UFC 85: MARQUARDT EYEING LEITES, TITLE SHOT
Hopefully Thales Leites is avoiding black cats and walking under ladders this week. He is scheduled to face Nathan Marquardt Saturday night in London at UFC 85, a bout that has been in the works for more than a year and a half. But due to issues regarding attaining a visa and injuries, both previously scheduled dates for this fight have fallen apart.
Mere days away, it looks as if this time Marquardt vs. Leites will finally happen, pitting two of the top middleweights in the Ultimate Fighting Championship against each other.
Leites has a strong background in competitive jiu-jitsu and enters the Octagon at the O2 Arena with a 12-1 professional record in mixed martial arts. His only loss in the UFC was in his promotional debut, dropping a decision to Martin Kampmann. He has since won three straight.
The only seven-time King of Pancrase in Japan and with more than 30 professional bouts to his credit, Marquardt has gone 5-1 in the UFC, his only misstep being a TKO loss to current middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
Kampmann's Comeback Starts In London
He was one step away from a shot at Anderson Silva and the UFC middleweight title when disaster struck. Martin Kampmann blew out his knee, and for the 16 months since his injury, he has waited on the sidelines and watched fighters like Michael Bisping and Yushin Okami pass him in the rankings. Now the 26-year-old Dane finds himself in the back of the line again.
At the same time, "Hitman" is happy just to return to the Octagon. "I've been rehabbing my knee for quite a while, then getting back into training slowly one step at a time," Kampmann told Sherdog.com. "For the last couple of months, I've been back here in Vegas, training pretty hard for my fight."
His return bout takes place Saturday in London against fellow striker Jorge Rivera. On British soil Rivera is 4-1, with his lone defeat coming at the hands of Anderson Silva. He also recently ruined Kendall Grove's comeback fight by knocking him out in a mere 80 seconds. "I wasn't happy about him beating Kendall because he's a friend and a training partner of mine," Kampmann said. "His record doesn't bother me, though. It doesn't matter if we fight in the U.K. or the U.S. the result is still going to be the same."
Even after more than a year on the shelf, Kampmann remains optimistic for his middleweight encounter with Rivera. "Jorge is a tough guy but seems to be a little inconsistent," he said. "Sometimes he doesn't look that good, and other times he's a beast, so I'm preparing for the worst. I'm ready to take the fight anywhere it goes. I'll trade with him or I'll go to the mat with him either way I'm sure I can beat him. My knee is completely healed up, and I'm ready to fight."
London will be the closest to home Kampmann has fought in two and a half years. Obviously the likeable fighter from Aarhus, Denmark, is hoping for support from his countrymen. "I expect a lot of people from back home to be coming over now that it's a lot closer than usually," he said. "That's going to be cool. I have friends and fans from the U.K., too, so I'm sure there's going to be good support for my fight."
Xtreme Couture, the camp where Kampmann prepares when he is in the United States, has recently added some excellent new trainers and sparring partners. Kampmann, who holds the rank of "captain" at the Las Vegas gym, meaning that he is one of the main instructors, is full of praise for his new teammates. "Shawn Tompkins has been there for a while now, and he's got a great insight in the stand-up game," he said. "Ronaldo Jacaré and Robert Drysdale have come in more recently, and obviously they have a lot of skills. I have learned a lot from both of them. I also had the pleasure of cornering Jacaré for his last fight, and he looked great. I think he will win the [Dream middleweight] tourney."
By training with world-class teammates like the aforementioned trio, Kampmann, who started out as a pure kickboxer six years ago, has added some new assets to his already well-rounded game. "You don't really improve anything by sitting on the couch," he said. "So for the first six months after injuring my knee, I didn't have the chance to do much. But after that, I've been trying to improve all aspects of my game. I worked a lot on my wrestling lately; I feel it has gotten better."
In no way overlooking the tough-as-nails Rivera, Kampmann hasn't lost sight of his ultimate goal in the UFC: a title fight against Anderson Silva. "He's a tough guy, really bad ass," Kampmann said. "I enjoy watching him fight. Everybody can be beaten though, and that includes him, too."
Kampmann, who is 3-0 in the UFC and 15-2 overall, could get a chance to prove that point in a future title bout. To resume his march down the road to Silva, however, he must first go through Rivera.
The Moment Of "Truth"
He seemed too good to be true.
With his first four UFC bouts totaling just more than eight and a half minutes combined, Brandon Vera emergence as a top heavyweight in 2005-06 made fans take notice. He could punch and kick with wicked effect, and he was a top-notch technician in all phases of the grappling game. A technical gem of sorts, with an engaging smile and easygoing charisma to boot. He had pedigrees galore extensive training with world class wrestlers, sublime submissions and explosive athleticism that left fans double taking when he stopped foes. Like the savage head kick that dispatched Justin Eilers or the wicked quick guillotine he used to tap out Assuerio Silva.
But facing former heavyweight champ Tim Sylvia last October, "The Truth" had a dose of hard luck that mushroomed, both in and out of the cage, sending him away with his first loss and managerial problems that sidelined him for several months. Sylvia was supposed to be the acid test to see if Vera was ready for a title shot. Instead, Vera broke his thumb with the first punch of the bout, then struggled en route to a three-round decision loss. "I broke my left thumb with the first punch I threw, got three screws in two places," Vera said. "I thought it was dislocated at first, and I was trying to put it back in, but that didn't work."
The two spent much of the fight clinched on the cage, with Vera giving up 6 inches and 40 pounds to the 6-foot-8, 265-pound Sylvia. With his injured hand, he was unable implement his game plan, and like many of Sylvia's opponents, found himself smothered by the gargantuan ex-champ. "I only had one arm to push him forward with, instead of two, which you need," Vera said. "He was the biggest guy in the division. I'm definitely not nervous about fighting anybody ever again."
It wasn't a blowout by any means, but the fireworks he'd shown in previous efforts were absent. "I've seen the tape a few times. Maybe I could strike more. We did get off the jab and combos, but it hurt to jab," he said. "I don't know what I could've done more. I look at it and say, ‘Kick more, you retard!'" Suddenly, Vera looked human injured thumb and all. Then he had a fallout with his manager at the time, with both parties settling in arbitration. He didn't get fights due to his legal entanglements, and, with the lackluster showing against Sylvia, was one step away from appearing on the back of a milk carton, as far as fans were concerned.
The exile ends Saturday. Facing Fabricio Werdum at UFC 85 in London, Vera has the chance to get back on track and revitalize a career that was stuck in limbo. Werdum, a world-champion submission grappler, is one of the few MMA heavyweights who might be able to best Vera on the ground. "It's a little different," Vera said. "Trying to do jiu-jitsu, that would be a stupid choice. I will do MMA jiu-jitsu and punch him. No pretty, technical setups. I won't go heads up with Werdum. I don't know if my jiu-jitsu is superior or worse, but obviously, it's his strong point."
Eric Del Fierro, Vera's standup coach, said that while they haven't been tweaking too much of his charge's training regimen -- which consists of flying back and forth between Chula Vista, Calif., and Virginia to train with ground instructor Lloyd Irvin -- there are some minor changes for Werdum. "Brandon's assets are the same. He's a strong kicker and moves like a light heavyweight, real good footwork," Del Fierro said. "We worked on his power and speed for this fight. He's aggressive and comes in to finish. The only thing we've [changed] is working on different stances, lowering his center of gravity."
Keeping the bout on the feet would definitely be to Vera's advantage. Werdum has beaten Gabriel Gonzaga twice, looking impressive on both occasions, but he found himself befuddled and stymied in a decision loss to Andrei Arlovski whose takedown defense and striking left the Brazilian largely unable to engage. Arlovski didn't press the issue, content to take a snoozer decision. Given the same circumstances, history indicates Vera will try and close the show. Yet with a record of 10-3-1, Werdum has faced impressive competition and has never been stopped. It's the kind of challenge Vera relishes. With five fights left on his UFC contract, he is back in the mix and a big win could make up for the lost time he spent dealing with his legal issues and the loss to Sylvia.
Heavyweight champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will take on ex-champ Frank Mir in December Vera dispatched Mir in 69 seconds in November 2006 so there's no reason to think a strong showing against Werdum wouldn't put his name on the short list of potential challengers. But he wants to earn it, to get back to the delicious position of being the guy on everybody's lips -- the heir apparent to the heavyweight belt.
"It all depends on how I look," Vera said of a possible title shot should he win. "Werdum is ranked five or six in the world. He's for sure the best fighter I've fought in my career to date. I'm sure I'm the most well-rounded heavyweight. If I squeak out a decision, I won't ask for one; but if I beat him soundly, [maybe]." And a showdown with Nogueira a living legend among hardcore fans for his gutsy battles in Pride before he joined the UFC would be the ultimate gut check. Nogueira is as tough as any fighter in the game, with the kind of blood-soaked resilience and heart you can't teach. You can spike him on his head (Bob Sapp) batter him with relentless ground and pound (Fedor Emelianenko) or send him staggering with crushing blows (Tim Sylvia) but he recovers and keeps battling.
Nogueira took the vacant UFC belt from Sylvia after Randy Couture (Pictures)'s split with the organization earlier this year. The bout was a roughneck encounter that saw Sylvia put heavy leather on the Brazilian for two taxing rounds, before he was taken down and submitted in a dramatic reversal of fortunes. "Honestly, Tim Sylvia summed it up best. He was whipping Nog's ass the first 10 minutes, then all of a sudden Nogueira wins. Nog's a soldier," Vera said. "He's the guy that would jump on a grenade in war and then put his guts back together and go shoot them up. You really have to fight Nog, fight to finish him, but fight smart. His MMA jiu-jitsu is so well rounded and so good. It's hard to do."
Vera/Werdum offers up some stylistic similarities, as Vera will be facing a world-class submission stylist. The fight could offer up a preview of how he might fare against the champion, or it could be a tough setback should Vera have another night like the loss against Sylvia.
"The Truth" will out.
In The Gym: Marcus Davis Preps For UFC 85
Sherdog.com's Greg Savage and Dave Mandel sat down with Marcus Davis (Pictures) to discuss his bout against Mike Swick (Pictures) this weekend at UFC 85.
In this exclusive look into the welterweight's training camp, the "Irish Hand Grenade" shares his thoughts on how the contest will unfold.
Report: Donald Trump to Announce Affliction's Signing of Andrei Arlovski
MMARated.com has learned that at tomorrow's Affliction press conference in Manhattan, Donald Trump will be announcing that former UFC heavyweight champion, Andrei Arlovski, has officially signed with the upstart promotion. The Executive Vice President of The Trump Organization and the Special Counsel to Donald J. Trump, Michael D. Cohen, confirmed the news with MMARated.com.
Trump will also announce that he has become an equity partner in the Affliction promotion. When asked what percentage of the organization he now owns, Mr. Cohen would only say "a significant amount."
Finally, when asked if Trump's relationship with Tito Ortiz would help bring the former UFC light heavyweight champion to Affliction, Cohen said:
"Everything that Donald Trump does is the biggest and the best and the "Afflcition: Banned" show will be just that.
Due to the status of the Trump mark, and Donald Trump as a mogul business man, Mr. Trump has received dozens of phone calls from fighters who are interested in joining the Affliction family."
Carano, Conviction, and Heavyweight Hypocrisy
There is a world of red-blooded male mixed martial arts fans who would love to date Gina Carano (Pictures). The rationale is obvious: Carano is extra-easy on the oculars and almost any hardcore fan can attest to wishing his own main squeeze was a little more into the sport, if not a fighter herself.
And how nice it must be to have a girl who doesn't care at all about her weight.
Snarkiness aside, in spite of an actual fight card which produced more than a handful of hot topics and discussion points -- as well as a great performance from Carano herself -- my mind has yet to fully drift from yet another weigh-in debacle. The fact that such an event was swept under the rug indicated some kind of insignificance. Carano missing weight again wasn't just a story because nothing else interesting happened on Friday; it's an ongoing issue fight fans should be taking umbrage with.
Kurt Otto Steps Down As Commissioner Of IFL
The revolving door of changes at the International Fight League continues to turn as former co-founder and commissioner Kurt Otto has stepped down from his previous role. He will now serve as matchmaker along with Bas Rutten and Shannon Knapp, as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by representatives from the IFL.
According to a statement from the IFL, Otto is still the promotion’s largest shareholder, but his job behind the scenes will now be as matchmaker.
Otto founded the IFL along with friend and business partner Gareb Shamus in 2005. Shamus stepped down from the organization last year, resigning his role as CEO, being replaced by the current head of the company, Jay Larkin.
The IFL has been mired in financial problems recently, prompting Larkin to go as far as to say they were looking for new partners or to possibly sell the promotion depending on the given situation.
Bas Rutten: Fight was "good for Kimbo" but second-round stoppage justified
Longtime MMA fighter and broadcaster Bas Rutten, who's also the trainer for Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson and the main reason the heavyweight has garnered any sense of credibility within the sport, says that Saturday's win will be good for the fighter.
However, he also admits that the fight should have been stopped in the second round when Ferguson was tagged with nearly a full minute of unanswered ground and pound.
Rutten discussed Saturday's controversial CBS "EliteXC: PRIMETIME" main event between Ferguson and James Thompson, in depth, on his personal website.
More than anything, Rutten said that fight was good for Ferguson because he needed to be tested, especially since he's only been in MMA for a year. Ferguson's previous three fights (two pro bouts and an exhibition fight) lasted an average of just 46 seconds.
"I have to say that I am very happy with [Kimbo's] fight and his performance and that this fight made him way stronger for next time," Rutten wrote. "When you get caught in training by something, whether it's a submission or strike, you learn from that, but there is nothing like learning it the hard way in a fight."
Third Round Interview with Stephen Quadros
When it comes to any profession, their are those who are what I like to call
"The Real Deal"
A truly geniune person who excells at what they do and do it with a feverous passion. The world of Mixed Martial Arts is relatively young, with all the uprising promotions and figure heads that make the claim that they love the sport and only wish to further its development, at times it really leaves me wondering just who is authentic. One figure in the world of MMA that has garnered the attention, and respect of fighters and fans alike is Stephen Quadros.
Open Letter From Brett Rogers Concerning The Kimbo Controversy
An Open letter to all
On behalf of Brett Rogers, Team Bison and everyone representing our camp: we would like to clarify a few issues that may be mis- interrupted by the press and the many many message boards.
First we would like to start out by once again thanking Gary Shaw and Elite XC. Elite is our home and it is where we hope to be for a long time. They treat their fighters great. More then the day to day treatment of the fighters they are interested in developing fighters and making long term commitments to their fighters. Unlike other promotions who have a tradition of “one and done” and cancelling contracts without notice; Elite is standing by their fighters. We are proud to be with the organization that brought back Yves, Sammy and Phil when others wrote them off. We were proud to be part of an organization that gave James Thompson a chance at redemption (and in our mind earned another chance on Saturday!). Elite gave us an amazing opportunity to bring aboard great sponsors who could really get their money’s worth.
We really believe in Elite and hope to bring more of our fighters up through their ranks. We do not want anyone to think for a second we are ungrateful, angry or otherwise disappointed with Gary Shaw, Elite, Showtime or CBS. And no; we have not been forced or threatened to say this and anyone who thinks we could be does not know Team Bison. Simply put; we will always speak our minds and will not be intimidated; which brings us to the Kimbo situation.
Brett had won 6 fight before coming to Elite. He struggled on the local circuit to find fights. He was pretty much avoided from day 1. The guys he fought simply provided zero competition and he put them all away early. When he fought for the regional title he fought a guy who was 10-1 and suppose to be this great striker. Brett KO’d him in under 10 seconds. We went to Hawaii where despite changing the rules as we stepped through the ropes and again during the fight; Brett KO’d his opponent. Finally we got to go BIG and face serious competition in Elite XC in Texas. The main event on that show was Kimbo Slice vs Bo Cantrall. Bo is a sub .500 fighter who was on a 4 fight losing streak when he got the call to come to Elite. On that show Brett faced Ralph Kelly who a decent up and comer with a good amateur record. Brett had a tougher opponent but got less money and a on the Under Card...
More in depth - Tito on Stern Radio
hey mod or anyone - sorry this isnt posted the right way but the site this is taken from is very messy and hard to navigate.
more long winded version of Tito with Howard Stern
Summary from Marksfriggin.com a Stern fan site:
Tito Ortiz Visits. 06/03/08. 9:00am
During the break Howard took a call from a guy who talked about how great Rosie was during that interview. Howard said that she was an excellent interview. He got back to his commercial after letting the guy go.
After the break we heard a prank call that High Pitch Eric made to a pharmacy about some ''twat cream.'' Howard came back a short time later and had fighter Tito Ortiz some in. Tito came in dressed in a suit so Howard asked him to model it for them since it was one of his company's suits.
Tito is leaving the UFC and moving on to another company. Howard said that Tito is complaining that they don't get paid what they deserve from the UFC so he's moving on. The boxers only get about 3 percent of the money that comes in. Tito said that he thinks that they should be getting 10, 20 or even 30 percent. He said that he made about $210,000 the last time he fought.
Howard asked what kind of numbers the Pay-Per-View events get. Tito said it's about a million at $50 bucks per subscription. Howard said that's like 50 million and he's looking for some of that money.
Tito won't even mention the name of the guy who runs the UFC because he's moving on to a better place. He told Howard that he'd do the same thing if he were him. He said that if you're not with the company, you're against the company. Tito said that he's with his own company now and he's going to go out and find the toughest guy he can to fight him.
Howard asked Tito if he's ever lost to anyone. Tito said that he just lost 2 weeks ago to a guy who was running away from him for 3 rounds. He said that he asked the guy to stop pussing out and just fight but he kept running away.
Howard asked Tito what to do in a street fight. Tito told him to talk his way out of it, that's what he does. He said that he doesn't need someone pulling a gun on him because he doesn't' know those Matrix moves.
Howard heard that Tito wasn't allowed into the press conference at the UFC the last time he fought. Tito said that a woman tried to stop him from getting in there so he told her to call security because he was going in. He said that he wasn't going to let them stop him from doing that.
Howard said that Tito is with Jenna Jameson right now but they have no plans to get married. Tito said that they are going to have kids eventually and they are working on that. He said that he's been having sex without protection. Howard told Tito that he doesn't want any kids himself so he wears a condom all the time. Howard said that he'd imagine that Tito would be able to impregnate her pretty quick if he was trying.
Howard read that Tito and Jenna were investigating Scientology and wondered what they have found out. Tito said that they have looked into a lot of religions but the whole Scientology thing might be too intense.
Howard asked Tito why he waited a month to bang Jenna. Tito said that it was all about respect. Howard also asked him about cheating on his first wife which he wrote about in his book ''This Is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion.''
Howard asked Tito about his family life, which he also wrote about, and how his mother was addicted to heroin. Tito said that both of them were addicted to heroin and they both basically abandoned him. He said that he never brought his friends back to the house because he didn't want them to see the trailer they were living in or the stuff they left behind while they were doing heroin.
Tito said that he spoke to his father about 5 months ago after telling him that he never wanted to see him again. Tito said that his father basically quit on his family and that's what he sat down and talked to him about.
Tito talked about how great his ex-wife is and how she and Jenna get along. Howard asked him if he would ever want to get the two of them into bed together. Tito said that he would never want that and Jenna wouldn't either. Howard said that he knows Jenna and he thinks that she loves women. Tito said that she's over all of that and she wants to start a family now.
Tito said that he and Jenna have a lot of fun together and they don't need anyone else in the bedroom to do it. Howard was thinking that she was becoming a prude to get over the porn star stigma but Tito said that she's not a prude at home.
Howard asked Tito about dealing drugs as a kid and if his parents kind of got him into that. Tito said that he did that to pay rent. He said that he didn't understand anything at all back then. He said that he managed to get into wrestling and got a scholarship to college and he wanted to teach for a while but then he got into the UFC.
Howard asked Tito if his teeth were real because they looked perfect. Tito said they were real and he's managed to keep them because he's been so dominant in the fights. He said that he's 33 now but he wants to get out by the time he's 36. He said he wants to do promotions and find the next Tito Ortiz when he's done fighting himself.
Howard asked which martial arts is the best to learn. Tito said that kids should learn to wrestle because it can teach kids a lot. Howard asked if he ever had a penis slip out when he was wrestling. Tito said that has never happened. He said that he's glad it never did.
Howard gave Tito some plugs for some appearances he was making in the area and for his book. You can find out more at TitoOrtiz.com. Howard asked Tito when he last banged Jenna. Tito told him he'd have to use his imagination there.
High Pitch Eric called in to challenge Tito to a fight. Howard hung up on him half way through his challenge. Gay Ramone called in next and asked if he had ever had his asshole eaten out. Tito said that he hasn't had that done but he has had men come on to him. He said he has no problem with that and has some gay friends. Artie said he fantasizes about Tito beating the shit out of Gay Ramone.
A caller asked Tito why he can't just admit that the other fighter who beat him 2 weeks ago was just a better fighter. Tito said he never said he wasn't. Another guy said that he agrees with Tito and said that he did think that the other guy was running away from Tito. Howard wrapped up and went to break a short time later.
Gary Shaw: Dana White's (Far) More Annoying Twin
Where do you think Kimbo fits in among the top heavyweights in MMA?
I don't know...In his standup game, he is probably number one. I don't think on the ground he's in the top 10. As a striker, he's probably number one.
It's fairly funny to me that Shaw does everything that we have complained about Dana doing and makes it 10 times worse. Dana's comments about Fedor not being the best in the world are annoying, but not nearly as bad as this.
The rest of this ridiculous interview with Gary Shaw is worth reading: where he says things like he doesnt want fedor because he hasnt fought anybody in a long time.
Donald Trump to partner with Affliction MMA for ‘Banned’ event
Millionaire real estate developer, casino boss and reality television star, Donald Trump, is set to announce his foray into mixed martial arts this Thursday, June 5, at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York, N.Y., at 12 p.m. ET.
According to a press release issued today, “The Donald” will partner with the start up Affliction MMA promotion, which is set to pull the trigger on its debut show at the at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on July 19.
No particulars were revealed at this time.
Here’s a snip from Trump:
“I have been a fan of professional sports since childhood, and I am particularly impressed by the athleticism, courage, and strength of these disciplined athletes. This particular sport resembles my business style of being fast paced, strategic, and aggressive … remembering to never give up. I am particularly excited to partner with Affliction and become a major player in promotion of MMA; the youngest and fastest growing sport to emerge in the last century.”
Deepens the pockets of the T-Shirt salesmen for sure, also adds a lot of credibility and main-stream attention to this event. Can't wait to see it, and I wish it success, what an amazing card!
Elite XC on CBS ratings reach 6.51 million viewers
Ratings for the final 51 minutes of CBS’s inaugural CBS ELITEXC SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHTS mixed martial arts broadcast (11:00-11:51 PM, ET/PT), which were unavailable Sunday, delivered an average audience of 6.12 million viewers, according to updated Nielsen live plus same day ratings for Saturday, May 31. The audience peaked at 6.51 million viewers from 11:30-11:51 PM which featured the night’s main event — Kimbo Slice’s victory over James Thompson.
WEC Injury Suspensions!
WEC Suspensions are serious this time around, I don't know if these are able to be cleared before hand or what but it is a long time before someone will fight!
Chuck Grigsby has an INDEFINITE suspension due to head injury or whatever.
Urijah and Jens got a half year one!
Tito Ortiz plans to launch own fight promotion
Tito Ortiz, a former UFC light heavyweight champion who's likely concluded his service to the organization, expects to launch his own fight promotion and co-promote shows with some of the sport's already established organizations.
Ortiz, who's currently promoting his new autobiography "This is Gonna Hurt," briefly mentioned his plans while a guest on today's Howard Stern Show.
Ortiz, who fulfilled the terms of his UFC contract after suffering a unanimous-decision loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84, also criticized the UFC's pay scale and took a swipe at his recent opponent during the interview.
When asked about the UFC, Ortiz said he was "moving to a bigger and better company." When asked which one, he said he plans to launch his own.
"I'll be doing my own promotions and I'll possibly be co-promoting with some other companies already in the business," he said.
However, when asked about fighting on CBS (which has a deal with EliteXC), the 33-year-old said it was "possible."
Ortiz, who made $210,000 in his latest fight (according to the Nevada State Athletic Commission and Ortiz himself), estimated that UFC fighters are making only "about three percent" of the UFC's per-event take "if they're lucky." He said that prompted his decision to get in the fight-promotion business.
As for his latest fight, Ortiz said the UFC knowingly scheduled an opponent that would "run away from me for three rounds."
"There were a few times when I was like, 'Come on, man. Don't puss out. Let's fight,'" Ortiz said.