Shogun Rua looking to exploit "The Dragon's" low guard on Oct. 24
“I am the underdog for sure but I am confident. Lyoto is the favorite, the current champion. Everybody bets he will beat me but I come in all my fights thinking I’m capable to win. I already see myself being victorious. If I think different, it’s better not fighting. I believe in me, in my game and know my potential. His game is standing, it’s hard to find him to hit and he has a good wrestling. Maybe his unique weakness is the low guard. If the fight ends until the fifth round, it’s going to be standing. I look to fight stand up and so does he, so it’ll be a knockout or judges decision.”
Mauricio Rua weighs in on his upcoming title fight against Lyoto Machida at UFC 104 from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, on Oct. 24.
Curran moves on, signs 2 fights for Strikeforce
Former World Extreme Cagefighting bantamweight Jeff Curran has fought for just about every major fight promotion in the world: WEC, UFC, Pride, IFL, King of the Cage. He’s about to add another to the list... Strikeforce.
Curran on Tuesday confirmed to MMAWeekly.com that he has signed a two-fight, non-exclusive contract with Strikeforce. His first bout for the promotion will be on the preliminary card for the Nov. 7 “Fedor vs. Rogers” event in his backyard of Chicago.
UFC vet Xavier Foupa-Pokam headlines Dec. 3 Tachi Palace Fights 2 event
Tachi Palace Fights, the reincarnation of the once-popular Palace Fighting Championships, returns for its second show on Dec. 3, and the organization has secured recent UFC fighter Xavier Foupa-Pokam for the night's main event.
The French kickboxer takes on Mike Moreno in a middleweight bout.
Other notables on the card, which takes place at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, Calif., include Diego Saraiva, Cyrille Diabate and Kyle Pimentel.
Mark Munoz vs. Ryan Jensen inked for UFC 108 in Las Vegas
A bout between Mark Munoz (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and fellow middleweight Ryan Jensen (14-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) is set for the UFC's first-of-the-year event, UFC 108.
Sources close to the bout confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that bout agreements were recently distributed and finalized just today.
UFC 108 takes place Jan. 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The night's main card airs on pay-per-view, though Munoz vs. Jensen is expected to be part of the night's un-aired preliminary card.
Salmon Suspended 1 Year, Fined $2500
Former UFC fighter Sean Salmon has been given a 1-year administrative suspension and a $2500 fine by the Ohio Athletic Commission for for "not fighting to the best of his ability" and "conduct detrimental to the sport." The suspension and fine resulted from a Sept. 2 column for MMAjunkie.com in which Salmon, who is author of the site's "Full-Time Fighter" blog, said he allowed opponent Allan Weickert to tap him out a June 6 NAAFS event in Ohio. The suspension is retroactive and ends June 6, 2010, but apparently didn't stop Salmon from beating Yuki Sasaki by decision in Finland this past weekend.
Shawn Tompkins: Chris Horodecki Heading to the WEC
According to trainer Shawn Tompkins, MMA lightweight Chris Horodecki will be heading to the WEC. "It looks like Chris Horodecki will be showing up in the WEC," Tompkins revealed in a recent conversation with FightHype.com. Although contracts have yet to be finalized, Tompkins seemed confident that a deal would be in place within the next couple of days.
'TUF 8' Winner Ryan Bader Aims to Dictate Fight vs. Experienced Eric Schafer
The Ultimate Fighter 8 winner Ryan Bader says his keys to beating Eric "Red" Schafer at UFC 104 is to dictate the fight and avoid Schafer's experienced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu game.
Bader, one of the many wrestler-turned-MMA fighters out of the Arizona Combat Sports camp in Tempe, recently spoke with FanHouse as he looks to improve his undefeated MMA and UFC records to 11-0 and 3-0, respectively, on Nov. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Calif.
Ray Hui: This is your third straight UFC opponent whose specialty is grappling, but Schafer is probably the most well-rounded.
Ryan Bader: Eliot [Marshall] was pretty well-rounded also. He has some decent standup so I'd say Eliot was probably the most well-rounded as far as striking and jiu-jitsu, but what Eric Schafer brings to the table is experience, being in the big shows with guys like [Michael] Bisping, [Stephan] Bonnar and Houston Alexander and what not. He's been around the game so he definitely has that advantage.
Showtime to Air Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brett Rogers 'Fight Camp 360' Special
Despite the fact that the Brett Rogers vs. Fedor Emelianenko fight will not be airing on Showtime, the premium cable network obviously still has a lot invested in the heavyweight bout, and it is putting it's promotional muscle behind it.
On this week's edition of The MMA Hour, which will be presented later this week at MMA FanHouse, Rogers mentioned that an episode of Showtime's new Fight Camp 360 series is being produced about the fight, and it will air around a week before the CBS telecast on Nov. 7. When contacted by FanHouse, Showtime officials would only say that an announcement regarding the show's air date would be coming soon.
Bellator strikes landmark broadcasting deal with FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo
Bellator Fighting Championships will shift from its original home on Spanish-language ESPN Deportes to FOX Sports Net, NBC and Telemundo for the next two seasons, the U.S.-based mixed-martial-arts promotion today announced.
Live events will air Thursday nights on FOX Sports Net affiliates, and highlights packages will run Saturday nights on both NBC and the Spanish-language Telemundo.
"It was my dream scenario," Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney admitted to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the landmark broadcast alliance.
The deal with FOX Sports Net and NBC Universal (which owns both NBC and Telemundo) kicks off with the 12-week season two of Bellator, which commences April 8, and continues into season three, which begins Aug. 12.
Wren thinks Jackson is not a coach
5. It sure looked like Rampage and his coaches gave little support to their fighters after they lost. What was your impression?
Justin Wren – “I absolutely have to agree with you. I heard Rampage saying it was the editing but even though his fighters liked him; look at the last TUF he was on and his record was 1-7. From the day I got there I knew I didn’t want to be on his team and I don’t think it has anything to do with the editing. He really did just ditch his fighters and to be honest he is no coach. I was really fortunate to be on Rashad’s Team.”
Alistair Overeem returns at DREAM.12
In his sixth fight since winning Strikeforce's heavyweight title in November 2007, Alistair Overeem will again compete outside the U.S.-based promotion when he returns to Japan for the latest DREAM event.
Overeem (30-11) is the process of finalizing a bout to appear on the organization's DREAM.12 card, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from multiple sources.
The event takes place next week, Oct. 25, at Osaka Castle Hall in Osaka, Japan, and airs live in North America on HDNet.
Two names have popped up as leading candidates to fight Overeem.
Dan Henderson's Camp Says No Deal With Strikeforce Is Imminent
Dan Henderson is currently an MMA free agent considering all his options, but his camp says he is not close to signing a deal with Strikeforce or any other promotion after his negotiations with the UFC stalled.
Responding to a Yahoo Sports report that Henderson is "on the verge of signing" with Strikeforce, Henderson's friend and business partner Aaron Crecy said that wasn't the case, and that no signing with anyone is imminent.
Bart Palaszewski set to return at WEC 45
Bart Palaszewski (32-13 MMA, 1-2 WEC) will look to snap a two-fight WEC losing streak when he returns to the organization in December.
AOL Fanhouse was the first to report Palaszewski's return at the as-yet-unannounced WEC 45 event in December, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the news with sources close to the event.
Palaszewski's opponent has not yet been determined.
Additionally, MMAjunkie.com has learned that WEC officials hope to release details on the December show as soon as next week.
UFC newcomer Rodney Wallace meets Brian Stann at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale
UFC newcomer Rodney Wallace (9-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will make his debut for the organization at December's The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in a light-heavyweight contest with Brian Stann (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
The bout was first reported by FiveOuncesOfPain.com, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the addition with sources close to the event.
The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale is scheduled for Dec. 5 at The Palms Casino & Resort in Las Vegas.
DREAM 12: Manhoef Off, Sakuraba In
Although the reason for the change is not yet known, Melvin Manhoef is now off DREAM 12 on 10/25. He was to have faced Zelg Galesic. FEG announced that the replacement is Kazushi Sakuraba, fighting for the second time in just 19 days-he last fought at DREAM 11 on 10/6.
20 Questions for the Machida patriarch
Sherdog.com: Did you see Lyoto rescuing the real Karate?
Yoshizo: Yes, because the fight can’t only be about taking points from the opponent. For example, the guy can score 20 points in Judo, but if he takes an Ippon, he will loose, just like in jiu-jitsu. For what reason are the points important? If the guy is submitted or knocked out, it’s over. I always tell Lyoto that he has to finish the fight, not just take points. Once it starts, he has to try to finish as soon as possible. Of course, sometimes someone who paid to see five rounds will probably be disappointed to see the fight end in the first round, but the real fighter wants to see the fight finished as soon as possible.
Sherdog.com: Can you describe your first trip to Brazil?
Yoshizo: It was a very hard trip, a total of 40 days. The ship stopped in Hawaii, Argentina, Uruguay, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and finally in Belem. The ocean was so powerful that I remember that I spent the first 15 days vomiting. When I was down to 120 pounds, someone gave me whisky. Then I found out that if I got drunk, I couldn’t feel the ocean shaking the ship. After that, I got used to it and started to teach karate to everybody on the ship, and it was really nice.
Sherdog: What was it like after you arrived?
Yoshizo: When I arrived in Belem, I got a job thanks to Japanese immigration and a Japanese company that used to build roads. I worked on that for one year and then went to Rio de Janeiro, where I spent two weeks with Master Tanaka. Right after that, I went to Sao Paulo, where I met Inoki’s brother, and I started to take care of their academy. Later on, I went to Bahia, where I opened my own academy. Since then, I’ve taught more than 10,000 students, but only 250 received the black belt. I arrived here with only two pairs of clothes, nothing else, and I only knew how to say three things -- good morning, good evening and hungry. I didn’t sleep in the streets, but in the academies, without food, I dealt with hard times. After some time, I had my own academy and students. Today, I can say I’m a happy man. I believe every man has to do what he really likes in life, no matter if it’s common or different from other people. You have to try your best to be different from others. Today, that’s very difficult.
Sherdog: How do people in Japan see karate today?
Yoshizo: In the past, karate was just for self-defense and was used in fighting. Today, it’s much more like a sport and focused on competitions. I, just like many of my teachers, think the karate philosophy is being left out. Karate needs to be used to finish the opponent. Today, the fighters are faster, stronger and better prepared, but they fight to take points from the opponent. I think it should return to its origins in self defense.
Sherdog: How do you feel when Lyoto’s fights go the distance and people call him a boring fighter?
Yoshizo: The fighters need to work on his defensive positions; that’s why my son has never been seriously hit. But for the promoter, sometimes it was not a good show. There are many strong guys out there, and each fighter needs to have his strategy. Against Rashad, I told him to forget about the belt and take him down as fast as he could, and that’s what he did. This is martial arts. Anyone who practices a martial art knows about it, no matter which martial art it is. Our son is not making a show yet because, to make a show, you have to be really superior. In his last two fights, he has given a great show. Now, he understands he’s strong. I love Anderson Silva’s fights because he’s an artist inside the Octagon. A lot of people don’t like it because they think he wants to play and have fun. I don’t see it that way. I see him as a showman who’s very strong. Deep in his heart, he knows he can finish the fight when he wants. Anderson was born like that. Lyoto is different. He wasn’t born like that, but as he trains more, trusts his karate and believes in his style, he’s getting more confident and is giving a better performance each time out.
Sherdog: As competitor, were you more like Chinzo or Lyoto?
Yoshizo: Certainly Chinzo, because I was really fast. Between 23 and 36, nobody could touch me. I used my wrists very well. I’m very small, and I used to fight against guys who were stronger and heavier; if they touched me, I’d fall down, so I trained my speed a lot. I’m teaching that to Lyoto because he’s big, but when compared to some of his UFC opponents, he’s small.
Sherdog: You said Lyoto’s defense is very good. Do you think he would have won as many fights in MMA if he had a style similar to you and Chinzo?
Yoshizo: No. He would have lost already. Me and Chinzo have a real offensive style. We attack. Lyoto is more cautious, and thanks to that, he developed a lot of his defense. One of the best things about our karate in MMA is that it combines defenses and attacks. That’s why he’s doing so well in this sport.
Sherdog: What’s the difference between Machida karate and Shotokan karate?
Yoshizo: Shotokan nowadays is pretty much focused on competition. Machida karate thinks competition is very important -- we have many champions -- but we separate Machida karate. In the ring, our goal is to punish and take down an opponent. On the other side, Shotokan karate, which I also teach, is pretty much an educational sport.
Sherdog: Did you participate in any karate competitions in Brazil?
Yoshizo: I couldn’t compete in the Brazilian national championships because I’m Japanese. But in 1970, I was invited to participate in the Champions of the Champions Cup, where I beat five state champions from Minas, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo and Bahia. In the final, I defeated the Brazilian national champion, Caribe, who was very famous at that time. Back then, the competition was much more violent; the goal was to take down the opponent.
Sherdog: We see a lot of fighters win championships and take 20- or 30-day vacations. But Lyoto, after nine months of training without break, could not even take an eight-day vacation. On the second day, he called his trainer and said he wanted to train.
Yoshizo: Lyoto likes the routine of training. He likes to train every day. His goal is to always improve, not only to defend his belt but to test new techniques; that’s very important in martial arts.
Sherdog: What about urine therapy. How did you start doing that?
Yoshizo: Actually, this technique was used in China and India a long time ago. I started doing that after reading a book about a Japanese doctor who was in World War II. When the medicines ran out, he told the soldiers to drink their urine, and it worked as a vaccine. I started doing that three years ago, and it’s working fine. I never get sick anymore. Lyoto is doing the same, and he also likes the results.
Sherdog: Did your master send you to Brazil to make karate popular there?
Yoshizo: No, I wanted to go because I love to train. If I go two days without karate training, I get mad. When I got here, I received some support from Japanese friends who helped me financially so I could take care of the academy. There are other Japanese masters in Brazil who faced the same situation. Later, I was able to open my own academy in Belem.
Sherdog: Is it true that you took care of Conde Koma’s bones?
Yoshizo: About 30 years ago, there was a heavy rain in Belem that destroyed Mitsuyo Maeda Koma’s grave in the cemetery. His friend, Sakaeoti, who was about 80 years old at the time, told me about it. He always told me many stories about Mitsuyo, about how much he helped Japanese people who came to Brazil. Sakaeoti and I went to the cemetery, and I collected Koma’s bones and cleaned them. With the support of Kokushikan University, which rebuilt Koma’s tomb, we buried his bones again in a new grave paid for by the university.
Sherdog: Koma was a great fighter and was the man who taught jiu-jitsu to the Gracies. If it were not for him, we probably wouldn’t have MMA or the UFC. Do you believe his Samurai spirit may be helping Lyoto in the Octagon?
Yoshizo: My family and I believe in spiritualism and reincarnation. Koma is probably helping Lyoto.
Sherdog: Having spent 70 days with Satoshi Ishii, do you believe he can become an MMA champion?
Yoshizo: I can’t tell. He’s an excellent athlete. He never gets tired. I think he’ll adapt really fast to MMA. In the beginning, he was getting beaten badly by Lyoto, but after two months, he improved a lot. I corrected his posture, taught him how to walk in the ring. Sometimes during training, he cried, not because he was tired but because of the high humidity near the Amazon. He has the Samurai spirit and always finished every exercise I gave to him. I’ve heard he visited and trained at the Renzo Gracie academy in New York and people liked him.
Sherdog: What do you expect from Lyoto’s next challenge against Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 104? How long do you expect Lyoto to keep the title?
Yoshizo: I can’t say anything because it depends on him. He has to train and believe because he’s going to face Shogun, who’s also strong and well-prepared. Lyoto’s preparation for this fight will be very important. He needs to be strong, not only physically and technically; his spirit and his mind also need to be well-prepared.
Sherdog: Do you think Shogun will be a tougher opponent than Rashad Evans?
Yoshizo: No, Rashad was much more difficult and not just because of the technique. Against him, we were also fighting against the pressure of the crowd. He was the local champion. But, for sure, Shogun is a very tough opponent who will give us a lot of work studying his game.
Sherdog: What was the party like here in Belem when Lyoto returned with the belt?
Yoshizo: It was a big party. The mayor even invited us to have breakfast with him. Last week, we were invited by the Japanese consulate to have dinner with the Japanese community in Belem. It’s very good to have my son so recognized, as long as it doesn’t bother his training. If the event doesn’t bother his training, he will go. I already explained to him that a lot of people want this belt, so he has to be in great shape always.
Sherdog: Besides your son, who do you like to see fight in MMA?
Yoshizo: I like [Antonio Rodrigo] “Minotauro” [Nogueira] very much, because even when he’s on the ground, he can solve the situation very calmly. He’s a real fighter. Standing up, I like Anderson Silva, because he plays with the opponent. He’s a showman.
Sherdog: How do you think a fight between Lyoto and Anderson Silva would play out?
Yoshizo: It’s hard to say. They have a similar style. It would depend on how well-prepared each one would be. I can’t say who would win.