates are also much more vocal this time around. When one yells out five tango’s headed toward Burger Town, you can look up and expect to see five people headed near a restaurant. Need help finding an item or a location, and you will be sure to hear it, that or you’ll be treated to a very forgiving marker system which can always be easily seen on screen.

   The action as in the last Modern Warfare is often intense. Explosions and shots are constantly going off around you. Several times you’ll find yourself in a high speed chase, whether it be on foot or in a vehicle. MW 2 is the equivalent of playing a summer movie, right down to the wonderful score composed by Hans Zimmer.

   That comparison having been made MW 2 shares some the worse qualities of summer flicks as well. The story is, at times, very hard to follow. You get most of what’s going on through pre and post mission cut scenes as well as lines of dialogue delivered during battle. If you take the time you can figure out what’s going on, but you do have to pay very close attention to every detail. Also the campaign seems a little too short. It took me about 6 hours on regular difficulty, I’m sure the harder ones with artificially add some more time onto them.

   That having been said if you can invest yourself into the characters and the story this game will move you. Without ruining anything the game warns you an offensive mission before you play it and actually gives you the option of not playing it, also seeing war on American soil in both terrifying and surreal.

   Multiplayer in the original Modern Warfare set new standards for online gaming. The leveling systems, killstreaks, perks, and overall balance from the first game have all returned and have been beefed up for this one. You level your character all the way up to 75 this time around, unlocking new perks, weapons, and killstreak rewards along the way. The game expanded everything. New perks add new excitement, new killstreak rewards are just plain fun. Enjoy destroying the opposing team from the gunner seat of an AC 130, or if you’re insanely good and can manage 25 straight kills, drop a tactical nuke on everyone and end the game. Everything feels familiar and fresh at the same time, MW 2’s multiplayer is right up there with Halo 2 and Goldeneye for Best Ever status.

   Spec Ops mode is brand new and chalk full of replay value. The game is best played with a friend and pits you through challenges that come from the campaign. You’ll find yourself having to eliminate sections of enemies, going through time trials and races, or assisting you squad mates. The highlight of Spec Ops is the AC-130 gunship level where one player controls the gunship and another sneaks around on the ground under it’s cover. There are 69 stars to earn in Spec Ops and it’s playtime will wind up being much longer than the campaign’s once you get through, but the mode itself is crazy addicting.

   Infinity Ward could have chosen to just mail it in with MW 2. It could’ve slapped some minor additions onto multiplayer and single player and the game still would have sold an astronomical amount of copies and still gotten good reviews, but they didn’t go that route. They improved on every single detail from an original that didn’t have many flaws to begin with. Even with a short campaign this game has a ton of replay value, people will be playing the multiplayer and Spec Ops for years to come. Modern Warfare 2 is this generations best FPS and one of it’s best titles to date.

 

Oct
01

avett_brothers By: Erik Cunningham

I think there is a logical fear everytime someones favorite independent or mid label band signs a deal with a major label. Lord knows the major label is going to over produce a record, whore a band out, and turn them into something they are not. Just ask MC Hammer, who was an acoustic musician before he was 2 Legit 2 Quit.

That having been said I found myself smitten with this fear when The Avett Brothers signed with American Records an offshoot of Columbia Records run by big time producer Rick Rubin. You know the guy with the big creepy beard who got his start working with Run DMC and The Beastie Boys and just produced Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” earlier this year.

Rubin is a slick dude whose records ooze high production, the Avett’s are a band who are built around their live shows and their ability to capture that seem live feel on record. Those aesthetics should clash together and sometimes they do on the Avett’s latest disk “I and Love and You,” but for the most part the union is a smooth one.

The one thing that fans are either going to love or hate on this disk is that the Avett’s traditional Guitar-Banjo-Stand Up Bass-Occassional Cello has been thrown out the window for the majority of “I and Love and You.” Larger arrangements often featuring full on string ensembles, drums and a whole lot of piano dominate most of the record. This is clearly influenced by Rubin. Gone are the cacophony of banjo rolls, furious guitar strums, and voice creaking yelps for the most part.

That having been said the songwriting on this album is perhaps the strongest it’s ever been. Dumbed down and numbed by time and age/your dreams the catch/the world the cage Scott Avett croons on the opening title track. If You’re loved by someone/ you’re never rejected/ decide what to be and go be it he sings on “Head Full of Doubt, Road Full of Promise” another strong track. Both of those songs are piano heavy, and beautifully arranged, you wouldn’t want the standard Avett set up for songs like those. It a sign of the band maturing both musically and lyrically and it’s very exciting sonically.

That isn’t to say that there isn’t signs of the old Avett Brother’s on this disk though either. The song “January Wedding” oozes old school Avett Bros. With Seth singing a simple love song over the classic guitar-banjo-stand up bass combo. “Kick Drum Heart” is a sure single that is insanely fun and has the racousness of “Will You Return” off of the bands last full length “Emotionalism.” Laundry Room is another upbeat song, but one has to see it played live to truly appreciate it.

If one song is going to sum up the album and the new look of the band though one needs to give “The Perfect Space” a listen. The song starts out with piano and strings, but later picks up the pacing with some upbeat verses and soaring howling vocals. A perfect mixture between the old and the new.

The Album also has it’s not so great moments however. It comes off as over produced in a couple of songs. “Tin Man” features an impromptu trumpet part in one of the verses that left me scratching my head. At times you almost find yourself screaming for Scott Avett to just go crazy on his banjo, but you never get it except the aforementioned “January Wedding” and perhaps a little in “Laundry Room.”

I don’t like bands that sound the same on every record, and while I wouldn’t go as far as to say the Avett’s have reinvented themselves I would say they have taken a step in a different direction. Rick Ruben has made the band more polished and less brash and while it works most of the time, fans will also be asking where some of the fire from past albums is. Lyrically the music is the best it’s ever been.

Do yourself a favor pick up the disk, and then go see these songs performed live. The Avett Brothers have always sounded better in concert and I’m sure this album will be no exception.

Must Listen to: Laundry Room, Kick Drum Heart, I and Love and You, The Perfect Space, Head Full of Doubt Road Full of Promise.

Oct
01

By: Erik Cunninghamroynelson  

 Roy Nelson is  many things. He is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt under Renzo Gracie, A former International Fight League Heavyweight Champion, a portly man who resembles Santa Claus moreso than an athlete. Roy Nelson is all of those things.

   He is also the luckiest man in the world.

  Funny that I say that because in less than an  hour we’re going to see Big Country step into the ring against perhaps the scariest looking man on the face of the planet Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson.

   Certainly many of you have seen Slice before. He’s the big black guy, with the beard as big as a bird’s nest and the biceps as big a boat. The guy on youtube who beat up dudes at barbeques and is now a celebrity for it (just to point out this has yet to work out for my uncle.) The man who single handedly carried the Elite XC MMA promotion until Seth Petruzelli caught both Slice and the future of the company on the chin with a right hand. You know Kimbo Slice, and if you don’t ask your grandmother because I guarantee that she does.

  Slice fights do big business. Just ask CBS and Elite XC, two of Kimbo’s fights are in the top three most watched MMA fights ever (Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonner is the third.) So the fact that Nelson is even standing across the ring from Kimbo is a good thing.

  But if by some chance he beats Slice than Big Country is in for some Big Business.

  It is not really even that crazy to think that Nelson stands a chance against Slice. Nelson is the most accomplished fighter in a cast that has for the most part has very little professional MMA experience. He has held a title in a legitimate promotion and has amassed 13 wins in 17 professional fights.

  It should also be noted that Nelson is a very good fighter if and when the fight goes to the ground. He has the ability to end a fight with his fists and his submissions.  In his past fights Slice has shown he’s as good on the ground as a quadrepeligic in a swimming pool.

  It’s also completely possible that Nelson could walk into one of Slice’s heavy punches though, as he did against Andrei Arlovski on one of Kimbo’s Elite XC undercards last October.

  No matter what happens tonight though, it’s a win-win for Roy “Big Country” Nelson. Millions are going to at least be seeing his face tonight. What happens for Roy Nelson if millions see him with his hand raised?