Combat Cardboard

THE MMA SPORTS CARD AUTHORITY ...

The MMA Sports Cards Authority

UFC Pack Wars

Beyond the Cage 7/1/15

Prediction Panel:  Machida vs. Romero

SnyeGuy - Romero, by "is he or isn't he?" old man strength.


Quiksand - Machida TKO Round 4.


FightHobby - Romero by not being beaten into a coma 3 months ago.


AandN SportsCard - Romero by KO.


Loan4Cards - Romero 1st rd tko.


Beyond the Cage - I got Romero


Beards on MMA - Romero > Machida


SCI - Romero (31.38) will defeat Machida (12.47)


Total - Romero - 7, Machida 1



Beyond the Cage 6/24/15

Discarded:  2009 Topps UFC Matt Horwich Autograph

Editors note:  The winner of the card from the previous "Discarded" is Loyalty24.  Congratulations to him.


      The story of the card in this edition of Discarded is likely as complex and disorienting as the man whose image and autograph it bears.  The fall 2009 release from Topps, their second, made many improvements and expansions from the Round 1 product.  And, on at least one card, it ramped up the weirdness as well.  Everything about Matt Horwich's one and only Topps UFC autograph card (only card in general, actually) is unique and out of the ordinary.  To start, there is the fighter himself.  Horwich was a journeyman fighter in every sense.  He fought in many different promotions against many recognizable names of his era with marginal success.  He fought only twice for the UFC, losing each time, which makes his inclusion in a Topps product seem strange.  If you need proof of "Suave" (yes, this man calls himself "Suave") being a truly strange creature, simply see the video below.   

      Then, there is the autograph.  The silver sticker featured on the card is inconsistent with most other auto cards in 2009 Topps UFC.  The vast majority used clear stickers.  The reason for the silver sticker is that the stickers were not intended to be used on UFC cards.  At the time that they were signed, Matt Horwich expected to be seeing himself on IFL trading cards.  The IFL was a team-based MMA promotion that had a short run, but made a few stars due mainly to the promotion's television contract, a rarity at the time.  And, as if the silver sticker weren't odd enough, Horwich made the puzzling decision to sign some, but not all, of the autographs in a thick black marker.  To this day, there are no other autographs signed in this bizarre style.  In a way, Matt Horwich probably managed to create a trading card that more closely represents the nature of its subject than almost any other that comes to mind.  The 2009 Topps UFC Matt Horwich Black Marker auto might not be Fuck Face or Bo with shoulder pads and a baseball bat, but it is DEFINITELY 100% Matt Horwich.  It can be left to the collectors whether or not that is a good thing.

Undercard(board) Hero:  UFC Berlin

In what amounts to "running unopposed," Tatsuya Kawajiri is the UFC Berlin Undercard(board) Hero.  Kawajiri gets the nod despite only having base cards in one Topps product, 2014 Champions.  No winners on the card aside from Kawajiri have made their Topps UFC debuts, not even Main Event winner and "next Ronda Rousey" Joanna Jedrzejczyk.  So, the only possible choice here is the veteran Kawajiri.  "Crusher" has competed around the globe in his 15 year pro career which includes fights in Shooto, Pride, Dream, K1, OneFC, and now the UFC.  A pair of unforgettable contests with Vitor "Shaolin" Ribiero put Kawajiri on the map.  After that, however, it would be the biggest names on his ledger that would dot his career with losses, name like Gomi, Melendez, Alvarez, and Aoki.  His run in the UFC has contained a smothering loss at the ends of the ever-smothering Clay Guida.  Most people saw his signing with the UFC as something of a victory lap for the journeyman combatant.  The win this weekend over Denis Siver may indicate that Kawajiri still has something left in the tank.  He has built a name for himself that would afford him a shorter path to a title shot than most should he manage to string together a few more victories.

Prediction Panel - Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne

SCI - JJ (38.05) will defeat Penne (14.70).


Beyond the Cage - We're going with JJ.


Beards on MMA - Jordan - JJ Because my punk ass cousin is in love with her and if I say Penne he'll never shut up and send me lame messages all the time #nobueno  Matt - Going to have to go with JJ. Penne's good, but I've always been more of a rotini and ravioli man.


SnyeGuy - yo! i got jj by tko in the 2nd this week.


Loan4Cards - Penne 1st round sub.


Quiksand - I think Joanna is gonna defend very well against the take downs of Penne and is going to destroy on the feet and get a TKO around the 3rd round!


AandN SportsCards - I'm going to go with penne on this one.


FightHobby - Jedrzejczyk made the #1 fighter in the division look like an amateur in her last fight.  The looks like a showcase fight for her.  Anything can happen in MMA, but it won't on Saturday.  JJ by TKO fairly early.


Jeremy Fullerton - Great value on the betting side with Penne, but if we are picking straight up to win, have to go with Joanna J. via destrucity.


Total:   Jedrzejczyk:  8

               Penne:        2

Beyond the Cage 6/17/15

Dear Topps:  Relics!

This recurring feature on CCB will be in the format of an open letter from the fans to the producers of UFC licensed trading cards.  Since this is meant to be from the fans and consumers, we welcome your input and suggestions.  We hope this something that can be taken with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.


Dear Topps,

      Relics!  Yes, Relics!  At one point in trading card history, these were the highlights of hobby boxes.  Now, they have become groan worthy.  People are more excited about an arbitrarily numbered base card than a relic from one of their favorite fighters.  It has gotten to the point that when you announce a product (2015 Champions) that has NO relics, collectors release an audible "FINALLY."  They would rather have nothing than pull a relic. 

      Why have we gotten here?  Well, probably many reasons.  First, relics in UFC products are often not actually relics.  There are the manufactured relics which have essentially no association with the fighters that they claim to represent.  Then, there are those "Fighter Worn Gear" cards.  These, at least, have some sort of "kinda, maybe, could be, I guess he or she may have been in the same room at some point we think" connection to the stars of the UFC.  But, even at that, the connection is so loose that it is often more mockable than admirable.  Entire products have been ruined by the dreaded Topps T-Shirt Relics.  In 2012 Finest, more than half of the hits in the product contain Topps T-shirt pieces that have no connection at all with any of the fighting part of fighting. 

      Aside from the origin of our beloved relics, there is the issue of where and when they are pulled.  For each year since 2012, the premier Topps UFC product, Knockout, has included hits dubbed "mini mats" and "mini gears" by collectors.  In the highest tier of products, collectors should be pulling the highest tier of relics.  Mini mats and mini gears do not qualify.  The relics included in Knockout should be the cream of the crop.  Packs should yield multi-color, jumbo, fight worn, or otherwise noteworthy pieces of cage fighting memorabilia.  And, of course, if you are going to call an insert set "Premium Pieces," you better make the pieces premium. 

       The brighter side of things is the most natural of all UFC relics, the mat.  You've used them as a staple in every product since Round 1, and with good reason.  The mat relics offer collectors an actual tie to the event, the time and place where our idols did battle.  Pulling a mat relic with a particularly interesting design or color combination is always a thrill.  The same is true of the less used hand wrap tape relics.  These offer an even more tangible connection to the action.  We love pulling them.  We would love to pull more of them, especially in premium products.  With the new deal between the UFC and apparel sponsor, Reebok, the opportunities to include more fight worn/used materials in your products should grow.  Please don't miss this chance.  If you build a better relic set, we will pave a path to your door.  We have done it before.


                                                                                                               -Combat Cardboard

Undercard(board) Hero UFC 188

      The Undercard(board) Hero award from UFC 188 goes to Efrain Escudero.  It doesn't seem like that long ago Escudero was a young talented fighter on the rise coming off of a victory on The Ultimate Fighter.  That victory, however, is more than 6 years ago now.  Since then, Efrain has seen high and low points.  The stretch includes a 4 fight losing streak and multiple stints away from the Major League ranks of the UFC.  It would now seem that "Hecho en Mexico" has righted the ship.  He is 6-2 in his last 8.  His first round submission of Drew Dober this weekend is likely the height of his career since his TUF triumph.  Like so many Undercard(board) Heroes, the real test is whether he can continue his success against the elite in his division.  At just 29 years old, he still has plenty of time to make a championship run.

May Giveaway and Fantasy League Giveaway

Fantasy League Awards and Giveaways

      The CCB 2015 Fantasy League Season 1 has reached the Final Four teams.  Congratulations to PTH, WalkerBoh, Samsquantches, and 2HrstoMakeWeigh on reaching this point.  those 4, and a selection of the "Performance" award winners will each receive a pack of cards from a box of 2010 Topps UFC.  The randomization and box break will be done later this week.  Congratulations and Good Luck to everyone.

Prediction Panel: Velasquez vs. Werdum

Beyond the Cage - Jim - I'm going with Mr. Velasquez.  Dave - Cain


Beards on MMA - Jordan - Cain via being a big brown bear.  Matt - We browns must support all browns...except for Brendan Schaub because "Big Brown" sounds like he's a UPS truck or something.


AandN Sportscards - Even though Cain hasnt fought since my teens I believe he will still be dominant and win in this fight.


Loan4Cards - Cain by tko or Werdum by sub.  (disqualified for wishy-washyness)


SnyeGuy - Butt scootin' boogie time! Cain by whatever pleases him.


Quiksand - I think we're gonna have a new HW champ this weekend!! Werdum via KO.


Jeremy Fullerton - A healthy Cain is a dominant one. I have to believe he is fully healed up from his myriad injuries and ready to go. I do not see anyone in the HW division taking the belt from Velasquez while injury-free.


FightHobby - Werdum is has killed Goliath before.  He is the best version of himself that he has ever been.  I think he takes the belt.


SCI - Velasquez (16.70) will defeat Werdum (13.69).


Total:   Velasquez:  8

            Werdum  :   2

Beyond the Cage Podcast

6/10/15

Kevin Lee Interview

Monthly Winners and Announcements

Congratulations to RotoJohn, who won our May giveaway of a box of 2014 Topps UFC Bloodlines.  We will have the break video of John's box posted very soon.  Don't forget that you can be a winner for the month of June just by participating on the site. 


A second congratulations goes out to Deeakay who is out TTMer of the month.  Dave will be getting a box filled with base and insert cards in the mail sometime soon for his TTM needs.


The 1st Season of CCB Fantasy MMA in 2015 is down to 8 "teams" still in the running for the top prize.  There will be a giveaway for each team that makes our final four next week.


When the Fantasy League Season reaches the finals, we will start sign-ups for a Survivor Pool.  This will be a standard survivor where each person will pick 1 fighter for each event without using the same fighter twice.  The last man standing will win top prize.


Finally, we will be starting a "Featured Member" contest at the beginning of July.  The person selected each month will have their ebay ID featured in the banner on the homepage.  The person who sells the most through the banner at the end of the year will be given a portion of the earnings.  Sign up here for the chance to be a Featured Member.

Undercard(board) Hero: UFN 68

The honoree as Undercard(board) Hero from Ultimate Fight Night 68 is Francisco Rivera.  The Bantamweight contender earns the nod with his 21 second KO of Alex Caceres.  The win was the 4th in the UFC for "Cisco" and 11th overall.  A powerful striker, the rangy-for-his-weight Rivera is like many of the previous selections for UC(b)H.  He has reached a point in his career where he has shown himself to be a solid contender, but has fallen short in his biggest bouts.  The most disappointing would be his loss to Urijah Faber.  In that fight, Rivera was getting the better of the standing exchanges before an uncalled eye-poke ended the fight.  At age 33, Rivera will need to use his highlight reel KO finish of Bruce Leeroy to propel a title run.  Luckily, like most of the lighter weightclasses in the UFC, a BW title run doesn't require a tremendous amount time.  We will all be watching.

Prediction Panel:  Hendo vs. Boetsch

A and N Sportscards - Hendo will beat Boetsch.


Loan4Cards - If you are an American, Hendo is the only choice.


Beards on MMA - Jordan - I'm going with the old man via the "get the hell off my lawn" combo strikes.


Beyond the Cage - Dave - Hendo based on resume only.  Jim - Boetsch has never been able to beat elite guys so give me Hendo.


SCI - Dan Henderson (14.51) will defeat Tim Boetsch (6.21)


FightHobby - I think this fight is set up as a Mark Munoz-style farewell to Henderson, but I also think that the Barbarian spoils it.  3rd round TKO for Boetsch.


SnyeGuy - Boetsch because he has more consecutive consonants in his name.


Quiksand - I really wanna see Hendo win this and hell thats who I'm gonna pick! Hendo via Decision


Total -  Henderson      7

              Boetsch         2

Beyond the Cage Podcast 6/3/15

Featured Member

Discarded: 

2009 Topps UFC Round 1 Mat Relic:  Joe Stevenson

      "Discarded" is a new recurring feature that you will find here on CombatCardboard.  In each "Discarded" article, we will feature one card from an early release of MMA/UFC trading cards that features a fighter who is no longer in the forefront of MMA fan's collective consciousness.  We will also have a thread in the forums where you can discuss the fighter and/or card featured.  In the following "Discarded," we will give away the card to one of the members who commented in the thread.

      The first edition of Discarded focuses on the first Topps UFC card release, specifically the Joe Stevenson Mat Relic.  The card shows an image of Joe's victory over Luke Cummo in the Finale of The Ultimate Fighter 2.  It is stated on the card that the swatch of Mat is from that event, however there are Round 1 Mat Relics that claim to feature relics from events at which the fight pictured did not take place.  In this case, the event and image match.  We can choose to believe piece of Mat is one on which Joe and Luke competed.  The date of event is also accurate.

      The top billing on the card, of course, goes to Stevenson.  After all, he was the winner of the bout and of TUF 2.  The match was the last of a 9 fight winning streak for Joe "Daddy," the longest of his career.  Though he would later compete for a title in the UFC, it is likely thay this bout stands out as the highlight of Joe's career.  And, as careers go, Joe Stevenson has one to which not many can relate.  At only 32 years old now, Joe  has already been a professional fighter for more than half of his life.  By the time he was 29, he had fought 46 times and was considering retirement.  Reading down the list of Joe's opponents is a nostalgia trip for long-time MMA fans.  There is hardly a name on Joe's record that wasn't a staple of Southern California MMA in its early days.  There also aren't many names missing from Joe's record that would make up a comprehensive list of the era.  Despite all the accomplishments, Joe hasn't won an MMA fight since 2009, and has only fought once since 2012.  A return to the limelight seems unlikely.

     The man Joe Stevenson stood opposite from on November 5, 2005 was his opposite in every imaginable way.  Luke Cummo was from the East Coast, Joe the West.  Luke was nerdy and cerebral, Joe a dumb jock.  Luke was tall and lank, Joe the fireplug.  Before and after that match, Luke Cummo was in every way a contrast to Joe Stevenson.  Luke trained with the Serra/Longo fight team, but was considered an also-ran when he entered the TUF house.  His appearance in the finals seemed almost like a mistake.  He would never get momentum in the UFC, and retired from professional fighting almost 7 years ago.  He finished with his career with a record of 6-6.  The biggest name on Luke's resume is either Josh Koscheck or Tamdan McCrory, both losses.  Luke choose to give up the sport when it was no longer fun for him while Stevenson tried everything imaginable to hang on.

       While Joe Stevenson and Luke Cummo could not be any more different, fate and fighting brought them together.  Their TUF Finale match was spirited and entertaining.  It may not go down as one of the best matches in MMA or UFC history, but is forever immortalized on our featured piece of Topps UFC cardboard.  So, here's to Joe and Luke wherever they may be.  Click here to discuss Joe, Luke, or anything else related to this card.    

Undercard(board) Hero:  UFC Goiania

      UFC Flyweight contender, Jussier "Formiga" da Silva is our selection for the Undercard(board) Hero from this weekend's UFC Fight Night Goiania.  He may also pull off the feat of going from the undercard to a title fight in consecutive fights.  The argument against da Silva getting the next crack at Demetrious Johnson would be his losses to Joseph Benavidez and John Dodson.  Those two are both currently ranked ahead of Formiga, and have the same 3 fight winning streak as he does.  The argument for a Formiga Title Shot would seem to be little more than the fact that he has not yet lost to the division's dominant champion. 

      The stand-out aspect of Formiga's arsenal is his speed, especially in grappling scrambles.  If a fight with Johnson were to materialize, it would be sure to feature several whirlwind grappling exchanges.  That would be a sign that the fight was going well for the challenger.  The biggest question mark heading into that bout would be whether Formiga possessed the striking competence to force the champion into break-neck scrambles. 

      In any case, Jussier Formiga da Silva gave the fans an entertaining affair to watch on Saturday night, and all before the main card got underway.  He may be a future champion.  But, for now, he will have to settle for being a combatcardboard.com Undercard(board) Hero.

<---- Formiga cards on ebay

CombatCardboard Interview:  Josh "Cuddly Bear" Copeland

      Josh "Cuddly Bear" Copeland made his UFC debut in November of 2014 after going undefeated in his first 9 professional fights.  In that short time, Josh collected title belts in both the Sparta Combat League, and Resurrection Fighting Alliance.  The latter was his first fight with the promotion and earned him a spot in the UFC.  That may seem like a quick road to MMA's Major League, and it probably was.  Two fights in the UFC brought two defeats for Copeland.  Josh's stint in the UFC showed two things:  1) that he has the heart and desire to compete in the UFC Heavyweight Division, and 2) that he will benefit greatly from further seasoning in regional competition.  Josh saw 7 of his first 9 fights end in the first round.  That simply isn't enough time in the cage to prepare someone for the deep waters of the UFC.  Josh trains at the Grudge Training Center in Colorado.  

      Josh made his debut on Topps UFC cards in 2015 Topps UFC Knockout.  He has not had a certified autograph or memorabilia card in any release yet.  There is an address for sending TTM submissions to Josh in the CombatCardboard TTM section on the top navigation bar.  

      CCB would like to thank Josh for answering a few questions about the hobby for us and wish him luck in the future.

CCB:  Congratulations on your "rookie" cards.  How does it feel to be on a trading card?  

JC:  It is definitely a surreal feeling being on a trading card. I am not sure exactly how to feel, but I won't argue.


CCB:  Did you collect sports cards as a kid?

JC:  I did collect sports cards, but nothing too serious.


CCB:  Did you always want to be an athlete?  If not, what other job would you like to do?  

JC:  I definitely wanted to be an athlete.  I always had dreams of being a professional football player.  I never grew as tall as I had wanted to, so I went to college for youth ministry.  I have always enjoyed encouraging people to get out of their comfort zones and to become whatever they dreamed of being.
 
CCB:  How do you feel about fans asking you for autographs?  

JC:  I think it is pretty crazy that anyone would want my autograph, but I am always humbled and willing to sign anything for anyone!

CCB:  Do you mind signing autographs through the mail when fans send requests?  

JC:  I do not mind at all.  I will say I am not the most organized person so it always helps when they send a return envelope.
 
CCB:  Is there a time that you would prefer not to be bothered by fans?  

JC:  Not really, I am for the most part about as easy-going as anyone can be.  If there is ever a bad time, I would definitely politely let them know.
 
CCB:  Are you surprised that UFC cards are a "Big thing" for collectors?  

JC:  Not at all, this world is made up of a lot of different people with A lot of likes and dislikes.  The UFC is not for everyone, but for those people who love it, it makes sense that they would love the trading cards that go along with it.
 
CCB:  If you could have 1 person's autograph, who would it be?  

JC:  I think of anyone, it would be Peyton Manning.  He is a true class act on and off of the field. He is a person that anyone could look up to.
 
CCB:  Do you have any hobbies or collections?  

JC:  I do not have any collections and honestly no true hobbies. I am a simple guy who loves to enjoy life with friends and family.
 
CCB:  What do you like to do when you aren't fighting or training?

JC:  My joy every day is waking up to my son who is almost 2 years old yelling "Dadaaa". Life can not get much sweeter than that!  Besides that, just being around good friends and family eating good food and drinking good drinks.
 
CCB:  What goal are you working towards in your career or personal life?  

JC:  My goals are simple, I just want to be the best that I can be. I am training and just trying to sharpen up my entire game
 
CCB:  Do you keep memorabilia from your fights?  

JC:  I do, I am a sentimental person.  I definitely wish I was more organized, but I am keeping things to show my kids in the future.
 
CCB:  What was it like the first time you stepped into the Octagon?  

JC:  Honestly, it was cool to be there, but it felt like most all of my other fights.  I wanted to go out and do the best I could and hope for the best.


CCB:  Is there anything that you would like to share with the readers of combatcardboard.com?

JC:  I want to thank everyone for taking the time to learn a little bit about me!  Thank you all for your support!

Prediction Panel:  Condit vs. Alves

Beards on MMA - Jordan - I'm going CC via better wrasslin.  Matt - I pick Condit because I keep pulling his autographs and I need new CC fans to take them off my hands.


FightHobby - I think that Condit will have some ring rust and Alves will take advantage with an early TKO.


SnyeGuy - 5 years ago it's a coin flip. now? alves was too hittable against mein and mein goofed, condit won't . condit will catch him in the 2nd and jump on a sub.


Loan4Cards - I would normally choose Condit over Alves 99 out of 100 times, but considering Alves is on a hot winning streak and condit coming from an injury, i will have to choose Alves by TKO.


AandN Sports Cards - Condit


Jeremy Fullerton - Although a few years younger than the two, I feel Thiago is primed for a Lawler/Arlovski-esque resurgence. Look for a 2nd round finish from the Pitbull.


Quiksand - I think Condit will win a decision.


Beyond the Cage - Dave - Condit.  Jim - Very tough matchup both have the ability to knock each other out but I think Carlos Condit is the more diverse striker so I'll pick him to win.


SCI - Carlos Condit (15.43) will defeat Thiago Alves (9.72)


Totals:  Carlos Condit:  8

             Thiago Alves:   3

Topps Announces 2015 UFC Champions

The brand name is the same, but there will be a few differences to this year's product.  More autos and no memorabilia cards in each box are the biggest changes.  The inclusion of Paige Van Zandt appears to be the biggest pre-sale draw on the checklist.  Check it out here:


http://www.cardboardconnection.com/ufc-cards/2015-topps-ufc-champions-trading-cards


Discuss the new product in the forums here:


http://www.combatcardboard.com/apps/forums/topics/show/13184881-topps-announces-2015-champions