Stacked Cards Easter Bunny Edition

April 5, 2010 - 6:27 PM


 Abu Dhabi Preview


            Capping off the UFC’s run of four live events in less than a month is perhaps the most unlikely of the group.  As recently as 18 months ago, the idea of the UFC holding an event in the Middle East would have been scoffed at by most fans.  Added to this is the co-headlining role of one Renzo Gracie.  In trading card terms, Renzo makes for one of the more unique UFC “rookies” in recent years.  Unlike Anderson Silva, or even Takanori Gomi, Gracie represents a signing by the UFC that is clearly on the downside of his career. 

            It remains to be seen whether or not there will be any Renzo Gracie cards produced by Topps in the coming series, but the six fight contract that Gracie signed would indicate that there likely will be.  The only preview of how collectors will respond to a fighter being sold on history alone may be Renzo’s cousin Royce.  The difference there being that Royce became a legend under the UFC banner, while Renzo established his legacy almost everywhere else.  Fighters like Randy Couture, Tito Ortiz, and Matt Hughes made their trading card premieres while still competing in relevant fights.  It would seem unlikely that Renzo Gracie is capable of doing the same in the UFC.  His name and legacy go a long way, but he will most likely not be doing much to increase collector interest from inside the Octagon.  The appeal of Renzo Gracie autos and relics will lie in the memories of legendary battles against Oleg Taktarov, Kazushi Sakuraba, and Carlos Newton.

            Elsewhere on the Abu Dhabi card, Anderson Silva will defend his title against replacement challenger, Demian Maia.  Just like seeing the name Gracie on a UFC card, this fight will remind fans of the early 90’s.  Heading into the fight, the strategy for both fighters will be obvious to even the most naïve viewer.  Silva will be looking to avoid the ground while attempting to land power shots.  Maia, conversely, will be trying to hide his non-existent stand-up and get the fight to the mat where he can work for submissions.  The problem for Maia is that this is not 1995, and Silva is not Keith Hackney.  Anderson Silva possesses an understanding of MMA as a whole, while Maia’s style remains somewhat archaic.  The upset is not impossible, but also not very likely.

            In the card’s other title contest, BJ Penn will make his latest 155lb title defense against deserving challenger Frankie Edgar.  Penn has long been thought to have a weakness in his cardio, but in recent fights, that seems to have been corrected.  On the other side of the Octagon, Edgar has always been considered an “undersized” lightweight.  This showed most in his loss to Gray Maynard.  Against Penn, however, Edgar’s size may be of less importance than most of the wrestle-centric lightweight fighters.  All things considered, this fight looks to have the makings of Fight of the Night.  Keep your eyes open. 



New TUF Season Debuts:  Doors Beware!!


            The latest season of The Ultimate Fighter (the college of MMA) made its debut on Wednesday and gave us the expected promises of door-breaking, drinking, laundry based bickering, and hopefully some top-notch cagefighting. 

            Among those impressing in the season opener were grizzled veteran Kyacey Uscola, Aussie Kyle Noke, and ‘Fro sporting Jamie Yager.  With no TUF autos in the Main Event series, this season will be somewhat less interesting to the Topps UFC junkies at  That leaves Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz as the collectible-relevant personalities on the show.  To this point in the history of MMA trading cards, it is difficult to declare a clear winner in the interest and associated value of either fighter.  Liddell’s Round 1 and UFC 09 cards were generally quite common and therefore rarely garnered a tremendous amount of collector/bidder attention.  Ortiz, conversely, didn’t even make an appearance as a Topps UFC subject until the Main Event series.  His autographed cards were touted as one of the top reasons for collectors to be excited about the release.  It has been Liddell, however, who has seen his autographed cards command the higher prices before this season started.  As the show’s 11th season plays out, the popularity contest between the two will be interesting to watch.  Can Ortiz follow the blueprint set by Rashad Evans and increase his own profile at the expense of his TUF coaching counterpart?  Keep your eyes open.



Finally, Another Way to Surf  Ebay for GSP Autos!


I’m not the biggest fan of technological advancements.  I buy records about as much as CD’s; and I don’t own an Ipod.  I just recently completed Grand Theft Auto III.  I hear that Halo might be a fun time.  My cell phone is roughly the same model carried by Zach Morris. 

            So, suffice to say, that I am far from excited about the release of the IPad.  The $500 (or more) “advancement” promises to do most of what a laptop would, but with the revolutionary improvement of being slightly smaller; all this with only a $30 per month AT&T contract to get your IPad service.  What does make me happy is the idea that now, when I list my UFC cards on ebay, I can hope that at least one bid is made by an anonymous IPad owner sitting on the John.  Maybe they will take the time while wiping to decide if it is worth the extra 25 cents for my Jon Fitch Mat Relic from Main Event.  Thanks Apple!  You’re a dream come true!!

By:  J. Alexander


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