Friday, July 20, 2012

Looking for a Fight: UFC 149 Just for Laughs

Tim Boetsch may provide some drama at UFC 149, but you should see his comedy.


Fun is a word often associated with UFC. Funny, not so much. It's not funny to see someone get KO'd or submitted. It's fun. Funny comes around every so often in the Octagon (I'm not including Mike Goldberg-isms). It's a Denis Siver stumble, Nate Quarry chasing Kalib Starnes around, or Matt Riddle throwing 8,000 punches and landing about 7.

One such funny instance served as a launching pad for Tim "The Barbarian" Boetsch. On February 2, 2008 at UFC 81, Boetsch was a late fill-in to face somewhat up and coming David Heath. Boetsch was basically an afterthought until he came out and showed his immense strength working over a bewildered Heath and literally throwing him to the ground like a rag doll.

With only a loss to Phil Davis since then, Boetsch is set up to welcome former Bellator middleweight champ Hector Lombard to the UFC Saturday night at UFC 149.

There are a lot of exciting fighters on this card, but with the intrigue surrounding Lombard and the power and fury of Boetsch, this will be an encounter full of bashing.

Lombard is basically a tank. He demolished Bellator while he was there, and the Cuban-born Florida-based fighter is primed to potentially be Anderson Silva's next opponent should he shine. Lombard though, should learn from guys like Heath and Yushin Okami that if you underestimate Boetsch, you're night may not turn out the way you planned. Cancel that after party at Tao.

BREAKDOWN

These are two big and strong middleweights. Ultimately it's better for the UFC if Lombard can establish himself and get to Silva. Without seeing many of Lombard's fights, I think this it's likely a win will be coming his way. Should Lombard lose or win in blah fashion, Chris Weidman is waiting, although probably not ready to fight Silva, but he's taking the Chael Sonnen route and trying to see if his mouth can get him there.

Lombard has experience with high pressure fights. He's looking to make a splash, and unless he makes a mistake by taking Boetsch too lightly, he should be able to finish the redhead. If Lombard wants that title shot, he's going to have to go for it. I say 1st Round TKO Lombard.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Slobblog: Devil's Den - The Devil's Cherry Sauce

No more prissy stuff.

Over the past couple of Slobfests we've been enjoying the good life. Eating steak, drinking red wine not from a box, rubbing elbows with Stephen Starr and Marc Vetri, oh yes, it's all so glamorous. While these were all great times, and the Slobs all had fun at these highfalutin establishments it was time we got back to our Slobfest roots.

I got a little something for your evil eye!
We were becoming weak and feeble. Used to coat checks or 5-star chefs preparing our meals. We lost the eye of the tiger, we were doing the Slobfest equivalent of listening to Creed, and frankly, it was no longer acceptable. One of the primary tenants of Slobfest is to have good food with good friends at a rather inexpensive price. Finding an interesting/inexpensive place is a lot harder than making everyone go to Barclay Prime.

Inexpensive is certainly a matter of opinion, but in Devil's Den we found a perfect blend of dive bar, pub, and eatery that helped us remember where we came from, and more likely what we are. Slobs.

Devil's Den is in South Philadelphia, and while there is a dining area, it's primary purpose is craft brews. There are 17 rotating drafts, 200 bottles, and plenty of glasses to pour them in.

The beer list is extensive. Well worth a trip just to have a couple and relax.

Due to some travel plans, the Slobs met up on a Friday for our 2nd ever Friday Slobfest. So while we were looking to get back to our roots, it seemed fitting that on this Friday Slobfest, we encountered a number of Slobfirsts.

The first Slobfirst took place before the whole gang arrived. A couple of us were having drinks up at the bar when the first verbal dispute broke out in Slobfest history. I happened to be leaning near a guy at the bar and as he adjusted or I did we would nudge elbows, backs, or whatever. So this guy starts getting irritated and gives us the eye. We try to ignore him and go about our conversation, but he continues to do so. So one Slob asks if there's a problem, but not in the, "Hi, I'm management here at Devil's Den" way, but in the "What's your issue?" way. The guy goes ahead and says I'm bumping into him. To which I say or vice versa, and then we went on to mock him and talk about him while he was right there until he moved over, settled his tab, and left.



Here's the thing, why do people sit at the bar? They sit at the bar if they're alone, or if they want to be around some action. Most straight guys like to be at the bar because it's an easy in to chat with ladies that are coming by looking to purchase alcohol that you happen to be perched by. Here's a little bar etiquette for that guy. People will be around you if you are at the bar. Maybe it'll be a cute blonde, maybe it'll be a drunk mess barreling through to get another Coors Light, or maybe you'll have people standing around minding their own business and as they move about, as humans do, they may come into contact with you. If someone is continually jabbing the sharp end of their elbow into you, feel free to say something, but to be irritated? Get a clue.

Beer, duck fries, flatbread...simple and solid.
Ok, now onto the Slobbing. We all arrived and were at our table. There was a good amount of space they set up for us, as most tables were equipped for about 4 people.

The menu at Devil's Den is simple, hearty, and sure to fill anyone's stomach. Classics like wings, mac & cheese are done in the purely traditional sense. No fancying up or adding different ingredients to these apps. Most of us started out with a flatbread we shared among everyone. The BBQ duck is hard to pass up, but the shortrib was the winner for me. The duck didn't do quite as good a job holding up flavor wise to the BBQ, but with the shortrib it had a horseradish sauce that really exploded the flavor that flatbread had to offer.

Each Slob picked and chose from the menu as a lot looked good. Since the prices were much lower than we had become accustomed to in our high on the hog Slobfesting, Slobs were picking muliple apps, entrees, specials, whatever they felt would give them the satisfaction of a true Slobfest. Perhaps furthering this exploration of the menu was knowing that for every item, you can be sure they had a beer on tap that would go well with what you were ordering.

One Slob even brought up that for about $100 per person we could literally order the entire menu there. A bold and completely over the top proposal, but I have to say we did consider it. With the multitude of options combined with literally being able to go, "We'll have the whole menu" it was almost enticing enough. Perhaps another time.

As we were dining, the second Slobfirst of the night took place. A Slob announced the news that he will be a first time father. Exciting stuff, right! Although, it became clear that while the child is certainly the most important news of the night, he had a couple of other items that trumped his excitement level that evening. I'd say it was in this order:
  1. The Cherry Sauce on the Duck entree
  2. Kate Upton's GQ spread
  3. His first child
Is it shark? Hammerhead?
Along with the duck entree that was I guess pretty damn good there were some raw oysters, duck fries (which yes, have cooked duck on them), and among a couple of the specials, I had the shark tacos. While I thought it an insult to ask if it was actual shark in the tacos, I assumed it was. The meat was a little more comparable to a thicker fish, like a swordfish as opposed to a lighter fish. So unless they meant to trip you up by, say, adding some Hank's Sauce to the tacos for it's sharkiness, then I'm none the wiser. 


With the beer flowing on a Friday night and plenty of food around the table, we were all enjoying ourselves. For the first time in a long time, none of us felt too loud or too crass for the environment we were in.

The night drew to a close, and the final 2 Slobfirsts hit. One, perhaps the worst degree of unforgivable, a doggie bag! At Slobfest! This has never been done before, and hopefully never again. While perhaps the greater crime would have been wasting good food, a doggie bag is as shocking as you would imagine any Slobfest moment to be.

Lastly, as we began to part ways, and due to the amount of beer consumed, I forgot to take a picture of the check. Thus leaving this Slobblog as the first without that picture to close things out.

Overall, we got back in touch with our Slob ways. And while there are "nicer" establishments out there, which I'm sure we will get back to, it was a fun night to kick back and keep things Slobby and simple.

An unforgivable Slobfirst...doggy bag


-Slobs out.

Devil's Den
11th & Ellsworth
Philadelphia, PA
215.339.0855


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Irresponsible Sports: A Rivalry Begins at the 2012 #ASG

Bryce Harper and Mike Trout Hate Each Other!! (mlb.si.com)
While last night's all-star game was the perfect blend of fan event and actual baseball; meaningful and meaningless; out with the old and in with the new what it will be is the beginning of the blood feud between Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.

Both stars are first-time all-stars and under the legal drinking age in the USA. But with so much hype and bravado, these two ill-adjusted youngsters clearly are keeping one eye on the other. Trout threw the veil off of their hatred for each other during the #ASG presser.

Clearly there is only room in this town for one ultra talented future mega-duperstar in MLB, and as far these two go, there's only one way to settle it. Not on the diamond, but in a mega-galactic crescent sword fight battle!


While already deciding that Harper would be Larry Bird to Trout's Magic Johnson in this rivalry, thus taking more claim as the better overall basketball player and wishing HIV on Trout...although Trout does get to own the Dodgers and some nifty movie theaters in the future, I will expect blood to be spilled over this, and the true question being who is Kirk and who is Spock?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Looking for a Fight: UFC 148 Silva Silences Sonnen

Anderson Silva was able to retain his title and definitively beat Chael Sonnen (sports.yahoo.com)
When officials were done pulling Anderson Silva off of Chael Sonnen Saturday night in Vegas, and after we all gained clarity that Silva's seemingly controversial knee was actually expertly placed as only he can, the breadth of UFC fans sat back and said, "Well that was anti-climactic."

This is an all too common reaction by MMA fans expecting the seeming unexpected. Not everyone can pull of a wheel kick KO, or even more improbably expect Chael Sonnen to repeat what he did in Silva Sonnen I regardless of how you feel if Silva was injured during that fight or not.

Although the first round did look like some of the greatest hits, it was clear Silva was at least more prepared to be on his back in this fight. He defended Sonnen well, controlled him from guard and minimized damage. It wasn't until the 2nd round when Silva finally stuffed Sonnen, and Chael's infamous ill-fated spinning backfist left him at the mercy of the champ. The fight was over.

So yes, anti-climactic is one way to describe what was deemed by the UFC as their biggest fight ever (this month or this half of the year or whatever) since Chael had the gameplan, it worked for close to 6 rounds but in an audacious move for anyone not named Chael Sonnen attempted to catch Silva off-guard, thus up-and-ending the evening a little faster than the largest gate in Vegas MMA history expected.


There's no way this was going to be a repeat of Silva Sonnen I, and even if it was there would still be some disappointment in the MMA world about this.

What should be happening is before we all start going crazy for Jonny Bones vs. Anderson Silva, let's take some time to appreciate the best MMA artist that ever lived.

Apparently this guy wasn't the last emperor. There's still one out there, and he was able to further cement his throne with a couple more title scraps left under his belt.

Silva took the biggest challenge of his career, met it head on, and finished his greatest threat to date. There's different ways to look at everything that Chael was never that good or 185 division has been the weakest or whatever you like, but that would be, again, taking away from watching a master at work.

Longevity is not a gift in any sport, certainly not MMA. For Anderson to do what he has done is more than any fight fan could ask for. We just know that he needs to be challenged, he needs to be interested, and he needs to be prepared. With those elements in place, you're going to be entertained, and Anderson will probably win.

Now, whether that lurking challenge is coming at 185 or if he elects to move up to 205, that is his decision. He's earned the right to ride off in the sunset the way he wants. Fans shouldn't treat Silva as though he'll be around forever or if he doesn't fight Jon Jones it'd be a tarnished legacy. Chuck Liddell never moved up in weight, Randy Couture has double digit career losses...anyone mad at them?

Fans want what they want. I'd be happy to pay for Silva Jones, but if it never comes so be it. I'll be looking forward to the next time the Spider struts his stuff in the Octagon.