Following back surgery, Goran Reljic takes up light training for UFC return
Goran Reljic's UFC debut couldn't have gone much better.
Pushing his professional career record to 8-0, the 25-year-old Croatian defeated Wilson Gouveia via second-round TKO and earned a $75,000 Fight of the Night bonus for his efforts.
Reljic (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) hasn't fought since that UFC 84 main-card bout a year ago, but his manager told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the middleweight recently recommenced light training and hopes to return to the UFC later this year.
Reljic had been slated to make his second UFC appearance in October at UFC 90. However, a back injury forced him out of his scheduled bout with Thales Leites just two weeks before the Chicago event.
"Since then we had been trying different (forms of) rehabilitation to solve his back problems," Relic's manager, Zoran Saric, said. "Three months ago, doctors in Croatia decided to do lower back/disc surgery. Everything went well, and Goran started light training for a month."
With Silva Partnership, Franklin Likely At 205 For Good
It's safe to say that, after his upcoming catch weight fight at 195, Rich Franklin is not going to fight any more Silvas at Middleweight or anybody else for that matter. His recent partnership with current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva means that, in his words, "Ace" is likely staying permanently at Light Heavyweight after he faces Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99.
Shawn Thompkins Suggests Rift With Wanderlei
Xtreme Couture coach Shawn Tompkins appears to have had something of a fall-out with Wanderlei Silva, judging by recent comments.
"With Wanderlei and I, we've worked together before -- we worked together with the Keith Jardine fight," Tompkins told MMA FanHouse. "We're great friends, I just think we have different ideas on what a training schedule should be.
Tompkins suggested that Silva had a more relaxed approach to training than was required, prompting to the two to part ways.
Affliction's Tom Atencio on MMA fight with UFC's Dana White: "Let's do it"
On June 27, at an Ultimate Chaos event in Mississippi, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio (1-0) will make his second appearance as a professional mixed-martial-arts fighter.
During a recent press conference for the event, Atencio seemed to hint he wanted to fight UFC President Dana White sometime in the future.
On Friday's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Atencio left no doubts. He's ready to fight White, and he thinks it would be "huge" for both fight executives.
Rashad Evans: Lyoto Machida is better than Rampage Jackson; Interested in Anderson Silva fight
“I thought Lyoto was more deserving than Rampage anyway. He’s better … actually, I like Rampage a lot. I think he’s really funny and charismatic. But I still want to beat his ass some day…. [My goal is to] get Anderson Silva’s record for the most consecutive wins in the UFC, with nine, keep the belt and then break that record…. I’d love to fight Anderson Silva.”
UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Rashad Evans — who has eight wins in nine attempts inside the Octagon (the “other” fight was a draw against Tito Ortiz — has no qualms defending his 205-pound title for the first time against Lyoto Machida at UFC 98 on May 23, because as he puts it, the undefeated Brazilian is more deserving. “Sugar” was expected to defend his belt against former division champion, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, however, he had to turn down the bout because of nagging injuries. He is expected to take on the winner of Evans-Machida later in 2009, which would no doubt be a blockbuster pay-per-view (PPV) event … especially if Evans can come out on top. And if Machida and possibly Jackson were not enough to handle, Evans also has middleweight champion Anderson Silva — who also competes at light heavyweight — in his cross hairs. Talk about a tough road ahead … can he pull it off?
Antwain Britt swiftly KOs UFC vet Antonio Mendes at Shine Fights
The featured bout at Saturday's Shine Fights' debut event ended swiftly.
Eights seconds to be exact.
Antwain Britt (7-2), who earned a spot on "The Ultimate Fighter 8" cast before being forced off the show due to injury, stopped UFC vet Antonio Mendes (16-5) with a swift first-round knockout during Saturday's "Genesis" event at the Celeste Center in Columbus, Ohio.
Takanori Gomi claims non-title win over Shooto champ Takashi Nakakura
Takanori Gomi rebounded from recent back-to-back losses and picked up his first knockout win via strikes in two-and-a-half years with a victory over Takashi Nakakura earlier today at Shooto's latest event, "The Final Tradition."
Gomi (30-5) stopped Shooto star Takashi Nakakura (11-3-1) and snapped his five-fight win streak with the second-round TKO.
It was a must-win fight for Gomi, who was once arguably the world's top lightweight fighter.
New British Promotion Headed Straight To UK TV
Bravo Television is a tempting proposition for any Mixed Martial Arts promotion in the U.K., as it presents a unique opportunity to reach a wider viewing audience as well having a background in UFC programming. In short, Bravo understands the sport.
So when it was originally announced that Bravo was considering MMA in its programming schedule, the promotions started to take note, most of all the British Fighting Championship and Ultimate Challenge. The reality is that neither show will be featured on Bravo and that a new tournament based format show will emerge in its place.
Starting on June 28, BAMMA will be running its first event on Bravo, a fight card featuring three tournaments across the lightweight, middleweight and light heavyweight categories and will be fought with the winners moving onto a place in the finals.
Fighting Blind, Ben Henderson Opening His Eyes
In mixed martial arts, fighting blind is typically more or less a euphemism, but in WEC fighter Ben Henderson's case, it's been applied quite literally.
Often seen after fights donning glasses that make him look rather scholarly, Henderson, in a recent interview on MMAWeekly Radio, gave some insight into the effect his poor eyesight has had on his fight career.
"It's not very good, my vision," said Henderson. "I can (my opponents) far away as a blur, but the closer they get, if I squint, I can see them more clearly.
Randy Can Relate, Supports Chuck's Decision
There are a number of options for Chuck Liddell’s future, and former opponent Randy Couture supports all of them.
Couture told MMAWeekly.com he empathized with Liddell’s situation – the former light heavyweight champ is currently stuck in the middle in a war of words between coach John Hackleman and UFC president Dana White – though he hadn’t spoken to him personally in recent weeks.
Having been asked questions about retirement for much of his career, Couture can understand Liddell’s struggle.
Wanderlei Silva expresses surprising desire to train with former rival
A Brazilian rivalry dating back to 2005 may be nearing it’s end in the near future, at least according to one of the feud participants.
Wanderlei Silva and Ricardo Arona are age old enemies who first met up at PRIDE Final Conflict 2005 in the semi-final of PRIDE’s middleweight grand prix. Arona surprised many when he handed the dominant middleweight champion his first defeat in over five years at the weight class by controlling Silva from the top position for the majority of the contest en route to a decision victory. Arona yelled in the face of the PRIDE champion from the top position at the bout’s conclusion to add insult to injury, and add fuel to the fire of the rivalry.
Kevin Burns vs. Chris Lytle official for TUF 9 Finale in June
A welterweight contest between Kevin Burns (7-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Chris Lytle (26-17-5 MMA, 5-9 UFC), first reported in March, has been officially added to the June 20 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter: U.S. vs. U.K."
The organization made the announcement on its official website.
The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale takes place June 20 at The Pearl in the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. It airs on Spike TV.
With life's battles already won, UFC's Matt Brown earning "immortal" tag
Finding success in today's UFC requires clean living, a dedication to a healthy diet and proper training. But not every rising star in the organization started their career by walking down the right path.
UFC welterweight Matt Brown (9-7 MMA, 3-1 UFC) recently revealed to MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that before the bright lights of the octagon he had already won a different fight – a battle with illegal drug use that nearly cost him his life.
"I came really close to dying," Brown said. "I [overdosed] on heroin. … They said I was clinically dead for over a minute."
Heath Herring Ready For His Next Rodeo
Win or lose, Heath Herring will never stray from a 13-year credo: entertainment first, results second.
The “Texas Crazy Horse” has never had it easy, in Pride or the UFC. He’s faced enough top-ranked fighters for three men’s careers. The difference between the two organizations, he says, is entertainment was job security in Japan.
“It was a whole different thing,” said Herring. “The fighters were pushed more to go out there and put on a good show. The UFC’s definitely, if you don’t win – especially with the contracts they have – they’ll cut you with a loss. So I have had to change my mentality a little bit.”
Given the mismatches that continue to dot the Japanese scene, not much has changed.
Sherk works on reputation restoration
From his shredded abdomen to his massive trapezius to his cauliflower ears, Sean Sherk looks every bit the wrestler. He’s built like a guy who could pick you up and drive you repeatedly into the mat for the sheer joy of it.
It’s pretty much what he did to Kenny Florian when he won the Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title at UFC 64 in Las Vegas on Oct. 14, 2006. That raw power is what has helped him to become one of the world’s elite mixed martial artists.
Affliction's Tom Atencio: Emelianenko vs. Barnett is "the fight I want"
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio is still tight-lipped about details of the organization's upcoming third show.
But when it comes to the night's main event, he definitely has his heart set on one particular matchup: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett.
"It hasn't been finalized," Atencio said on today's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "It's the fight fight I want, though. We're working on it.
"But it's not done."
Strange brew: Interview with Dan Miller
If Miller Light was everything you wanted in a beer (and less) then Dan Miller might be everything you want in an MMA fighter (with less hype). Dan’s a down-to-earth guy, and just like his lightweight brother Jim, Dan is willing to take a fight on a moment’s notice.
When Dan Miller was trying to get his UFC shot, he told matchmaker Joe Silva he would be ready to go at any time — it didn’t matter if he got a week or two days notice — he would fight for him. He’s apparently a man of his word, living up to the reputation ever since — whenever Joe Silva gives him the call, he’ll say yes.
Just like Miller Light, Dan Miller is a good call.