Pros Picks: Liddell vs. Rua
A few years back, a showdown between Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua would have been a fight fan’s dream matchup. Liddell was the defending UFC light heavyweight champion and at the top of his game while laying out opponents like kitchen tile. Rua was on a meteoric rise through Pride Fighting Championships’ ranks, rivaling Liddell’s fistic floor masonry in Japan. Before Zuffa bought out Pride, it seemed like a full-scale tilt between these two explosive knockout artists would never materialize.
Thankfully the fight will finally come to fruition this Saturday at UFC 97 in Montreal, but like Liddell’s stellar conquest of Rua’s former Chute Boxe teammate Wanderlei Silva, the matchup is being purchased off the shelf a few years after its expiration date. Looking at his most recent bouts, Liddell’s age appears to be catching up to him and the 39-year-old icon just might be a bit past his fighting prime.
Rua, 27, has had a rocky transition to the cage, where his stamina has been harshly tested. Once feared for his heavy, looping punches, Liddell has been knocked out at the hands of Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans in the last two years. Rua was soundly beaten by Forrest Griffin and nearly suffocated in a near hilarious, though triumphant, scuffle with fighting fossil Mark Coleman.
Luckily for the fans though, Liddell-Rua should still be an all-out war, a skirmish that could wind up being a “fight of the year” candidate when all is said and done. Will Liddell’s experience and hunger to recapture his title, along with a new striking coach, earn him another highlight-reel knockout? Will Rua have made the necessary adjustments to avoid exahaustion and finally get on the tear that UFC fans expected from him from the start?
Many professional trainers and fighters think they have the answer to those questions. Sherdog.com recently polled dozens of the pros in an attempt to get a read on the pulse of the MMA elite. Some were a little hesitant to comment on the fight, but the brave ones put their names and reputations on the line and boldly picked a winner.
Roy Jones Jr. Called Out Again By MMA Fighter
But this time it's not Anderson Silva or anyone from UFC. According to GracieFighter.com, Jones is being called out for a boxing match by Strikeforce's Nick Diaz. Such a fight is more likely to happen than a Silva-Jones fight because SF is more flexible about letting their guys fight elsewhere and because of their alliance with Showtime-a network that regularly shows boxing. UFC of course has neither.
Affliction/Dream Co-promotion Rumor is so crazy it's almost sane
Want to hear something totally insane and probably not true? That was a rhetorical question. Of course you want to hear this. According to a Croatian newspaper article translated for us by Robert of betwwx.com, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic’s next bout will be this July in an Affliction/Dream co-promotional event full of all kinds of fights that only sort of make sense.
look i dont know if this is a rumor only or could actually happen. take it for what its worth.
Strikeforce Matchmaker Mendez Quits
Strikeforce may be about to put out the "Now Hiring" sign for the job of matchmaker. Previous matchmaker Javier Mendez has quit the promotion effective immediately, citing no longer being able to be both a matchmaker and a trainer at Arizona Kickboxing Academy (AKA). No immediate word yet on plans for finding a replacement.
Larson Official For UFC 98, Fight Dropped To Prelim
UFC 98 is now again officially complete with the official announcement that Brock Larson will replace the injured Josh Koscheck and face Chris Wilson. As a result of this change, the Larson-Wilson fight has been dropped from PPV to prelim, with James Irvin vs. Drew McFedries promoted to PPV as the replacement.
Coleman Granted License For UFC 100
Now the UFC 100 fight between Mark Coleman & Stephan Bonnar is official following the NSAC granting Coleman a one-fight license. As a rule, all fighters over the age of 35 have to contact the commission to discuss any concerns that they may have. Coleman appeared before the NSAC in person and discussed the concerns with NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer and other Commission members.
Nate Quarry talks UFC 97 & Video Games!
PDG: UFC 97 in Montréal, Canada is a pretty stacked card; what fights are you looking forward to seeing that night?
Quarry: Any time that you get a chance to fight on a card with Chuck Liddell and Anderson Silva, it is a real treat. I have been a fan of Chuck's for a long time and we are also friends. So being able to be there and to say I fought on the same card as Chuck Liddell is a real honor. That is something that I will always remember.
Frank Trigg offers to "retire" Frank Shamrock
UFC, PRIDE and Strikeforce veteran – and co-host of MMAjunkie.com Radio – Frank Trigg (19-6) is currently on a four-fight win streak, yet he doesn't know where or when his next bout will take place.
But on Wednesday's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Trigg identified one opponent he believes would be easy prey: Strikeforce middleweight Frank Shamrock (23-10-2).
"They can have me fight him any time they want up there," Trigg said. "Put it back at 180 (pounds) again, and I'll put him into retirement. It's not that difficult. Frank Shamrock's only got like two or three fights left in his life."
Trigg fought once for the California-based organization, defeating Falaniko Vitale in October 2008. The 36-year-old said he would love the opportunity to return to the organization in a chance to prove just how far Shamrock has fallen in recent defeats to Nick Diaz and Cung Le.
"How much [expletive] can you talk to Frank Shamrock?" Trigg asked. "He's not that good. The sport has passed him by.
"Do you really want to be seen training on Lamaze balls? Is that really what you want to do? That's what he does. Half of his techniques are done on Lamaze balls. I'm like, 'OK. That's really interesting. That's great. Who's teaching you your takedown defense?'"
Trigg questioned Shamrock's commitment to preparation for his April 11 main event with Diaz at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
"You live in [expletive] San Jose," Trigg said. "There's like 75 great wrestlers that live right down the street from you. You don't train with any of them? That doesn't make any sense to me.
"You're a great striker, you're incredibly athletic, you have a great ability to talk before the fights, you've got a great ability to sell the fight. But then you're striking hasn't changed. Your ability, your flexibility, your ability to hit your punches hasn't changed. You haven't learned – knowing full well against a guy who's going to do takedowns – how to stop a takedown and how to keep it on your feet where you would have had a shot to win.
"But then, you're on your feet and you got out-punched by a jiu-jitsu guy. It doesn't make any sense."
While Trigg's career has been filled with bouts against the world's top competitors, he last fought in a unanimous-decision win against an unheralded Danny Babcock. While the win certainly wasn't a career-builder, Trigg insists Shamrock's current 1-3 streak proves he's no longer relevant.
"The sport's just passed [Shamrock] by," Trigg said. "It's the same thing I said to Ken (Shamrock). It's the same thing I said to Mark Coleman. It's the same thing I said to Tito Ortiz: The sport has passed you by.
"You haven't adjusted. You haven't learned. You haven't spent the time being in the academy every day trying to learn. You're out there [expletive] around doing other stuff when you're not training. It's not smart anymore for this sport...
Strikeforce's Melendez not comfortable waiting on Thomson for return
The main card of this past Saturday's "Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz" took a major hit when lightweight champ Josh Thomson was a late scratch.
Gilbert Melendez (15-2) saved the show with a stunning knockout of Thomson's replacement, Rodrigo Damm, earning the organization's interim lightweight title in the process.
But like so many interim title holders before him, Melendez, recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) there's still work to be done before he'll truly feel like a title holder.
I think its great Gilbert feels the way he does and doesn't want to just sit around and wait for Josh to get healed up...he has the attitude of a champion
USA TODAY Launches Online Mixed Martial Arts Community
USA TODAY has launched MMA Fighting Stances, an online mixed martial arts community moderated by Sergio Non. MMA Fighting Stances can be found at mma.usatoday.com.
With the addition of MMA Fighting Stances and the recent launch of the USA TODAY/SB Nation Consensus MMA Rankings, USA TODAY becomes the first national newspaper to add mixed martial arts into its regular sports coverage. As a mainstream media brand, USA TODAY offers another point of entry to the growing legions of MMA fans.
MMA Fighting Stances will give hard-core and casual MMA fans a chance to dissect the most important and interesting fights, news, events, personalities, analyses and anomalies of mixed martial arts. In his role as community moderator, Sergio Non tackles the broader questions about the sport’s evolution and gets to know the athletes through original reporting and regular Q&A interviews. Non will also interact with readers as they share their thoughts, swap stories and speak directly to each other using USATODAY.com’s online community tools.
MMA Fighting Stances is the latest addition to an expanding roster of USA TODAY online communities. Recently created are Open Road, a consumer-oriented site for both auto enthusiasts and everyday Americans who love their cars and trucks; Hotel Check-In, a hotel community targeting business travelers; Game Hunters, with a focus on video games and “interactive awesomeness;” The Oval, dedicated to tracking the Obama administration; and Faith & Reason, a conversation about religion, spirituality and ethics. Several new communities will roll out and re-launch through the spring.
MacDonald Inks Round 5 Deal
The Fight Network has the info on Jason MacDonald signing a figurine deal with Round 5:
Pavelich Sports Entertainment is pleased to announce that Jason “The Athlete” MacDonald has signed a deal with toy manufacturer Round 5 MMA to create his very own action figure.
MacDonald, a native of Edmonton, Alberta, will now join a very exclusive and elite group of fighters that have all collaborated with Round 5 to produce some of the most detailed and unique MMA action figures in the world.
“Since we are based in Ontario, I am particularly excited that Jason MacDonald is the first Canadian to sign with Round 5,” said Damon Lau, Round 5 President and Co-Founder. “He is one of the most successful and popular MMA stars in the country and enjoys a strong following across North America.”
It is interesting that Round 5 is now reaching into the mid-tier level with their signings. The initial signings have been high profile: Couture, Matt Hughes, Wanderlei, Rampage, etc. When looking at the mid tier fighters, Round 5 may look to hit those fighters that have some degree of tenure with the UFC, giving them name recognition if not superstar status. Other factors like being a regional draw (MacDonald’s Canadian roots) may also be taken into consideration.
Filho says no to Bellator, back to training at Team Link
Now after having overcome his demons and back on track, the still valued middleweight fighter is now training out of Ludlow, Mass., with Team Link featuring Gabriel Gonzaga. He is set to make his return soon, but where? “Right now we’re in negotiations with some different organizations, but I believe he’ll be fighting by summertime somewhere,” explained Soares.
Previously reported to be in negotiations with the new Bellator Fighting Championships organization, it appears the possibility of Filho fighting there is a no go. “The contract (Bellator) was offering was too restrictive. It was unreasonable.”
Fedor Discusses his Favorite Fights
"Every fight is interesting, has its own history and atmosphere. I think all my opponents were tough. That is what I like in this sport. The fighters I most liked to face were (Minotauro) Nogueira and Cro Cop, both at their prime, both magic in their styles. I had to be very concentrated for them", said Fedor, who points the fight with Minotauro as the most important of his life.
Lyoto bets on Silva against Thales or Fedor, and helps train Satoshi Ishii
“Anderson normally weights 98kg, If Fedor fights him weighting 100kg, I believe Silva would win. Besides being very tactical, Anderson is a way superior technically and I truly believe He has good tolls to put Fedor in trouble”, said the Dragon from Brazilian Amazon. Lyoto also talked about the Olympic Judo champion, Ishii, who is training with him for almost 2 months. “He weights around 105kg and learns really fast. He improved a lot his striking since he arrived. Ishii is helping me a lot with my grappling game as well. Soon He will be ready to make his MMA debut and I believe He will do a great job”
After odd win over Cote, Anderson Silva has something to prove at UFC 97
"I wasn't very happy with the way that the fight ended," said Silva, who said he felt a kick he delivered in the second round is what wound up injuring Cote. "I felt that my performance was good in the fight. I felt that I showed – I executed everything that we did in training. But unfortunately, when he got that kick in the second round and in the third round his knee popped, the fight didn't necessarily end the way the world and myself would have expected.
Fitch vs. Thiago, Danzig vs. Miller official for UFC 100 in July
The organization today officially announced a long-rumored welterweight contest between Jon Fitch (18-3 MMA, 9-1 UFC) and Paulo Thiago as well as a recently discussed bout involving lightweights Mac Danzig and Jim Miller.
After being relegated to the preliminary card in his January bout with Akihiro Gono, Fitch's bout with Thiago has been scheduled for the UFC 100 main card.