Kurt Pellegrino: UFC Comeback Kid
Whoever coined the phrase “you can never go home again” never met Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight Kurt Pellegrino.
After a few years fighting out of Florida with mixed results, Pellegrino relocated back to his native New Jersey and has been on a tear, impressively dispatching Thiago Tavares and Rob Emerson en route to a two-fight winning streak.
Rules Shift Jeopardizes UFC 97 in Montreal
The UFC’s second trip to Montreal is in jeopardy following a decision by the Quebec Boxing Commission this week to adhere to regulations that prohibit elbow and knee strikes and other standard MMA moves.
Sportsnet.ca was the first to report on the story on Thursday.
Nearly 13,000 tickets have been sold for UFC 97 “Redemption,” scheduled to take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on April 18, according to Marc Ratner, Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the UFC. The show, which pits middleweight champion Anderson Silva against jiu-jitsu ace Thales Leites, may face tough choices in the coming days though.
The UFC broke attendance and box office records with its first event on Canadian soil 10 months ago, though that show was regulated under rules more akin to the unified rules of combat recognized throughout North America.
From 2000-2008, the Universal Combat Challenge, later renamed TKO, held 44 of its 46 events in Quebec under similar regulations as well.
But now Québécois officials are saying the province does not have the latitude to allow those or any other set of regulations outside of the ones they already have in place.
“We had a tolerance for the application of the rules in the past,” Réjean Thériault, director of communications for the combat sports division of the Governing Body of Alcohol, Races and Games of Quebec (RACJ), which oversees the commission, told Shedog.com on Thursday. “We learned today that we had a place for tolerance and we didn’t know. Now we know the rules under which to live. We informed all the promoters last week that they must now respect the rules of Quebec.”
Shamrock To Shamrock: Get Over Your Problems
Adoptees Frank and Ken Shamrock haven't much got along since younger Frank stepped out from the elder Ken's shadow. As Ken's career has entered its sub-twilight phase, Frank has gotten more and more vocal about a possible fight between the two. And according to a conference call announcing his next bout against Nick Diaz on Apr. 11, he still hasn't given up the idea. Ken faces Ross Clifton tonight for Wargods, and gives up a lot to the nearly 400-pound Clifton, so clearly he has a bigger problem for now.
Wanderlei Silva is ready for the move to 185
Quinton Jackson, Chuck Liddell, and Keith Jardine are all fighters that Wanderlei Silva has faced since returning to the UFC. They are also all light heavyweight fighters that, when they are not fighting, walk around well above the 205-pound limit of the weight class.
What weight does Silva walk around at outside of the Octagon?
Try 208 pounds.
It's no surprise then that "The Axe Murderer's" recent UFC record is 1-2 against that cast of characters. He doesn't pawn off his losses to the disparity in size, though.
"I think it is the technique," Silva told MMAWeekly.com, saying that he lowered his hand against Jackson at UFC 92 and the former UFC light heavyweight champion took advantage.
He does realize, however, that contrary to popular belief size does matter. He's ready to drop down and see if he is a fit in the middleweight division.
"Yeah, I could try because every guy in my division have to cut to 205 and my normal is 208. I'm going to test now... I'm going to cut my weight. Maybe I go to fight in my next fight at 185," says Silva. Always toeing the company line, he's not ready to make a permanent move, adding, "I could fight in both divisions; I could fight 185 and 205."
It's not something that he jumped into overnight. Silva has been talking about 185 for a long time, but it looks like the UFC is ready for the move, too. "I've been lots and lots of thinking about this now, I see what (UFC president) Dana (White) wants. What he wants (me) to fight, no problem. I talk with (UFC matchmaker) Joe Silva and... say no problem, I'm down for 185? He say, no problem."
Sanchez: ''Weight Cut Hasn't Been Easy''
Diego Sanchez says he is having some difficulty cutting down to 155lbs for his UFC lightweight division debut next week.
Sanchez, who will face Joe Stevenson at UFC 95, revealed this evening that he is eating 1,100 calories a day at present and has had to cut carbs from his diet.
“This weight cut hasn’t been easy,” laughed Sanchez, who minutes earlier had been sitting in a sauna to lose some water.
“But the reason I went to 155 is, it’s a challenge, and I knew that it was going to take a lot of discipline. I was 193lbs on Christmas Eve, so I’ve dropped about 30lbs up to now.
Atencio: ''Affliction Will Be Back In 3-4 Months''
Affliction is still committed to mixed martial arts and will stage its next live event in around three or four months, says company vice-president Tom Atencio.
Speaking exclusively to Fighters Only this week, he said that rumours of Affliction’s demise are greatly exaggerated and the company’s desire to stage fight shows is undiminished.
“Whats happening right now is I’m sitting down with my partners and we’re going to work out [our next show],” he said. “We’re looking at three or four months, but right now we don’t have a date set.”
Manhoef Booked Up, But Open To Offers
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Sunday told MMAWeekly.com he was eyeing Dutch terror Melvin Manhoef for a spot on one of the 10 Showtime cards expected for the San Jose-based organization in 2009.
Heavy-handed former EliteXC middleweight champion Robbie Lawler was a front-runner as an opponent, and manager Monte Cox said on Tuesday that there had been “discussions” about a possible bout in April and May, Strikeforce’s first shows planned for the premium cable network.
“I mean, wouldn’t that be a great fight?” Coker said from Los Angeles.
However, Simon Rutz, Manhoef’s manager, said his client's schedule ruled out an appearance on the spring/summer cards. Manhoef’s next commitment was a possible appearance in a K-1 fight against Gohkan Saki on March 28 in Japan, followed by a Showtime-broadcast fight at the Amsterdam Arena against Stephan Leko on May 16.
Brian Cobb In For Justin Bucholz @ UFC 95
Riding a nine-fight winning streak, Palace Fighting Championship lightweight titleholder Brian Cobb is stepping in on short notice to face Terry Etim at UFC 95 on Feb. 21 in London, according to a report on Sherdog.com.
Justin Buchholz was originally slated to fight Etim, but had to withdraw after he stricken with a severe staph infection on his arm.
Evans addresses 'worse than Tito' comments by Whitehead
Fighter alum Mike Whitehead poured gasoline on the fire by comparing Evans to Tito Ortiz saying that he's terrible for the sport. Evans has been consistent in saying he's unphased by the criticisim and told Cage Writer there may be an additional reason for Whitehead's anger:
"About three weeks before that I get a call from coach he says 'what do you think about Mike Whitehead coming to train with us Jackson's Gym? Well he wants to be part of the team, he's sick of it over at Couture's'. And now after the fight he says this."
Nogueira vs. Couture Still Possible for June
Although Randy Couture turned down the fight offer last month, opting instead to have a pair of large bone spurs in his elbow removed, it appears "Captain America" could still collide with the UFC's other recently dethroned Heavyweight Champion in June at the company's German debut. After losing his UFC Interim Heavyweight Title to Frank Mir at UFC 92, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira remained in the United States in order to have knee surgery last Saturday, February 7th, according to a new interview with "Minotauro's" Muay Thai coach Luiz Alves
DREAM Announces WWGP Participants-Mach, Aoki Entered
On the heels of their Featherweight GP, DREAM has begun announcing the participants for their 8-man Welterweight GP. They've loaded it right away, among the announced participants today are perennial Top 5 Welterweight Hayato Sakurai and current WAMMA Lightweight Champion Shinya Aoki, who will move up to Welterweight to participate.
UFC Signs Another Heavyweight
Todd Dufee, a 23-year-old Heavyweight with a 5-0 record, has now been signed by UFC. Dufee trains with Antonio Silva and most recently beat former UFC fighter Assuerio Silva in September.
DIEGO SANCHEZ DROP TO 155 NOT PERMANENT
When the announcement was made that perennial Top 10 welterweight Diego Sanchez was making a move to lightweight just about every fighter at 155 pounds took immediate notice. From top contenders on down, Sanchez is gunning for the best fighters in the world at lightweight, but as he told MMAWeekly Radio recently, his run at 170 isn't finished either.
Always known for his tremendous strength and cardio conditioning, Sanchez will not accept a loss in either of those categories for his move to lightweight, which may not last as long as some people may have expected.
"I definitely am going to go back to welterweight. Maybe a year, year and a half at this weight, we'll see," he said in the interview. "It's all about the business and the right fights, whatever are the best fights for the UFC. I'm here to put the best fights on for the fans and the UFC, and be the best fighter out there that I can be for you guys."
The New Mexico born fighter attributes the move to lightweight as something he felt necessary at this point in his career, but as he ages, he believes that 170 will be his home once again.
"I'm 27 now, so I'm only in my twenties. When I come into my thirties it's going to be a lot harder to make that weight drop, so I said hey go for the belt at 155 and then later on in my career, I can go for the belt at 170," commented Sanchez.
Drysdale tests out role as player-coach
A few moments before the weigh-in for UFC 86 was to begin at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, UFC lightweight Joe Stevenson spotted a reporter standing about 100 yards away.
The moments before a weigh-in are when a fighter is usually at his crankiest. He’s sick of not being able to eat, sick of having to sweat weight off, and the pressure of the fight is beginning to build. Normally, he just wants to be left alone.
Stevenson, though, ran over in a dead sprint. He was eager to introduce his new jiu-jitsu coach, 2007 Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling world champion Robert Drysdale.
“This guy is the best ever,” Stevenson said exuberantly.