Eying the Lightweight Landscape
Many believe it is the most exciting division in mixed martial arts.
But not many guys walking around at 155 pounds have truly devastating, one-punch knockout power like Chuck Liddell or Tim Sylvia. Not many of them can fire a high kick like Mirko Cro Cop or Gabriel Gonzaga. So, what makes the little fellas so exciting?
It can be summed up with three words: blazing, nonstop action.
Stated differently, a lightweight bout is like watching the other weight classes on fast forward. From lightning quick punches that come in rapid-fire succession to amazing scrambles to crazy transition jiu-jitsu, the little guys know how to thrill the crowd.
Who is the division kingpin? Who is next up to challenge for the title? And what marquee names round out the list of true division contenders?
Tim Kennedy - Open Letter
To the IFL and fans of MMA,
It is with regret that I must announce I will have an assignment with the United States Army that will prevent me from fighting on the 29th of February, 2008. I serve my country with great honor and I am proud of my service.
I would like to thank the MMA, IFL fans, and media that have rallied to my support.
I am sorry I will be unable to provide another exciting fight. Your support over the MMA forums and articles has been extremely humbling and kind.
This fight with Matt Horwich would have been an excellent match up for me and for the fans, as our styles would have made a great fight.
This assignment will not prevent me from other fights this year. As many of you know, I had four IFL and HDNet fights along with five US Army fights in 2007. This is the first fight in 7 years of fighting I will have to miss.
Fighting is what I enjoy and I will return this year!
I would like to specifically thank Kurt Otto and the IFL for their continued support of me and my commitments to the United States Army.
The IFL is a great organization that truly supports its fighters and provides an excellent show for the fans in attendance. I wish them the best and I hope they will give me another chance to win the IFL belt this year.
All the best,
Belcher confirms fight with Cote
Alan Belcher (11-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who had to pull out of this past weekend’s UFC 81 event with bronchitis, will take on Patrick Cote (12-4 MMA, 3-4 UFC) at an April 19 UFC 83 event at Montreal’s Bell Centre.
Belcher today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he’s accepted the bout.
Boetsch plans to stay in UFC
UFC newcomer Tim Boetsch (7-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who earned an exciting TKO victory over fellow light heavyweight David Heath (7-3 MMA, 2-3 UFC) in his debut at this past weekend’s UFC 81 event, thinks he may have found a new home with the organization.
The UFC’s newest light heavyweight, who took the UFC 81 fight on just 10 days’ notice, discussed that debut fight and his plans for the future on Wednesday’s episode of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), a partner site of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 82: Chris Leben vs. Alessio Sakara confirmed and televised
It looks like we’re going to see Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara throw some leather after all at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” on Saturday March 1 from the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, according to UFC.com.
This latest news confirms that there will indeed be 10 bouts for the second-ever card to take place in Columbus. Let’s have one final peek:
UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva (20-4) vs. Dan Henderson (22-6)
Main card (televised):
265 lbs.: Cheick Kongo (11-3-1) vs. Heath Herring (27-13)
185 lbs.: Alessio Sakara (12-6) vs. Chris Leben (17-4)
185 lbs.: Evan Tanner (32-6) vs. Yushin Okami (21-4)
170 lbs.: Jon Fitch (15-2) vs. Chris Wilson (13-3)
Under card (may not be broadcast):
265 lbs.: Andrei Arlovski (11-5) vs. Jake O’Brien (10-0)
170 lbs.: Luke Cummo (6-4) vs. Luigi Fioravanti (11-3)
170 lbs.: Josh Koscheck (9-2) vs. Dustin Hazelett (10-3)
170 lbs.: Diego Sanchez (17-2) vs. David Bielkheden (12-5)
155 lbs.: Jorge Gurgel (11-3) vs. John Halverson (16-5)
This shake-up makes some sense — it was hard to explain the reason Koscheck was buried on the prelims even though he defeated Sanchez back in April 2007. “The Nightmare” then lost his next bout to Jon Fitch at UFC 76: “Knockout” later in September.
Having said that, the former winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 is a fan favorite and his bout will more than likely be aired between fights if time permits (something tells me the Leben-Sakara fight is not going the distance) and it is an exciting match
MMA SEMINAR TO BENEFIT PREMATURE BABY
From the Underground:
MMA SEMINAR TO BENEFIT PREMATURE BABY
I am asking for help. The seminar is going to be in Jackson Mississippi on March 8. I have Renato Tavares, Rich Clementi, Stephen R Koepfer, and Travis Neagle teaching at the seminar. Any form of donation, help spreading this(bulletins on myspace, just keeping this thread alive) or saying a prayer for this baby and his family would be greatly appreciated. If you have any fight gear, autographed pics, or questions, etc etc please contact Mark at SCHWARZENEGGER2@HOTMAIL.COM, you can email Kyria at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can email Dan Christison at email@example.com.
Seminar date set for Kaiden Reese Blakeney (premature baby born on 10-6-2007, due date was 1-13-2008, and is still in the hospital)
Where- Gracie South 1006 Top St Suite H Flowood, MS. 39232 Date- March 8th Time of seminar- 11am Cost per person-$35 Instructors -Travis Neagle (Robert Kahn and Royce Gracie BJJ brown belt), Stephen R Koepfer (President of American Sambo Association, Head Coach of New York Combat Sambo and Team American Sambo, a regular contributer to Ultimate Grappling Mgazine, and have trained under Alexander Barakov (in the US) and Igor Kurinnoy (In Russia), Renato Tavares (4th degree black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu Black Belt from Carlson Gracie Sr and American Top Team member), Rich Clementi (UFC veteran and The Ulimate Fighter season 4 contestant). Film-Chabasco aka UFN ( www.ufnmma.com) will be there with his camera man to film the event to put on his new show they are getting ready to do. If you would like to attend or have any items you would like to donate for a raffle, please let me know SCHWARZENEGGER2@HOTMAIL.COM
Counting blessings despite hardship: McDonald House keeps family close Richard Lake •
December 24, 2007 The baby was born the size of a shampoo bottle but only half as heavy. He was not supposed to survive this long. He cannot breathe normally on his own and does not do well when he is touched. And yet, here is Kaiden, brought into this world by Caesarean section Oct. 6 weighing 1 pound, 1 ounce. He was 11 inches long. Kaiden was born 15 weeks early.
He has grown to 3 1/2 pounds, and about 14 inches, but his survival is still not assured. He is still breathing with lungs that do not work right, and he's housed in an isolette, one of those clear plastic boxes.
His parents have never held him, but are at his side every day. The first thing on his big sister's Christmas list is for him to leave the neonatal intensive care unit at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and go home to Laurel, 90 miles to the southeast. That is not going to happen soon. Which means Shaun and Mark Blakeney needed to squeeze a Christmas tree into their room at the Ronald McDonald House on UMC's campus.
"Here it is," said Shaun. "This is our Christmas tree." She was pointing at a small, felt-like ornament hanging from a picture hook on the wall. The Blakeneys have been at Ronald McDonald House since not long after Kaiden's birth.
Shaun said doctors have told her to expect him to be in the hospital until at least February. He needs the kind of specialized care that is available nowhere in Mississippi but UMC. It would be impossible to drive all the way from Laurel to Jackson every day, so the Blakeneys thank goodness for Ronald McDonald House.
"We are so blessed to be here and be on this campus to be close to our son," Shaun said. "It's a hidden secret." They are one of more than a dozen families that will probably be there over Christmas. Tippy Garner, the house's events and development coordinator, said about 500 families each year stay there. The program is designed for families who are from outside the Jackson area and whose children are in town for lifesaving medical care.
Often, that means a child injured in a car accident, a cancer patient or a severely premature baby such as Kaiden. The house has 16 hotellike rooms, four full kitchens, a large dining room and other accommodations. It is almost always full or close to it. Sometimes there's a waiting list. More than half the families who stay there pay nothing; the rest pay only $8 a day.
Garner said operating expenses are taken care of through donations and volunteers. The program has only four full-time employees and two part-timers. If not for Ronald McDonald house, the Blakeneys might be in serious trouble.
Shaun, 37, has suffered from thyroid problems her whole life, she said. She was having trouble over the summer, and was in and out of the doctor's office many times. On one occasion, they shocked her with news of her pregnancy. She was already four months along. She and Mark, 29, who'd met last year when they both worked at the mall in Laurel, married and planned for their future.
They'd raise Shaun's daughter, Laken Davis, 9, and their new baby together. But Shaun's health problems persisted. Surgery was scheduled for February to remove her thyroid. And then, her blood pressure measured 230 over 200. Doctors worried about a condition called preeclampsia, hypertension during pregnancy, that can harm both the mother and the baby. In fact, Kaiden was having what are called brain bleeds. He needed to be born if he was to survive.
The day before the surgery to give birth to Kaiden, the experts prepared the Blakeneys for the worst. "They told me he would probably live 30 minutes," Shaun said. He lived, though just barely.
He looked like a pink skeleton when he was born. "He was little bitty," said Shaun. "He could fit in your hand." Mark commuted back and forth between Jackson and the Coast for three weeks until he finished training to become a truck driver. Now, both he and Shaun are at the Ronald McDonald House full time. They spend all day, every day by Kaiden's bedside, they said. They sleep at Ronald McDonald. They will celebrate Christmas there with family, who will make the drive from Laurel, they said.
Laken, who will be 10 next month, has been staying with her grandmother. She visits on the weekends. "Santa knows where she's at," Shaun said
Mark Hunt signs with Hustle Pro-Wrestling
this links link takes you to a foreign site that supposedly broke the story.
I'm a little bummed,but oh well.
GORAN RELJIC VS. WILSON GOUVEIA AT UFC 84
Goran Reljic is set to make his debut in the Octagon on May 24 when the Ultimate Fighting Championship returns to the MGM Grand Garden Arena according to his manager, Zoran Saric.
The 23-year-old Croation fighter has signed a multiple-fight contract to fight for the UFC. Terms of his contract were not disclosed.
Saric stated that Reljic’s first bout, at UFC 84, will be against American Top Team fighter Wilson Gouveia in the light heavyweight division.
Splitting his training between Croatia and England (where he trains with Roger Gracie), Reljic has a strong background in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He has submitted nearly every one of his opponents and has not gone to a decision en route to a 7-0 record.
Gouveia is currently riding a four-fight winning streak. He is a UFC veteran with a 4-1 record in the Octagon, his only loss being a decision to Ultimate Fighter veteran Keith Jardine.
Matt Lindland Update: Will Not Be Returning To The UFC
Both Matt Lindland and Dana White have recently confirmed that the two had tossed around the idea of a Lindland return to the UFC. However after UFC 81 Lindland made it clear that the UFC would not be making him an offer.
“Dana has made it clear they are not going to make me an offer to return to the UFC,” said Lindland. I feel there are a lot of good fighters in the UFC, and I feel like I could beat most of them.”
Frank Mir Reflects on Brock Lesnar, Looks to Future
Fresh off a 90-second submission victory over the much-hyped Brock Lesnar (1-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC), former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir (11-3 MMA, 9-3 UFC) joined the crew of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com) Tuesday to discuss the experience — and the potential consequences of the victory.
“I knew that it would have to be a combination of submission attempts,” Mir said. “He was too explosive for me to just flat out grab him in one submission and be able to catch it… Like anything, it’s kind of hard to catch a guy with one punch if you just keep throwing one shot. But combinations? That can catch anybody.“
Tito Ortiz Trashes Dana White, Hints at Starting New Fight Promotion on “Howard Stern Show”
UFC light heavyweight Tito Ortiz had some harsh words for UFC President Dana White and hinted that he might eventually start his own fight promotion when he leaves the UFC. Ortiz discussed both topics while a guest on today’s “Howard Stern Show,” which airs on Sirius as satellite radio’s most popular program.
Ortiz was a guest on the show with his girlfriend, former porn superstar and mogul Jenna Jameson. While much of the interview focused on Jameson and her new book, Stern did ask Ortiz about his current feud with White and plans for the future.
“He’s an egotistical egomaniac,” Ortiz said of White. “He wants to be a fighter and a superstar.
Kid Yamamoto's NYE Win Stands
After an investigation resulting from Rani Yahya's protest of his loss to Norifumi "Kid' Yamamoto on December 31, FEG, parent company of K-1 HERO'S, has announced that the result stands and Yamamoto keeps his win. Yahya contended that the stoppage was produced by illegal blows (soccer kicks), and should be grounds for a No Contest, or a disqualification.
UFC 83 Pre-Sale Tickets Sold Out!
Just got the email from the UFC
Due to incredible demand, nearly all of the tickets to UFC® 83: SERRA vs. ST-PIERRE 2 have been purchased by members of UFC® Fight Club in its exclusive presale which started on Sunday. Over 21,000 people will rock the Bell Centre on Saturday, April 19th, and the vast majority of them will be UFC® Fight Club members. The UFC® organization is honored to welcome so many of its most devoted fans to the event that night.
Because of the unprecedented size of this presale, the normal UFC® Newsletter Presale will not take place. The scheduled public onsale date for this event is this Friday, February 8 at 12pm ET. On that date and time, a very limited number of tickets will be released for sale via Ticketmaster and at the Bell Centre Box Office.
Additional viewing options for fans in the Montreal area, or those wishing to come to Montreal for the event, are currently being researched. Information will be made public as it becomes available via UFC.com and this UFC® Newsletter.
Referee Steve Mazzagatti Discusses Lesnar-Mir Fight — An MMAjunkie.com Interview
MMAJUNKIE.COM: OK, onto the fight. When we spoke earlier, you mentioned that the decision to deduct Lesnar one point for strikes to the back of Mir’s head was pretty clear. Can you explain?
STEVE MAZZAGATTI: These fighters are extremely skilled fighters, and a grappler like Frank, that’s what they’re trained to do: when you have a guy in half guard on top of you, you don’t want to give the guy room to punch. So that was Mir’s defense. You suck up close to (your opponent’s) chest, tuck yourself up under them, and that covers you from getting hit. At first, Brock started to do the right thing by winding up with the hook from behind and pushing Mir’s head away from his stomach. Then you can blast him in the face… but to have to worry about getting struck in the back in the head in a situation like that isn’t something Frank should have had to worry about. But that was a target that presented itself to Brock.
for the full interview go to
UFC 81 Draws Live Gate of $2,437,890
The paid-attendance figure is the second-lowest ever recorded at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, which has hosted 15 UFC events to date. The only UFC event to draw a smaller paid attendance at the venue was UFC 48, which featured a main event of Ken Shamrock vs. Kimo Leopoldo. Just 6,528 fans paid to attend the June 2004 event.
However, while those figures are below average for the venue, UFC 81 likely registered higher-than-normal pay-per-view buys. The event featured a headline bout between Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC’s interim heavyweight title, but the main attraction was the debut of former World Wrestling Entertainment performer Brock Lesnar, who took on one-time UFC champ Frank Mir. The UFC marketed Lesnar’s UFC debut extensively, hoping to attract part of the WWE’s substantial fan base.
Unfortunately, we’re unlikely to know if the UFC was successful. Because the organization is a privately owned company, the UFC doesn’t publicly release the number of pay-per-view buys for its events
The past 10 events at the Mandalay Bay Events Center:
UFC 81 (2/2/08) — 10,583 attendance (7,167 paid) for $2,437,890 live gate
UFC 79 (12/29/07) — 11,075 attendance (10,968 paid) for $4,994,000 live gate
UFC 74 (8/25/07) — 11,118 attendance (9,622 paid) for $3,307,000 live gate
UFC 67 (2/3/07) — 10,227 attendance (8,700 paid) for $2,767,130 live gate
UFC 64 (10/14/06) — 10,173 attendance (8,913 paid) for $1,790,490 live gate
UFC 62 (8/26/06) — 9,859 attendance (8,954 paid) for $3,040,880 live gate
UFC 61 (7/8/06) — 11,167 attendance (9,999 paid) for a $3,350,775 live gate
UFC 58 (3/4/06) — 9,569 attendance (8,183 paid) for $1,758,450 live gate
UFC 57 (2/4/06) — 11,000 attendance (10,301 paid) for $3,382,400 live gate
UFC 51 (2/5/05) — 11,072 attendance (9,268 paid) for $1,493,100 live gate
Rage In The Cage XVI
"Wildfire" Johnny Rage returns with his weekly column. In this week's column he tackles UFC 81, a preview of UFC 82, World Victory Road and his thoughts on MMA "Smart Fans" and his thoughts on the Super Bowl.