, Port Arthur, Texas


October 12, 2013

David Estrada column: UFC bringing heavyweights to Houston

PORT ARTHUR — The UFC returns to Houston next weekend for the first time since 2011 and this

time it's got a distinct flavor much different than the last time.

    UFC 136 held in October 2011 was smaller fighter focused, featuring both the UFC

lightweight and UFC featherweight championships. UFC 166 being held next

Saturday will showcase to Houston Toyota Center fans the other end

of the spectrum – heavyweights.

    The main events of UFC 136 and UFC 166 provide an extraordinary juxtaposition.

    The main event of UFC 136 was the third bout of a trilogy between Frankie Edgar

and Gray "The Bully" Maynard. The UFC lightweight title was on the line for

this rubber match and Edgar won it via knockout to the roar of the Toyota Center

crowd. The main event of UFC 166 will be the third bout between Cain Velasquez

and Junior dos Santos. The UFC heavyweight title will be up for grabs with

Velasquez attempting to defend it.

    The co-main event of UFC 136 pitted featherweights against each other. Jose

Aldo went head-to-head with Kenny Florian for the title in that weight class.

At 145 pounds these two were as speedy and agile as MMA fighters get.

    The co-main event of UFC 166 will feature two heavyweight bruisers, Daniel Cormier

and Roy "Big Country" Nelson. Cormier hails from across the border in

Lafayette, L., and is an undefeated UFC heavyweight with Olympic-class

wrestling skills. Big Country Nelson is the beer drinker's champion with

legions of fans. Both Cormier and Nelson pack big power and are known to take a


    Size and style contrasts aside, UFC 166 will offer fans other compelling bouts

deeper than its top-heavyness.

    One bout on the main card fans have circled is the Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego

Sanchez lightweight showdown. Melendez has long been regarded as a top three

lightweight fighter while fighting in the Strikeforce promotion. Sanchez is a

UFC lightweight stalwart and original Ultimate Fighter champion.

    Both are known    for putting on the most exciting bouts in MMA so fans are salivating for this


    The UFC's smallest weight class, flyweight, will also be represented on the main

card. The Ultimate Fighter 14 flyweight champion, John Dodson will face Darrell

Montague. Dobson has the tools to become the outright UFC flyweight title

holder and Montague can be viewed as a test for him. This flyweight matchup

will be like fireworks compared to bombs that are the heavyweights.

    For Southeast Texas fans who could not make it over the the Toyota Center, the

UFC 166 main event will be available on pay-per-view. Additionally, the

preliminary fights will air on Fox Sports 1 (TWC 97, DISH 150, DIRECTV 219)

starting at 7 PM Central.

    David Estrada Jr. is a Mixed Martial Arts columnist for the Port Arthur News. He can be e-mailed at

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  • Bassmaster Elites are coming back

    The Bassmaster Elite Series returns to Southeast Texas in March 2015 to fish out of Orange.
    The announcement was made last week, ahead of Bassmaster’s official tournament schedule announcement and the buzz is already strong in Southeast Texas and beyond.
    I was in Orlando, Fla. attending the ICAST (fishing trade) show and talked with a number of top anglers including Kevin VanDam, Mike Iaconelli and Shaw Grigsby who said it was no surprise they would return considering the massive turnout for the weigh-ins and that the area welcomed them in a very special way.
    It’s far too early to speculate anything like who the top contenders will be or how the fishing will be but there are some things to keep in mind and to look for over the next few months and into the event itself.
    • Prefishing-There is a pre-fishing cutoff that usually extends to right before the Bassmaster Classic and I fully expect most of the anglers in the Elites to come back and prefish.
    Last go-round probably 2/3 of the field fished the area but this time I expect that to be just about everyone. Many of the anglers that did not pre-fish told me they expected to have a lot of water to fish but the sheer volume and diversity was almost overwhelming.
    Beginning probably in the early fall we will see many anglers fishing local waters to get a better idea on how to approach the area.
    • East to West Runs-The Elite anglers fished far and wide but I expect even more running next go-round. After launching from the Simmons Drive Boat Ramp in Orange angler Bill Lowen ran down the Intracoastal, across Galveston Bay and fished in the Clear Lake area and placed in the top 12. The more adventurous anglers will try super long runs, in my opinion, even longer than last time to try and score on big fish. The Intracoastal Canal system makes that possible.
    • Sabine River -Very few of the anglers actually fished in the Sabine River despite the event being called the “Sabine River Challenge”. I think that will change with more anglers running as far north as they can to find pockets of fish that receive little pressure and perhaps a four or five-pounder to push them over the top.
    • Bigger Turnout-Last year some 34,000 people attended the event which set a Bassmaster record for an Elite event.
     It was broken a couple of weeks later in New York but I fully expect the 2015 tournament to draw 40,000 plus. The reason they are coming back is not for the stellar fishing because while we have lots of bass, everyone knows our fishery cannot compare to Toledo Bend for example.
    The support from the public however was amazing and that is what is bringing the top anglers on the planet to fish our area.
    We will have the very best coverage of the event beginning now and leading up to it with exclusive interviews with all of the top pros with not only their thoughts on the big event but with unique tips on how you can catch more fish.
    It’s an exciting time and I look forward to bringing you special coverage on a special event.
    (To contact Chester Moore, e-mail him at You can hear him on “Moore Outdoors” Fridays from 6-7 p.m. on Newstalk AM 560 KLVI or online at or watch him on “God’ Outdoors with Chester Moore” Saturdays at 10 a.m. on

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    The Mid County Babe Ruth 18U team is once again knocking on the World Series door. Mid County will host the Southwest Regional at Nederland High School starting today. Mid County’s first game of the tournament is slated for 7 p.m. Friday against Pine Bluff, Ark. Thursday was a special day for Mid County Babe Ruth as two locals, Jimmy Collins (shown speaking) and Skip Hopkins (back left) were inducated intot he Southwest Regional Babe Ruth Hall of Fame. Both Hopkins and Collins have been involved in Babe Ruth for over 40 consecutive years either as player, coach or board member. There are nine teams in the tournament with the winner headed to Washington state for the World Series.

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From the Fieldhouse blog