Melendez: fight with Thomson could be better than Shamrock vs. Le
In one of the most intriguing lightweight match-ups in recent memory outside of the UFC, Strikeforce world lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (14-1) will be taking on longtime friend and training partner Josh Thomson (14-2). Melendez thinks it will be a battle for the ages.
"El Niño" previewed the upcoming bout on a recent edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"We've trained together, we've banged together, and I think it's going to be one for the history books," Melendez said.
Melendez and Thomson's well-documented friendship is still firmly intact. There is no manufactured hype or drama between the two. Instead, two of the lightweight division's most exciting fighters will meet in a match-up of well-rounded combatants.
"One thing about Josh and I that is different than a lot of MMA fighters is that we are real MMA fighters," the 26-year-old said. "We're well-rounded. We're willing to stand, we're willing to wrestle, and we're willing to do jiu-jitsu. But we're at our best when we can do MMA -- do all the transitions, do everything. So it makes for a really good match-up, a really good scrap."
The California-based Strikeforce organization has found success in promoting shows that cash in on local story lines. Earlier this year, fans were treated to an exciting clash between local residents Cung Le and Frank Shamrock in a bout billed as "The Battle for San Jose." Melendez believes this fight may turn out even better.
"Frank and Cung Le are big names in the Bay area, and they put on a great show," Melendez said. "But I think Josh and I have been around for a while. We're top level. And it's going to make for a great fight."
Tim Sylvia: "It's time to see if Fedor still has what it takes to be #1"
Although Fedor is the top-ranking heavyweight in the world, there's no doubt that Tim Sylvia is a force to be reckoned with. With a full 8 inches and 30 pounds over Fedor, Sylvia is a monster with an impressive record, surprisingly quick hands and a long reach that many opponents find hard to escape. His size and striking power, coupled with a rock-em sock-em attitude and stamina are a dangerous combination every time he steps in front of an opponent. Trying to regain the championship title in a fight in 2004, Sylvia wouldn't tap out when Frank Mir
locked him in an armbar, even after his arm was snapped. The ref had to put an end the fight, because Sylvia, broken arm and all wouldn't give up.
Fedor, who has already proved himself in the ring, is looking to earn a different kind of reputation with the American people. "As far as American fans, I'd like them to get to know me personally…not just as a fighter - as a human being as well.' And Sylvia, who has suffered from some criticism and controversy, has a personal, as well as professional, agenda as well - he's just looking for a little respect. A win against the current world heavyweight champion just might quiet the chatter and earn him the respect he yearns for. In Sylvia's own words, "It's time to see if Fedor still has what it takes to be #1."
Michael Bisping vs Chris Leben UFC 89 fight set for Birmingham
The 185-pound clash between Michael Bisping (16-1) and Chris Leben (18-4) is back on and will take place at the National Indoor Arena (NIA) in Birmingham, England, on October 9, according to recent comments from UK UFC President Marshall Zelaznik in an interview with SetantaSports.com.
Here’s the snip:
“Two of our amazing fighters, Michael Bisping and Chris Leben, have just agreed to fight. Everyone knows about Leben’s striking power, and it’s the strike fest everyone wants. It’s the fight everyone wants to see.”
Indeed, this has fireworks written all over it — both men prefer to keep on the feet and throw leather. If it does go to the ground, however, Leben possesses a distinct advantage with his underrated ground skills.
“The Crippler” and “The Count” were set to bang it out at UFC 85: “Bedlam” earlier this month. But Leben was jailed for an old parole violation when he turned himself in, which he needed to do if he wanted to obtain a visa to travel overseas to fight in London.
Coach says Wanderlei is adapting
MMAWeekly: How do you see Wanderlei’s last fight against Keith Jardine?
Rafael Alejarra: We know we were coming from negative results (against Chuck Liddell), but we are always in evolution, not only technically, but also the cardio-resistance. But some of our results don’t depend only on those factors. In Wanderlei’s last fight he was more adapted with the new changes, with the rules, training sessions, the environment and sparring.
MMAWeekly: We could see that Wanderlei was 100% for his last fight. We also know that differently from his first fight now he had good sparring training, different coaches. How about your area, did you do anything different?
Rafael Alejarra: Wanderlei truly came ready for this fight, and thanks to his training and great sparring. About my area, I’ve been using the HIPOXIA training style. It’s a very good training that is already used in Cuba with boxers and now I am adapting it to MMA. And I can tell that due to the time of training and adaptation, our results were better than in Wanderlei’s first fight.
MMAWeekly: Many fans were thinking that Wanderlei’s problem was his emotional side and due to that he wasn’t doing good in his fights. In his last fight, he shaved his head and fought exactly as the earlier times. What happened? What changed?
Rafael Alejarra: I wouldn't say emotional problems, but as I said before, we were facing adaptation problems here. We had some new things to worry about and we were very busy in our last months, but the truth is, we never let the training level go down. We know, and Wanderlei knows, his responsibility with his fans.
Forrest Griffin: ‘He hits hard. I don’t have the best chin in the world’
The main event at UFC 86 will be more about business than bad blood when Quinton (Rampage) Jackson defends his light-heavyweight title July 5 against Forrest Griffin.
The two are coming off a stint as rival coaches on The Ultimate Fighter reality TV show. But unlike some past seasons (think Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, B.J. Penn and Jens Pulver, Matt Hughes and Matt Serra), not many sparks flew. Threats were largely replaced by one-liners.
The drama for Jackson-Griffin will come in the cage at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, rather than in front of a microphone.
“I fight for a living,” Jackson explained in a conference call Thursday. “I don't think it would be fair if I fight people while I was pissed off. Wouldn't even be a fair fight. They shouldn't even allow me to fight if I was pissed off.
“I'm happy. Happy to be making money, happy to be in the UFC. Happy to be defending my title.”
Griffin, who sometimes can seem in his own zone, was just as matter-of-fact.
“Whether you like the guy or hate him, it doesn't matter,” added Griffin. “You're going to hit him as hard as you can. It doesn't really matter how you feel.”
Ready or not: MMAmania.com exclusive interview with Josh Thomson
James Iannotti (MMAmania.com): What’s up, Josh? Heard there was some drama at the weigh-ins today. Did you have any problems hitting 155?
Josh Thomson: You know, the weight came right off. We had problems at the weigh-in with the scale. I don’t know what the hell their deal was. I checked my weight on the same scale probably like twenty minutes before they actually moved it up onto the desk, and I was right on with my underwear on. Then when I got up onto the scale and weighed in, I was a pound over, so I had to drop my drawers and step on. It just didn’t seem good, but then I broke right there, so it was good. I mean, as long as I make the weight the first time, we weren’t going have to leave anywhere to go cut weight.
James Iannotti (MMAmania.com): You and Gilbert are pretty good friends. What’s it going to be like fighting somebody you actually like?
Josh Thomson: I think we’re kind of over it now, you know? Weigh-ins have been done. We talked about the friendship and stuff throughout the training camp, so I think now we’re ready to just get it on. We know what reality is now. I think after seeing each other at weigh-ins and stuff, and it’s here now, so it’s like, just rest and go and just get it done and get it over with, and then just move on with the next chapter of our life, you know?
Fickett Now Off Strikeforce Tonight
It turns out that Drew Fickett has to pull out of yet another fight. He agreed to be on tonight's Strikeforce card to replace Joe Riggs, but now Fickett is off because Maximum Fighting Championships (MFC) has him set to fight on July 25, and they have a 45-day non-compete period before their event for participants so MFC has vetoed Fickett fighting.
Strikeforce weigh-in results for ‘Melendez vs Thomson’
Main card (televised portion):
155 lbs.: Lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez (155) vs. Josh Thomson (155)
185 lbs.: (catchweight): Drew Fickett (n/a) vs. Luke Stewart (n/a)
145 lbs: Miesha Tate (145) vs. Elaina Maxwell (146)
205 lbs: Light Heavyweight Championship: Bobby Southworth (205) vs. Anthony Ruiz (203)
185 lbs: Jeremiah Metcalf (185) vs. Raymond Daniels (184)
155 lbs: Billy Evangelista (155) vs. Nam Phan (154)
135 lbs: Chris Cariaso (135.5) vs. Anthony Figueroa (134.5)
Under card (may not be televised):
185 lbs: Jesse Gillespie (186) vs. Eric Lawson (185) (swing bout)
155 lbs: Bobby Stack (155) vs. Jose Palacios (155)
155 lbs: Eric Jacob (156) vs. Alexander Trivino (156)
205 lbs: Jorge Interiano (201) vs. Travis Johnson (205)
170 lbs: Cyrillo Padhillo (169) vs. Jesse Jones (169)
140 lbs: Bryan Caraway (140) vs. Alvin Cacdac (141)
Interview: Undefeated kickboxer Raymond Daniels
One of the faces to keep an eye out for at the Strikeforce: Melendez versus Thomson event in San Jose on Friday is undefeated kickboxer Raymond Daniels, who will be making his mixed martial arts debut.
As the captain of the championship-winning Los Angeles Stars squad in Chuck Norris' World Combat League, Daniels would often steal the show with his dazzling knockouts and ease in which he would dominate his opponents.
WEC 35 card takes shape with addition of two more fights
The WEC recently made two more bouts official for its loaded WEC 35 card on August 3.
Micah Miller (9-1) will battle up-and-comer Josh Grispi (8-1) in a featherweight showdown and undefeated bantamweight Brian Bowles (5-0) will tangle with Tapout reality show fan favorite Damacio Page (10-3).
The announcement is expected to complete the entire televised card for WEC 35, which is headlined by three world title fights.
WEC 35: AUGUST 3 IN LAS VEGAS
venue: Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nev.
-Carlos Condit (#9 Welterweight in the World)* vs. Hiromitsu Miura
-Brian Stann vs. Steve Cantwell
-Jamie Varner vs. Marcus Hicks
-Cub Swanson vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
-Carlo Prater vs. Brock Larson
-Todd Moore vs. Alex Karalexis
-Kenji Osawa vs. Scott Jorgensen
-Damacio Page vs. Brian Bowles
-Micah Miller vs. Josh Grispi
Interview With Strikeforce's Anthony Ruiz
Anthony Ruiz (20-10) has the biggest fight of his career coming up on Friday, June 26 at Strikeforce: “Melendez vs Thomson” as he looks to defeat Bobby Southworth for the second time. This time , however, it’s for the Strikeforce light heavyweight championship.
With 30 professional fights to his creidt, “El Toro” has proven his dedication to mixed martial arts. He’s worked extremely hard to get to where he’s at in this sport and is ready for it to finally to pay off. Winning a world championship on an HDNet televised event would be the highlight of his career to date, but he doesn’t plan on stopping there.
EXCLUSIVE: JOE RIGGS OUT, DREW FICKETT STEPS IN
Joe Riggs, scheduled to face Luke Stewart at Friday night’s Strikeforce event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., was denied medical clearance on Thursday at weigh-ins. Stepping in at the last minute to take his place is fellow Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Drew Fickett
Josh Thomson on fighting a friend
From the OC Register:
“The disadvantage of this whole situation is we are both going to get hurt in this fight. It sucks that we’re both in here fighting each other. I’m going to end up cut. He’s going to end up cut. We’re going to end up with bumps and bruises from damage done to our bodies. It’s a shame we’re doing it to each other, but you know what though, we do it all the time every day in training when we are training with each other and we weren’t getting paid for it. Now, we’re getting paid for it.”
Check out the entire interview here:
Kharitonov Eyes for ‘Bigfoot' at EliteXC
Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures) could be the one.
Brazilian behemoth Antonio Silva has verbally agreed to face the stoic Russian boxer for the vacant heavyweight crown at EliteXC's July 26 "Saturday Night Fights" at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif.
The bout is currently pending approval from the California State Athletic Commission, according to a rep from Silva's American Top Team.
"Inside MMA" preview: KJ Noons trashes Nick Diaz, refuels heated rivalry
During an EliteXC event earlier this month, EliteXC lightweight champ KJ Noons and Nick Diaz won separate bouts. However, when they met in the cage after Noons' victory to hype an upcoming rematch, all hell broke loose.
This week as a guest on "Inside MMA," Noons ripped into Diaz, saying -- among other things -- that his rival doesn't deserve a rematch, that people are using the notion of Diaz's scar tissue an an excuse, and that his new nickname should be "The Artist" due to how badly he rearranged Diaz's face in their first fight in late 2007.