Forrest Griffin: My Jiu Jitsu Is As Good as Nogueira's
The Nogueira brothers are widely regarded as two of the best Brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners in mixed martial arts. But as Forrest Griffin prepares to fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira at UFC 114 on May 29, he says he thinks his jiu jitsu is just as good as Nogueira's -- and that he actually wants to take the fight to the ground.
"I think I'm actually a better wrestler and my jits I think is just as good as his, and I just have to not get choked," Griffin said.
I'm not convinced that Griffin's jiu jitsu is as good as Nogueira's, but I will say I can understand why, after watching Nogueira's impressive TKO win over Luis Cane at UFC 106, he'd be more concerned about what Nogueira can do to him standing up than what Nogueira can do to him on the ground.
"He's a southpaw, he's really tough, he's got really quick hands," Griffin said. "Actually, I was surprised watching a little film of him, I was hoping he'd be slower than me but he might be a little quicker."
With that in mind, Griffin said his game plan against Nogueira is simple: "Not getting punched by the left hand, or maybe the right hook."
Alistair Overeem K-1 Fight Set for April 3
Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem is scheduled to fight a K-1 kickboxing match against Dzevad Poturak on April 3, just six weeks before he is supposed to defend his title against Brett Rogers at the May 15 Strikeforce show.
The scheduling calls into question whether Overeem, who hasn't defended the Strikeforce belt since he won it on November 16, 2007, will really be ready to go against Rogers.
Overeem will be favored to beat Poturak, a Bosnian who's on a two-fight losing streak. But it's certainly possible that Poturak could knock Overeem out, or that Overeem could suffer an injury in victory, and that Overeem won't be healthy enough to fight Rogers.
It's also possible that Overeem will back out of the fight with Rogers for scheduling reasons: Overeem has typically not needed much time off between fights, but Rogers will give him a tough test, and Overeem might decide that he wants a longer training camp to get ready for his heavyweight title defense.
And, finally, although Overeem has insisted that he's going to prioritize MMA over kickboxing in 2010, it's possible that Overeem will put on a spectacular show in beating Poturak, and that K-1 will pay him enough money to continue focusing on kickboxing and turn his back on Strikeforce.
The bottom line, then, is that the May 15 Overeem vs. Rogers fight should be considered tentative at best until after April 3.
Note: The April 3 K-1 show will be a very good one. In addition to Overeem vs. Poturak, the fights on the card include Semmy Schilt vs. Errol Zimmerman, Badr Hari vs. Alexey Ignashov, Jerome Le Banner vs. Ruslan Karaev and Kyotaro vs. Peter Aerts.
Seth Petruzelli vs. Houston Alexander Allegedly Set for April 23
A bout between Seth Petruzelli and Houston Alexander is reportedly set for the April 23 mixed martial arts card at the DCU Center in Worcester, Massachusetts -- the same card on which former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is planning to fight former World's Strongest Man Mariusz Pudzianowski.
Before we go any further, I should note that I'm skeptical that this card is going to happen at all. I was unable to get in touch with the promoters and the bout is not listed at the DCU Center web site. But the Boston Herald has published multiple reports saying the fight card is going forward, so it's at least worth exploring what kind of card this would be.
Petruzelli vs. Alexander would certainly draw some interest, as the two of them have both fought Kimbo Slice, which means they have been involved in two of the most-watched fights in American MMA history. Petruzelli destroyed Kimbo with a 14-second knockout, while Alexander lost to Kimbo in a dull decision. Both guys are UFC washouts who don't have much going for them in their MMA careers right now, but I'd think Petruzelli would have to be considered the favorite if he fights Alexander.
Sylvia vs. Pudzianowski would draw a lot of attention, both in the United States and in Poland, where Pudzianowski is quite famous. But Pudzianowski is scheduled to fight in Poland on May 7, which serves as further evidence that this card isn't going to happen.
The promoters say they're going to put the card on pay-per-view, and I can't imagine that it would do much of a buyrate. In fact, I'm not even sure if the cable and satellite companies would carry it -- if it happens at all. But if they do, I'll be watching. It would be hard to look away.
Coker: Relationship with M-1 Global strong, Emelianenko news "in a couple days"
When it became apparent that Strikeforce's second show on network television would be held without the presence of heavyweight superstar Fedor Emelianenko, numerous theories were put together by a variety of MMA observers.
All of them seemed to spell certain doom for the partnership between Strikeforce and M-1 Global, the company that represents Emelianenko and of which he is a partial owner.
But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the relationship with M-1 Global is still in fine shape, and he said he's in the final stages of negotiations for Emelianenko's next Strikeforce co-promoted fight.
"I can tell you this: we've been having really good dialogue with M-1 Global and (M-1 Global president) Vadim Finkelchtein, and I think we're in the final stages of buttoning everything up to make that happen again," Coker said. "I think we'll have an announcement soon on that, but I feel very confident we'll be promoting Fedor here in the near future."
Rumors have run rampant that the business ties between the Strikeforce and M-1 Global have soured since the two companies co-promoted this past November's "Fedor vs. Rogers" event.
Coker admitted there were a few items that needed to be addressed, but he felt the situation was anything but critical.
"When I dealt with companies in Japan (during my time with K-1), it's the same thing," Coker said. "You have cultural differences, and you have expectations. When expectations and the cultural differences meet with the cultural differences here and the expectations of an American company, sometimes there's some differences, and there's some things that we needed to button up.
"We're at the 11th hour of getting this done, and I think in a couple of days we'll have something to announce."
While it's certainly too late to work out a potential late addition to April 17's "Strikeforce: Nashville" show, Coker said he doesn't expect Emelianenko to stay out of commission for too long.
"It depends how long it takes to button everything up, but I would say sometime in the later part of the second quarter or beginning part of the third quarter, you'll see Fedor back in the cage fighting on a co-promotion between Strikeforce and M-1 Global," Coker said. "Depending on how long it takes to button things up – I mean, he's going to need what, 60 or 70 days to get ready – that will determine when he fights."
And when Emelianenko does return, Coker said it won't necessarily be on CBS.
"The rumors that I hear about 'he has to fight on CBS' are absolutely untrue," Coker said. "We have a good relationship with Showtime. Eventually, Fedor will be in the pay-per-view business with M-1 and Strikeforce and CBS and Showtime collectively contributing. There's not a certain media partner that he has to fight on. That's never been part of his contract, so that's all just speculation and rumors."
So it appears Strikeforce may be involved in another Emelianenko fight sooner rather than later. And perhaps most importantly for those vested in the future of the California-based promotion, Coker said the financial success of Strikeforce does not rest on the shoulders of "The Last Emperor."
"Our company is not built off of one athlete," Coker said. "Our company, we have some amazing athletes on our roster now, and we've got some of the best fighters in the world. I think they can compete against anybody. Fedor is an amazing athlete. I've followed his career for many years. Fedor is Fedor, and he's an amazing asset, but our company is not built financially off of just one guy.
"Believe me, my guys are very smart about building a model that works for us and works for M-1 Global. I think that we're at that point where that had to be looked at. We looked at it. We're not going to put all of our eggs into one basket and roll the dice with one guy. We're built for longevity. This is not a sprint; this is going to be a long-distance race."
Bellator vet Travis Browne signs with UFC, faces James McSweeney in debut
Undefeated heavyweight Travis Browne (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and is expected to make his octagon debut against "The Ultimate Fighter 10" veteran James McSweeney (4-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
Sources close to the situation informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the new deal and said both fighters have agreed to the contest, but a date has not been finalized for the meeting.
The bout could either take place at UFC 115, expected to take place June 12 at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, or at The Ultimate Fighter 11 Finale held one week later in Las Vegas.
Browne has fought eight times since his professional debut this past February with seven of his nine victories coming by way of TKO or knockout. In his most recent performance, Browne knocked out veteran Aaron Brink in 35 seconds for the interim Gladiator Challenge heavyweight title this past Sunday in California.
In early February, Browne knocked out "The Ultimate Fighter 10" veteran Abe Wagner in eight seconds to take the Night of Champions heavyweight belt. He is a veteran of Bellator Fighting Championships' first season.
Browne currently trains at the Alliance Training Center alongside UFC veterans Brandon Vera and Joey Beltran and WEC bantamweight contender Dominick Cruz. When he's not in the gym, he runs a company that trains dogs for military service.
McSweeney, 29, graduated from his turn on "The Ultimate Fighter 10" with a TKO victory over fellow castmate Darrill Schoonover at the show's Spike TV finale this past December. However, he injured his hand in the fight and has since been forced to the bench for several months.
A former kickboxer, McSweeney works with Greg Jackson's squad in Albuquerque, N.M., and is a friend and training partner to former light heavyweight champion and "TUF 10" coach Rashad Evans.
KOTC champ Bobby Green promises exciting fights as he targets UFC contract
Bobby "King" Green (13-3) got his start fighting in backyards with no thought of YouTube stardom.
Green sized up who he wanted to fight that day and put socks on his hands to protect them while 100 or so acquaintances milled about. Then, it was go time.
"I just tried to entertain the crowd," Green recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
When a trainer told Green he had potential after spotting him at a grappling tournament he did on a lark, "King" leaped head-first into MMA and took fights on short notice. Sometimes, it was very short notice, as little as 20 minutes. But it was always about giving the audience a show – being memorable.
"Win or lose is not important for me," Green said.
Green has fought 16 times in a little more than two years. He's taken fights stateside on Friday and driven across the border to fight Saturday in Mexico. Matchmakers know he doesn't turn down fights.
One week ago, Green, who trains out of Pinnacle Jiu-Jitsu in Redlands, Calif., defeated Ricky Legere Jr. for the King of the Cage 160-pound championship.
"I do it whenever they call," Green said. "This is a lifestyle – versus a lot of guys that are doing the business right now. They're doing it because it's cool – maybe I can get a girlfriend or two out of this, maybe a little respect from their friends. But to me, it's just a lifestyle. This is what I do every day."
Green said he likes fighting so much, he'd do it for free. But with a new son in his life, that isn't in the cards. He isn't keeping his pace out of greed or a well of rage, but because he never wants his son to go without.
"Becoming a father changes you," Green said.
He usually makes between $3,000 and $4,000 dollars a fight – enough to last him a couple of months at a time if he spends it well. Like most up-and-comers, Green's not getting rich. He's fought but once on a national stage.
That fight, the first pay-per-view bout on "Affliction: Day of Reckoning," angers him to this day.
The battle lasted 4:55. Green faced current UFC fighter Dan Lauzon and was deducted two points for kicks to his opponent's groin.
Lauzon, brother to top UFC lightweight Joe Lauzon, pulled guard during the fight and quickly worked himself to Green's back at the end of the first round. With five seconds left, he tapped Green out with a rear-naked choke.
Lauzon returned to the UFC in the wake of Afflliction's collapse, while Green continues to make his way on the smaller circuit.
Green claims only one of his kicks went south and that Lauzon faked the rest for show.
"He was trying to get a breather because he couldn't handle the pressure," Green said. "He got his butt whooped the whole fight, and then he ends up catching a lucky choke, and then, all of a sudden, his balls don't hurt any more and he can do backflips.
"He was crying all day that I was kicking him in the balls, and as soon as it's over, he's doing a back flips. If my balls hurt, I would not be doing back flips off the rope."
Green took a little over a month to lick his wounds and got back to work. He amassed a 4-1 record in 2009, including a victory over Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, before his King of the Cage victory this past week.
It's Green's dream to compete on "The Ultimate Fighter" as a lightweight. He wants another chance to prove he belongs in the big leagues. No more fighting month-to-month.
That's why when he fights, he tries to bring the backyard to the big stage.
"The most important thing is that the fight is exciting and people remember it."
Claude Patrick signs four-fight UFC deal, expected to make debut in Vancouver
It didn't take long for Claude Patrick (11-1) to take that next step in his career.
The Toronto, Ontario, Canada-based welterweight recently signed a four-fight deal with the UFC and is expected to make his octagon debut four provinces west in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Patrick today shared news of the signing with "The Fight Show with Mauro Ranallo," and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since learned from sources close to the promotion that while an opponent has not yet been determined, the Canadian is expected to compete on the as-yet-unannounced UFC 115 event.
UFC 115 is expected to take place June 12 at the 19,000-seat GM Place, a recent host for many of the 2010 Winter Olympics' games. A third light heavyweight grudge match between "The Ultimate Fighter 11" coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz is expected to headline the event.
A one-time veteran of the now-defunct International Fight League, Patrick most recently fought at Aggression MMA in Edmonton, Alberta, where he stopped Matt McGrath by guillotine choke in the third round of their co-main event fight.
Patrick has nine first-round stoppages to his credit and has won eight of those victories by submission.
In a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com, Patrick spoke of the hardships he's endured as a fighter in a Canadian province where MMA is illegal. He hoped the UFC's lobbying efforts in Toronto would help change the current laws banning the sport.
"I'm really looking forward to do the sport that I love," he said.
Patrick trains with Mark Bocek and Sean Pierson and runs the Elite Training Center in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario.
Mike Swick offered fight with Matt Serra on April 17, won't fight due to arm injury
Mike Swick (14-4 MMA, 9-3 UFC) can't straighten his left arm, much less train or fight.
The UFC welterweight spoke to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Friday after rumors surfaced of his participation in an as-yet-unannounced UFC event planned for Spike TV on April 17, the same date on which Strikeforce is slated to hold their second CBS-televised fight card.
Swick said the UFC offered a fight with Matt Serra (10-6 MMA, 7-6 UFC) on the quickly developing card through his management, but he had to turn it down due to his arm.
"[My management] knew about the situation and pretty much said I wasn't going to be able to do it," Swick said.
"The Ultimate Fighter" veteran recently got an MRI confirming a problem he's dealt with since his fight with Dan Hardy this past November at UFC 105. He will consult with a specialist Monday to determine options for treatment.
"The only way I'm going to get [my arm] to where it straights out, or even close to all the way out, is most likely the surgery," Swick said.
The arm is similar to the injury he sustained in the build-up to his fight with Marcus Davis in June 2008. Swick underwent surgery after the fight and had his elbow "scoped" to take out bone fragments accumulated from hard training.
Swick won't have a concrete timetable for his return until Monday, but wants to get back into the cage as soon as possible.
"I'm sure it's going to be along the lines as the first time I had surgery on my right arm," Swick said. "I don't remember how long that was, but I do know that I started back too soon and it slowed down the healing process.
"I'm going to have to be really smart about it, because I want to fight as soon as I can. The sooner I can fight, the better it is for me."
Swick said his recent adventures in Thailand with lightweight Roger Huerta, which he chronicled on his official blog, were for rest and relaxation and not to sharpen his skills.
Simply put, a fight with Serra in a little more than six weeks is just not in the cards.
"All I can really say on that is that I'm not (fighting him)," Swick said.
Chan Sung Jung Likely Headed To WEC
Japanese MMA veteran Chan Sung Jung, a Korean fighter with a 10-1 career mark, appears headed to WEC. Nicknamed "The Korean Zombie", Jung is in negotiations with WEC and a deal is expected to be done soon. No confirmation yet from WEC and no date set for a debut for Jung, who is expected to compete at Featherweight (he recently has competed at 143 in Japan).
Ben Askren: 'My wrestling and my grappling are good enough to beat anybody'
"I chose Bellator for a number of reasons. They offered me the best contract, I can get three fights done in three months, and on top of that I really think that they will do a good job of promoting me. I feel good about facing (Ryan) Thomas. I hear that he’s a good wrestler, and if that’s his strongest suit, obviously he’s not going to beat me there. I also hear that submissions are strong for him, but he’s not going to beat me there either. So for me this is a really good match-up."
Kiuma Kunioku Ready For Rebirth At 155 Pounds
With wins over Nate Marquardt, Frank Shamrock, Genki Sudo, and Yuki Kondo, you'd think that Kiuma Kunioku would be a household name to hardcore MMA fans, but truth be told the Japanese fighter has slipped under everybody's radar for far too long.
Couture, Kimbo, Forrest? Who's First For Toney?
Who gets the first shot at James Toney?
That is the million-dollar question... or likely somewhere near the million-dollar mark considering that Toney signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC.
It’s unclear how soon we’ll find out just who the former world champion boxer will draw in his Octagon debut, even UFC president Dana White told MMAWeekly.com content partner Yahoo! Sports that he wasn’t sure yet what he’d do with Toney.
Interview: Clay Guida on His Renewed Motivation, RV Living, and More
Clay Guida has twice been on the cusp of getting a title shot in the UFC’s ultra-competitive lightweight division, only to come up a little short. On the heels of back-to-back losses against Diego Sanchez and Kenny Florian, “The Carpenter” has a chance to get things rolling again on March 21st, when he faces Shannon Gugerty. Clay sat down with CagePotato to discuss training with Greg Jackson, why he's living in an RV in the desert, and much more.
Arona "hibernating to come back hunting"
Ricardo Arona was considered one of the best light heavyweight fighters of the world. But, when Pride ended, in 2007, Arona decided to stop competing for a while. Since then, the “Brazilian Tiger” kapt saying that this time off was helping him to think about everything he had done in his career.
‘Morango’ controls the mind to fight ‘Batman’
Fabrício “Morango” Camões debuted in the UFC with a draw against Caol Uno. Scheduled to return against Kurt “Batman” Pellegrino at UFC 111, the black belt under Royler Gracie is excited to win his first fight in the UFC octagon.
Tim Sylvia Off DREAM.13 Card, Looking at Pudzianowski, Sims Fights
With a fight falling through for the DREAM.13 event on March 22, former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia is next looking to fight against Mariusz Pudzianowski on April 23 and Wes Sims on June 5, his manager confirmed to MMA Fighting.
Although not officially announced, Sylvia has been training to fight at DREAM.13, but it appears his Japan debut will have to wait. He was first offered Josh Barnett and declined. He agreed on an opponent, but bowed out Thursday when offered a different opponent.
Coker declines comment on title talk, says Overeem vs. Rogers news might provide surprise
While the California-based Strikeforce organization has spent the past year building its roster of athletes, one of the most burning questions on MMA fans' minds regarding the promotion has been, "When will heavyweight champ Alistair Overeem return?"
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker confirmed on Thursday's edition of ESPN.com's "MMA Live" that Overeem's (32-11 MMA, 2-0 SF) return will indeed be on the promotion's as-yet-unannounced May event (believed to take place in St. Louis) in a fight with power-puncher Brett Rogers (10-1 MMA, 2-1 SF) as had been previously reported, but one simple question remains: Will the "Demolition Man's" title be on the line?
Coker refused to answer that question when he recently spoke with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), but he did say that fans could expect some surprises in forthcoming news.
"We're going to make an announcement next week, so I don't want to say anything about [the title implications of the fight], but it might be something that people are not expecting," Coker said.