Luiz Cane: I want to fight Rich Franklin
The UFC's light heavyweight class has long been considered a marquee division. Deep on talent, the fighters at 205 pounds have put on classic matchups, and the second half of 2009 looks no different.
Lyoto Machida vs. Maurico "Shogun" Rua. Rashad Evans vs. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. Forrest Griffin vs. Anderson Silva.
But with a number of exciting fights lined up in the coming months, where does that leave Brazilian slugger Luiz Cane (10-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC)?
Misaki Will Fight But Won't Be Paid
Kazuo Misaki will get his August bout with Kazuhiro Nakamura, but with none of the expected perks.
World Victory Road director Takahiro Kokuho announced Thursday that Sengoku's Aug. 2 "Ninth Battle" card at the Saitama Super Arena will still feature a bout between Misaki and Kazuhiro Nakamura. However, the legally embattled "Grabaka Hitman" will not receive his fight purse and, immediately following the bout, will face an indefinite suspension from Sengoku competition.
Misaki had pled guilty in the Tokyo District Court to obstruction of justice on June 25. The plea was in regard to a March 19 incident in which the former Pride grand prix champion sped away from a police officer who had attempted to cite him for talking on his cell phone while driving. Misaki was given a three-year suspended sentence following his plea, and Kokuho announced the following day that World Victory Road's commission would convene in the coming days to decide on an appropriate course of action.
GSP Static Interview
UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre recently took time to answer some questions for PDG regarding his upcoming bout against Thiago Alves, training and the importance of UFC 100.
PDG: How is your training going for UFC 100?
GSP: I’m in the best shape of my life and I’m training really hard before my fight. Three weeks I spent in New York doing Muay Thai at the Wat with Phil Nurse and all the guys over there, sparring with Shawn Imes, Brad Imes and all those great training partners that I have for Muay Thai training. I’m learning a lot from Kru Phil. I also train in New York at the Renzo Gracie Academy under supervision of John Danaher – he’s my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor. I have great training partners there as well. The level of jiu-jitsu in New York at Renzo Gracie is better than it is in Montreal, so that’s one of the main reasons why I have been going there and I spend so much time at that Academy.
Maia ready for title shot with UFC 102 win
Demian Maia is in the mix of fighters who are in contention for the UFC middleweight belt. Despite his upcoming fight versus Nate Marquardt, the jiu jitsu expert had some words for the current champion Anderson Silva.
“I see myself ready to fight for the belt. There are some things that I think about facing Anderson... He’s very good standing, in the clinch and knows how to play in all areas. I’d have to do my best being aggressive for sure, if I want I take the fight to the mat,” he said this week.
I know a lot of people are taking Nate cuz his stand up is wicked, and he's a beast of a man...
But how can you not love Maia? His MMA BJJ is probably the best in the world, and he always wants to win without hurting his opponent.
I'll be pulling for him against Nate...
Hardonk, Cool Under Pressure, Foils Mugging in LA
We all know the old adage about ‘strength in numbers’, but you have to think that the three young men who tried to mug 6 foot 4, 245 pound UFC heavyweight Antoni Hardonk in Los Angeles a week and a half ago were either very brave or very stupid – or both.
“I’ve worked security in the clubs and had some incidents there when people are fighting and you have to break up a fight, or somebody’s drunk and you have to guide them out, but this time, they wanted to have my money, they wanted to rob me, and that was a new experience for me,” Hardonk told UFC.com. “First they asked if I had some change so I looked in my wallet. They said they needed some help, and asked if I could help them out. I don’t mind helping people, so I took a look. Then suddenly the tone in their voice changed and they said ‘gimme your money.’
UFC 100: Frank Mir Concerned About Brock Lesnar's Reach
Frank Mir is getting ready to fight a 275-pound behemoth when he takes on Brock Lesnar for the heavyweight title at UFC 100. But Mir's biggest concern isn't Lesnar's weight. It's Lesnar's reach.
"I can point out why I think Brock has been successful at striking because we've actually had to address that in my training camp," Mir said on a call to promote UFC 100. "Brock's reach for his height is actually long. A lot of people don't realize that. They talk about his size, his power. Brock is almost 6-foot-4 ... his reach is actually really long. I remember even watching when he beat Randy, and he slipped that punch from Brock. He thought that he was out of the way, and that punch kept on coming, it kept on coming, and it kept on coming. And finally it just caught him and he went down."
Mir added that he had to find sparring partners who are taller than Lesnar so he could practice trading punches with someone who had the same arm length as Lesnar.
JAVIER VAZQUEZ VS. LC DAVIS FOR AFFLICTION 3
A featherweight bout between LC Davis and Javier Vazquez is set for Affliction "Trilogy" on Aug. 1 in Anaheim, Calif.
Sherdog.com was the first to report the match-up, and MMAWeekly.com subsequently confirmed it with Affliction vice president Tom Atencio. The bout will take place on the HDNet-televised undercard.
The Issues of Referee and Judge Certification
‘Showdown’ Joe Ferraro has an excellent piece up at Rogers Sportsnet that details his experience with ‘Big’ John McCarthy’s referee certification seminar, C.O.M.M.A.N.D. (Certification of Officials for Mixed Martial Arts National Development).
The course is broken down into three areas and participants require a passing grade of 90 percent (at minimum in all three) to be certified. As it stands today, the course has a 75 percent failure rate, as participants simply do not make the grade to officiate or judge in MMA.
Would-be referees must know and identify over 25 takedowns, 35 submissions, 25 positions and seven sweeps, reversals and transitions. They also must know the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts inside and out.
After the identification of the aforementioned moves and keen knowledge of the unified rules, participants are also trained and tested on in ring / cage mechanics. This is comprised of what is required by an official before, during and after a bout. It’s not just about positioning (which is HUGE when refereeing) but dozens of other variables that are key to the safety of the athletes who put it all on the line.
All of this knowledge is paramount for one to be proficient in officiating and without it I do not understand how commissions around the world allow men and women to step into the cage/ring and ref without proving they have this type of knowledge.
If the four major sports leagues — the NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL — mandate that officials are properly trained before being allowed to step onto the playing surface, why doesn’t MMA do the same? If this sport is expected to be taken seriously then this type of certification must be the bare minimum an athletic commission requires from an applicant prior to receiving their license to ref or judge.
Not so fast, Tito...
In a video interview we recently posted with Tito Ortiz shot this past weekend in Pittsburgh, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" said that he is set to start his own organization, Punishment Fighting Championships, in association with Strikeforce.
"I'm starting my own organization also with Strikeforce called "Punishment Fighting Championships," Ortiz said. "So, you know, just not as a promoter, I'll be competing also, and bringing some other guys around and trying to create superstars."
However, when Fanhouse contacted Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz Tuesday, he made it pretty clear that no agreement is in place with Ortiz.
"I don't know anything about it," Afromowitz said........
Lyoto Machida: Fighter of the Half Year
The year is half over, and we're recognizing the best in MMA in the first six months of 2009. Up first is our Fighter of the Half Year, Lyoto Machida.
Heading into 2009, there were still a lot of MMA fans who ripped Machida as the kind of fighter who would rather avoid a fight than engage in one. Not many people are saying that after a half year in which Machida knocked out two previously undefeated fighters, Thiago Silva and Rashad Evans.
The win over Silva at UFC 94 gave us a good look at Machida's punching power, and the brutal knockout of Evans showed that Machida has the kind of killer instinct that great fighters need. Machida, so far, has been the best fighter of 2009.
Here are some of the runners-up for Fighter of the Half Year:
Mike Brown: The World Extreme Cagefighting featherweight champ is 2-0 in 2009, with a first-round destruction of Leonard Garcia in March and an epic five-round war with Urijah Faber in June.
Jamie Varner: I'm Not Retiring
Jamie Varner's mixed martial arts career is not in jeopardy. The WEC lightweight champion's broken right hand has still not healed since his January title defense against Donald Cerrone forcing the organization to book an interim title match between Cerrone and rising star Ben Henderson.
However, when FanHouse contacted Varner to comment on a Youngstown Vindicator report stating he "may never fight again," Varner simply said, "That's bullsh*t."
Ryo Chonan, Masakazu Imanari Return to DEEP
Five fighters took to the ring during the intermission of Tuesday night's DEEP "42nd Impact" at Korakuen Hall, which saw Riki Fukuda (15-4) crowned as the new middleweight champion and the seemingly reborn Kazuyuki Miyata (7-7) improve his current win streak to two.
Kyle Kingsbury and Razak Al-Hassan agree to UFC 104 bout in October
A light-heavyweight bout between Kyle Kingsbury (7-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) and Razak Al-Hassan (6-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), originally targeted for UFC 102 in August, will instead take place in October at UFC 104.
A source close to the fighters today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) verbal agreements are in place and the fight could be signed as early as this week.
UFC 104 takes place Oct. 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The night's main card airs on pay-per-view, and the Kingsbury vs. Al-Hassan fight is expected to take place on the night's un-aired preliminary card.
Middleweight Rob Kimmons signs new four-fight deal with the UFC
Following a 2-1 record in the world's premier MMA organization, middleweight Rob Kimmons has signed a new four-fight contract with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A source close to the fighter today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the 28-year-old fighter recently accepted the new deal.
Kimmons (22-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) most recently defeated Joe Vedepo via first-round submission at UFC Fight Night 18 in April.
It was the sixth win in seven fights for Kimmons, a Midwesterner who's now 13-2 over the past three years.
Javier Vazquez says Din Thomas, state commission to blame for "Ultimate Chaos" fiasco
As with any dispute, there are always two sides to every story.
And as "Ultimate Chaos" victor Javier Vazquez today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) such was the case with this past Friday's weigh-in fiasco in Biloxi, Miss., which ultimately cost Din Thomas a chance to fight – and took money from Vazquez's pocket.
"I never went up to the commission," Vazquez said. "I never bitched and complained. I never said anything. It wasn't my job to do that. That's the commission's job to do that."
Heath Herring taking time to clear head, refocus; timeframe for return not yet established
It doesn't take more than simply glancing over UFC heavyweight Heath Herring's (28-14 MMA, 2-3 UFC) record to see what kind of fighter he is.
While "The Texas Crazy Horse" hasn't won every fight he's ever entered, Herring has fought the world's toughest fighters throughout his 12-year career.
But despite having fought 42 times in bouts all over the globe, his UFC 99 withdrawal provided Herring a new experience that has forced him to take a little time away from the sport.
Varner: Interim Title Is ‘Glorified Second Place’
Donald Cerrone will meet Benson Henderson for the interim WEC lightweight championship at WEC 43, but current titleholder Jamie Varner says the gold they’re fighting for is “garbage.”
“It’s funny; it’s like the interim belt is a glorified second place,” Varner told Sherdog.com. “To me, I think that’s bulls--t. The interim belt doesn’t mean anything. They have a belt, but they don't have the belt. It’s garbage.”
The interim title fight between Cerrone and Henderson will take place Sept. 2 at the Covelli Centre in Youngstown, Ohio.