BISPING VS. LEBEN ADDED TO UFC 85 IN LONDON
Amidst a flurry of activity this week, the Ultimate Fighting Championship on Friday officially confirmed the changing line-up for its return to London on June 7. UFC 85 underwent a hefty facelift this week, starting with a main event of Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans and ended with a new main event of Matt Hughes vs. Thiago Alves.
Murphy Added To DREAM 2, Trigg Officially Out
FEG has announced that national university freestly wrestling champion Ian Murphy has been added to the DREAM 2 card as part of the Middleweight GP. He'll face Ronaldo Jacare, who was to have fought Frank Trigg but apparently visa issues and reconsidering participating after reaching a verbal agreement will keep Trigg off.
Purge and Merge
...Apparently [the UFC] is planning on purging the 185 and 205 divisions from the WEC. I suspect they will bring in a few guys from each division over to The UFC (Stann, Marshall, Filho, etc), and cut the rest off. Brian Stann has tremendous marketable potential if he's able to train full time, there's no way they're going to let him go...
is Zuffa going to do to WEC what it did to PRIDE and gut the venue while taking its stars?
as an MMA fan, do you have a problem with this? is this a good thing for the UFC? for the MMA community?
World MMA Awards unveiled
We've teamed up with Fighters Only Magazine, the planet's leading mixed martial arts publication, to launch the inaugural World Mixed Martial Arts Awards.
A strong partnership between the two titles was struck last August when we began covering the Ultimate Fighting Championship as part of our sports offering.
We've recognised the huge impact mixed martial arts has had on the mainstream, and we're pleased to be teaming up with Fighters Only Magazine on this groundbreaking awards ceremony.
This weekend will see the stunning Octagon-shaped trophy unveiled at top combat expo Seni '08, which takes place at London's Excel Arena.
You can check out the award for yourself by visiting the Fighters Only Magazine stand (number 1082) at the exhibition, where two stunning Sun glamour girls and our MMA expert, Jim Burman, will be appearing.
Affliction event details
More details are emerging on Affliction's first promotional effort which is set for July 17 in Dallas are beginning to emerge. So far the only "announced" fights for the event are Tim Sylvia v. Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Lindland v. TBA.
Sylvia's payday is listed...you gotta see this.
Matt Hughes vs. Thiago Alves UFC 85 fight for main event confirmed
UFC 85 has a surprise main event!
Former welterweight champion Matt Hughes and Thiago Alves will step up to the plate, inking a fight contract to go toe-to-toe at UFC 85 at the O2 Arena in London, England, on June 7, according to Matt-Hughes.com.
The exciting showdown between two of the top performers in the 170-pound division was apparently booked to help fill the void of the injured Chuck Liddell.
Here’s a snip:
“June 7th, in England, I fight Thiago Alves. The fight is confirmed, it will be the main event for the card. Dana just called me with the news. Chuck got hurt and couldn’t fight, so he needed a replacement and called me and I said yes. More news as I get it. No matter what happens in this fight, I’ve got Serra next.”
More on this in a bit, including whether or not the 185-pound fight between Michael Bisping and Chris Leben is still in the works.
Match-ups revealed for WEC 34
The event is headlined by a previously revealed bout between WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber and former UFC champion Jens Pulver, and WEC bantamweight title-holder Miguel Torres meets replacement Yoshiro Maeda.
Other fighters in action include Jeff Curran, Rob McCullough, Rich Crunkilton and Alexandre Nogueira.
The event airs live on Versus
The latest card includes:
Champ Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver -- for WEC featherweight title
Champ Miguel Torres vs. Yoshiro Maeda -- for WEC bantamweight title*
Mike Brown vs. Jeff Curran
Kenneth Alexander vs. Rob McCullough*
Donald Cerrone vs. Rich Crunkilton*
Tim McKenzie vs. Eric Schambari
Luis Sapo vs. Alex Serdyukov
Jose Aldo vs. Alexandre Nogueira
Dominick Cruz vs. Charlie Valencia
* - not officially announced
Travis Lutter: ‘I was a half-inch from breaking Rich Franklin’s arm’ at UFC 83
“… I got caught – I haven’t watched the fight yet but some of my buddies told me I got caught with a pretty good punch about 18 seconds in…. I thought I had him. I was really surprised when he was able to roll out. It’s pretty rare for somebody to get out. It’s just one of those things. Golf clap for Rich for getting out…. I was probably a half-inch, maybe even a quarter-inch, from breaking Rich Franklin’s arm. If we played that fight again I think I’ve got a real good shot at beating him. How close was I to getting my arm raised in both those fights? Sometimes luck is … And, I’m not saying that Rich got lucky. I don’t want people sending me hate mail saying I was saying Rich got lucky. I’m just saying I got unlucky.”
The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 4 middleweight winner, Travis Lutter, talks about his technical knockout loss to UFC 83: “Serra vs. St. Pierre 2? on April 19. In addition to discussing the loss, “The Serial Killer” goes in to details about all the unnecessary hate mail he receives for his past two losing performances.
Gilbert Melendez vs. Josh Thomson Strikeforce fight booked for June 27
Strikeforce Lightweight Champion Gilbert Melendez (14-1) and Josh Thomson (14-2) are booked to scrap during the main event at the HP Pavillion in San Jose, Calif., on Friday June 27.
The 155-pound tilt between “Bay-area archrivals” was supposed to go down on March 29; however, “The Punk” has to undergo surgery to repair a left shoulder injury. “El Nino” went on to defend his title against Gabe Lemley with a second round technical knockout.
Here’s a snip from Melendez:
“This is a very big fight for the fans, for the promotion and for Josh and me. Josh is a great fighter, but I’m the champ and I plan on remaining the champ for a long time.”
Thomson is on a six-fight win streak, finishing five of those fights inside the distance mostly with submissions. He stopped Adam Lynn with a technical knockout his last time out at Strikeforce: “Playboy Mansion” in September 2007.
Here’s a snip from Thomason:
“This fight with Gilbert has been a long time coming and we’re ready to do it. It’s not as if we need a feeling out period. We both know each other very well. We’ve trained together, we’ve sparred together. We’re gonna come out ready for five rounds, but we’re gonna bang it out.”
GSP Moves Up P4P List, But Not to Top
It was a slow month for the 10 fighters on the Sherdog pound-for-pound ranking. Only one, Georges St. Pierre (Pictures), competed. His dismantling of Matt Serra (Pictures) avenged a shocking defeat from one year ago, and continued the momentum he's seized since losing the UFC welterweight title. In regaining the belt, GSP moved passed Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) on the list. Outside of that, it remains unchanged.
Mac Danzig Talks Sub of Bocek And Knee Injury
“The Ultimate Fighter” season six winner, Mac Danzig, proved he belongs among the growing list of top lightweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship after defeating Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Mark Bocek by submission at UFC 83 in Montreal.
DREAM.2 Middleweight Grand Prix Preview
DREAM.2 will be coming to us all on April 29, 2008 from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan. We’re talking about a Middleweight Grand Prix in true former PRIDE style, folks. So without further ado, let’s get down to the pickings.
The Middleweight Grand Prix
Dream Pulled from Primetime TV
Bad news for MMA in Japan.
In a less-than-dreamy scenario, Fight Entertainment Group's Dream MMA brand has been ousted from primetime television on the Tokyo Broadcasting System.
The change comes after the debut edition of Dream garnered lackluster ratings in a make-or-break scenario for FEG and TBS.
The event grabbed only an 8.9 percent rating average on TBS in primetime, according to Japan's Video Research Ltd. The telecast's peak was a 12.7 for the Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic bout against Tatsuya Mizuno (Pictures), which was edited into the main event slot due to the no-contest debacle in the Shinya Aoki (Pictures)-Gesias Calvancante (Pictures) fight -- the show's true main event. TBS was fifth out of the six major Japanese networks during the time slot, besting only the perennial sixth-place finisher, TV Tokyo.
The ratings were crucial for the primetime continuation of FEG's MMA product. Rumors within the Japanese MMA community surfaced late last year suggesting that TBS could take FEG's Hero's promotion out of primetime due to sagging, lackluster ratings.
Although FEG's restructuring of its MMA program and the invention of Dream were celebrated by hardcore MMA fans, the move was not an altruistic one. Rather, it was an attempt to revitalize FEG's MMA product and ignite interest on television.