UFN 20: Escudero Now Facing Dunham
After being pulled form his scheduled UFC Fight Night 20 fight with Nik Lentz for still-unknown reasons, it now appears Efrain Escudero will face Evan Dunham at UFN 20 instead. Lentz is now facing Jeremy Stephens.
Martin Kampmann vs. Rory Markham targeted for January's UFC 108 in Las Vegas
A potential slugfest is currently in the works for UFC 108 as Martin Kampmann (15-3 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Rory Markham (16-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) have been targeted for a welterweight contest at the event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the event that both fighters have verbally agreed to the contest, though bout agreements have yet to be signed.
While the UFC has yet to officially announce the event, UFC 108 is expected to take place Jan. 2 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Lyle Beerbohm inks multi-fight deal with Strikeforce
Undefeated prospect Lyle Beerbohm (13-0) has inked a multi-year deal with Strikeforce.
"Fancy Pants" has already fought twice for the organization in his two-and-a-half year career, but now Beerbohm is set to make appearances on a more frequent basis.
"I'm glad the negotiation process is over, and now it's time to focus 100 percent on training and fighting," Beerbohm told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I'm excited to move forward. By the end of 2010, I will be the Strikeforce lightweight champion."
Paulo Filho Out of Dream.12
In another setback for a talented but troubled MMA fighter, former World Extreme Cagefighting middleweight champion Paulo Filho is off Sunday's Dream 12 card.
Filho, who a couple of years ago was widely regarded as the No. 2 middleweight in the world, has been removed from the official Dream.12 fight card. Dream has not made any official announcement, but MMArocks.pl is reporting that Filho didn't show up in Japan for his scheduled fight with Dong Sik Yoon, and that Tarec Saffiedine will now fight Dong instead.
* UPDATE *
DREAM pulls Paulo Filho from Sunday's DREAM.12 card, manager says fighter "OK"
The ongoing drama of Paulo Filho's recent fight career began a new chapter earlier today after officials pulled the former WEC champ from Sunday's DREAM.12 card and claimed they can't located the fighter.
Filho (18-1) was slated to fight Yoon Dong Sik (4-7) at the event, which takes place Oct. 25 at Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan.
Ed Soares, who represents Filho, today confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the fighter won't compete on the card but declined to go into details. However, he wanted to reassure fans that Filho "is OK."
Almeida explains Fitch fight cancellation
“My knee popped during training at Renzo (Gracie’s) this week and right away I knew it wasn't good. (I) got an MRI and the results were a sprained and partially torn MCL and a tear also of my meniscus.
“(I) went to an orthopedist, who has treated many pro athletes from hockey through baseball and football here in the tri-state area, (and) we discussed surgery, but he said that (the) MCL tends to heal pretty well. (As a result of his diagnosis) I will be wearing a brace and doing physical therapy three times a week over the next four weeks.
“I was really scared about possibly having to sit out 6 months or more, so I'm stoked I don't have to go through surgery and a long rehabilitation period. My goal is to be back training in four weeks and hopefully fighting again late February or March.
“It is heartbreaking to have to pull out of such a big fight. I hate to leave the fans hanging and the UFC scratching to find a replacement. I was really looking forward to this fight.”
No secrets for Ben Rothwell at UFC 104
LOS ANGELES – There was no shade of secrecy in Ben Rothwell’s pre-fight hype talk with reporters.
After 10 years working his way to the top of the mixed martial arts world, Rothwell, 28, was serious as a heart attack about what he was going to do to UFC 104 opponent Cain Velasquez – and what Velasquez was going to try to do to him.
“It’s no secret that he’s working to become a kickboxer who has a wrestling background, and if he gets in trouble, he’s going to take me to the ground, try to control me on the ground, grind out a decision,” said Rothwell, staring straight forward. “Basically, my game plan is to show him that he’s not the better kickboxer, stop his takedowns, and if it does go to the ground, beat him there too.
Dana White considers futures of Mirko Filipovic, Quinton Jackson and Chuck Liddell
LOS ANGELES – A trio of recently departed MMA superstars may not actually be any closer to returning to the promotion, but UFC president Dana White refused to rule out a return trip to the octagon by Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson or Chuck Liddell.
Filipovic, Jackson and Liddell have all recently been considered defunct parts of the organization for a variety of reasons.
White addressed all three fighters' status following Thursday's UFC 104 pre-event press conference.
"I haven't talked to Mirko since he left the last fight," White said. "He's one of those guys, when he starts thinking about what he wants to do, he'll call me."
UFC update: UFC 105 sold-out, Mexico likely in April, Virginia next new domestic market
LOS ANGELES – The UFC's ventures abroad continue to earn financial success, and UFC president Dana White today declared November's "UFC 105: Couture vs. Vera" in the U.K. an official sell-out.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was informed by additional Zuffa officials that less than 1,000 seats remain for the Nov. 14 event at Manchester Evening News Arena in Manchester, England. All are expected to be gone by fight time.
White also said the UFC is targeting an April trip to Mexico, while confirming the organization's recently rumored trip to the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va., for UFC Fight Night 20 on Jan. 11 was also official.
While the UFC 105 trip to the U.K. is already a success, White said traveling internationally presents some unique financial challenges.
Bas, Miletich & More talk Shogun v Machida
Bas Rutten – “Its going to be a great fight! Shogun is the better striker (hands), kicking wise I think he has the same skills as Machida he might kick harder though plus he has those crazy knees. Shogun is wilder than Machida, Machida is great at staying outside the opponents distance and countering the attacks that are thrown at him. The trick to beating Machida is to let him attack you and counter him, since he's a counter fighter you will take that away from him. Machida is more accurate then Shogun with his strikes but Shogun has a wider arsenal of strikes. Difficult one to predict, from what I hear from EVERYBODY who trains with Machida, they can't touch him. If he plays that game (thank God for 5 rounds) and counters the strikes from Shogun, he wins the fight. If one of those crazy combinations from Shogun comes through though, he will win. No prediction from me, I just break down the fights, I suck at predictions! Godspeed and party on!”
Despite issuing 3,300 free tickets, Dana White happy with UFC 104 sales
LOS ANGELES – When the UFC first visited Los Angeles' Staples Center for UFC 60 in May 2006, the event was considered by many as a bit of a disappointment at the gate after it attracted just 10,347 paid attendees.
Just two days away from the organization's return to the venue, UFC president Dana White said he's content with the sales this time around.
And that's despite the fact that White said he has distributed 3,300 complimentary tickets in recent fan giveaways.
Chris Horodecki signs with WEC, likely to meet Anthony Njokuani at WEC 45
Chris Horodecki (13-1 MMA, 0-0 WEC), one of the biggest stars to come out of the now-defunct International Fight League, has signed with World Extreme Cagefighting and is expected to make his promotional debut against fellow lightweight Anthony Njokuani (11-2 MMA, 2-1 WEC) in December at WEC 45.
The WEC announced the signing via Twitter, and company officials told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's expected to debut in December.
Although the WEC couldn't confirm an opponent, MMAjunkie.com has since learned it'll likely be Njokuani.
Jon Fitch likely to rematch Thiago Alves at UFC 107 in December
Late Wednesday UFC welterweight contender Jon Fitch (19-3 MMA, 10-1 UFC) announced his UFC 106 fight had been canceled because of a knee injury suffered by opponent by Ricardo Almeida (11-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC).
However, another bout – a rematch from 2006 – may be on the way.
A source close to the UFC today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Fitch likely will instead fight fellow contender Thiago Alves (16-5 MMA, 9-3 UFC) in December at UFC 107; Alves' rumored opponent on that card, Paulo Thiago (11-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC), would instead be booked for another bout.
After UFC 103 and UFC 104 specials, Spike TV may air additional pay-per-view prelims
Mixed-martial-arts fans rejoiced last month when the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV announced two bouts from UFC 103 would air for free on the cable station.
Used to dishing out $45 for pay-per-view events, fans got two preliminary fights for free – and they'll get two more on Saturday when Spike TV again broadcasts two bouts from the UFC 104 preliminary card.
While a guest on Wednesday's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Spike TV Vice President of Sports and Special Brian J. Diamond didn't count out the possibility of the station airing additional preliminary-card bouts on future cards.
After "dark days" of career, UFC 104's Shogun Rua doesn't care what you think
LOS ANGELES – For a man who not too long ago was widely considered the best light heavyweight fighter in the world, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (18-3 MMA, 2-1 UFC) isn't being given much of a chance in his UFC title bout with current champ Lyoto Machida (15-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
But as the all-Brazilian main event of Saturday's "UFC 104: Machida vs. Shogun" pay-per-view card nears, Rua has a simple message for those who may doubt him: Don't believe the hype.
"I don't care really about the criticism and all that talk," Rua told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through his manager, Eduardo Alonso. "Whatever people want to say, they're entitled to their opinions. It's a matter of me taking care of what I say and what I do and showing my work."
Joe Warren Off Vale Tudo Japan 2009, Cory Grant In (Updated)
A last-minute change has been made to the upcoming Vale Tudo Japan 2009 event at JCB Hall in Tokyo on October 30. A torn knee ligament suffered in training means Joe Warren is off and will not face Rumina Sato. Cory Grant, Warren's teammate a former college wrestler at Michigan, is the replacement.
Update: Warren's manager says the reason for the withdrawal is NOT an injury but being unable to agree to terms for the fight. Warren is not injured.
Machida says Shogun will be 2 or 3 steps behind
UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida isn’t buying Mauricio “Shogun” Rua’s promise to be patient when they face off Saturday at UFC 104.
Rua, 27, in July told MMAWeekly.com that Machida’s past opponents had gone wrong by rushing to the attack. He would wait for the right moment to strike at the champion.
“This is likely the key, to find the pace and the rhythm, mostly the timing of the strikes to be able to connect and to make it a fight,” said Rua.
Takeya Mizugaki vs. Damacio Page in the works for WEC 45 in December
A bantamweight contest between sluggers Takeya Mizugaki (12-3-2 MMA, 1-1 WEC) and Damacio Page (12-4 MMA, 3-1 WEC) is currently in the works for December's as-yet-unannounced WEC 45 event.
Page, who's 4-1 in his past five fights, looks to build on back-to-back wins in the WEC. "The Angel of Death" has needed just 80 seconds total during his 2009 wins over Will Campuzano (submission) and Marcos Galvao (TKO).
Mizugaki, who made his WEC debut in April in a "Fight of the Year" loss to then-champ Miguel Torres, currently has a 1-1 record in the promotion. Mizugaki earned a razor-thin split-decision win over Jeff Curran at August's WEC 42 event for his fifth win in six fights.
WVR Announces 10 For 12/31 Event
World Victory Road today announced 10 participants for it's 12/31 NYE event that will go up against Fields Dynamite!! in Japan. Dubbed/nicknamed "Sengoku Raiden Championships", the announced fighters include former Sengoku Lightweight Champion Satoru Kitaoka, Sengoku FW posterboy Hatsu Hioki, current Sengoku Lightweight Champion Mizuto Hirota defending the title against an opponent TBA (after the next event), and the MMA debut of Satoshi Ishii-he will face Hidehiko Yoshida.