Gamburyan to Start 2009 with a Bang at UFC 94
The Fertitta brothers had a simple plan for Manny Gamburyan: beat Rob Emerson and start fresh as a WEC featherweight.
It was a chance for the Armenian to be a big fish in a little pond. Gamburyan had been plying his trade as a lightweight for years – fighting for free, he says, for his first eight fights – but since his entrance into the UFC at the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter” season five, he had been acutely aware of his frame.
“I’m the smallest guy in the UFC, and Brock Lesnar’s the biggest guy in the world,” he told MMAWeekly.com.
And it never suited Gamburyan to admit he was undersized in a field of taller fighters who cut as much as 20 pounds to meet him.
“In myself, I can see myself being on top of him in a fight,” Gamburyan said of the current heavyweight champ.
Before he was ever nicknamed “The Anvil,” Gamburyan was “The Pitbull.” Not the biggest dog, but the one who wouldn’t let you go if he sunk his teeth in.
“Why am I saying that?” he continues. “I fought Sean Sherk three rounds when I was eighteen years old.”..................
Jeremy Stephens fight ‘a little easier’ for Joe Lauzon
“On our feet it’s the same fight. Stephens is a brawler but, once it hits the ground, it’s going to be an entirely different fight. Hermes is a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu; Stephens isn’t as good as him on the ground. He’s going to come out and try to knock me out. He doesn’t want to fight me on the ground. Hermes was a bigger fight but this is a little easier fight for me. I was training since early December for Franca. Someday we will fight, especially after what he’s been saying about me being lucky I’m not fighting him. The change of opponents could have been a problem if the replacement had an entirely different style. Stephens may have quicker hands and he’s tough, but it’ll be a similar fight. It’s going to be a great fight and there’s nothing like headlining a UFC show.”
Xavier Foupa-Pokam To Face Kang In UFC Debut
Cage Rage and Palace Fighting Championship veteran Xavier Foupa-Pokam and middleweight Denis Kang have signed bout agreements to meet at UFC 97. While not yet officially announced by the organization, UFC 97 is tentatively scheduled for April 18 in Montreal.
Penn says his future is all about big fights
With fights down the road against top contenders like Kenny Florian and Thiago Alves, Penn insists it's not about titles necessarily, but finding the right opponents, and he knows UFC president Dana White will do anything to make the super fights happen.
"It's really about the particular match-up," answered Penn when asked if it's about weight class or just fighting the best regardless of weight. "People like to watch good fights, everybody wants to see the best guys compete. In boxing, like Dana says, a million times it never got to happen.
"No matter what you say about Dana, or anybody says about him, he really does try to put the two best guys together and he has proven it time and time again. If he could get Fedor to fight one of his guys, within whatever his ideas are someone under their contract, he would try to put the best fight together that he could."
It's also been brought up numerous times that if Penn is able to defeat St. Pierre, fans around the world could ask for a match-up pitting him against who many regard as the pound-for-pound king, Anderson Silva. White continuously insists that the fight between Penn and Silva would not happen, and the current lightweight champion says it may be harder to make happen than what some people think.
"Honestly, 185's not even on my mind right now. And it's like the more you talk to Anderson Silva, the more he's such a nice guy, the more you don't want to fight him. He is just the nicest person," stated Penn.
Long Road Back: MMAmania.com interview exclusive with Stephan Bonnar
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): How’s the knee?
Stephan Bonnar: Great. It feels good.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): You trained for a long time in Chicago under Carlson Gracie until his passing in 2006. You’ve also worked with Mark DellaGrotte and Sityodtong, and now you’re with Xtreme Couture. Now that you’ve relocated to Vegas and have access to a lot of different trainers and sparring partners, how would you compare this experience to your days back in Chicago?
Stephan Bonnar: You know, it’s just a lot easier. I still go to a couple different gyms, but it seems like everything’s at my fingertips. Every gym is like within two miles of the other one. I got great sparring partners at Couture, I got a great jiu-jitsu teacher up at Sergio Penha’s, which is a few miles from there.
In Chicago, I’d get some good sparring, at some boxing gyms or with Arlovski, but it was a lot more difficult. I was traveling a lot more, going all over. But (in Vegas) you got a lot more places, a lot of different guys. It feels like everything out here is really close and convenient, not too far out of the way.
In Chicago, I was going up to Miguel Torres’ school a couple of times a week for MMA work. I tried to make it to Duke Roufus’ like twice a week for Muay Thai — that was in Milwaukee, that was killing me. And then also with the boxing too, I had Arlovski, I had some guys that jabbed, but even then, it’d be something I’d have to set up. I’d have to make calls and ask, are you going to go to the gym today? You gonna do sparring?
Down here, I just go to Couture’s and show up there, and there’s a bunch of guys to work with.
Hermes Franca Update!
Hermes Franca Update
After having to pull out of UFC Ultimate Fight Night 18, Hermes Franca informed PDG that he will be having surgery in the next two weeks to repair a torn ACL on his knee and when he expects to return to the cage.
On how long he expects to be out of the UFC cage:
“I have to make sure that I take care of my injury and fully heal. I don’t care how long it takes as long as I am 100% when I return. Whether it takes eight months or one year, I want to recuperate to full health.”
FOR THE REST:
UFC 94 Preview w/PRO PICKS!
UFC 94 ‘GSP vs. PENN II’ Preview and LIVE Coverage! w/PRO Fighter Picks!
Hermes Franca – “Both guys are A+ level fighters and it is really hard to pick a winner for this fight. In my opinion the fans are going to be the biggest winners when this fight is over. In their first fight two years ago BJ came into the fight very strong and was able to push him around at the beginning but Georges St. Pierre won the second round and the third round was very close which lead to the split decision. I am going to stick with my pick that the fans are going to be the biggest winners.”
Rob Kaman –“This is a very tough fight to call. I think that BJ is the more animalistic fighter and that Georges St. Pierre is the more athletic fighter. Georges is always ready to go the distance and BJ’s conditioning has come into question throughout his career. This fight could end up being a fast win for BJ or decision win for GSP. They are both great fighters and like I said earlier, BJ is more animalistic in the sense that he enjoys punishing his opponents. Where as Georges St. Pierre is the more technical fighter, a pure athlete with the ability to knock out his opponents. I also think that GSP is going to have an advantage with his reach and it will be interesting to see how BJ counters that. If the fight ends in the first 3 rounds then I think it will be BJ. If the fight makes it into the championship rounds then I would have to take Georges St. Pierre.”
Karo May Be Out Of The Fight This Saturday
MMAmania.com has learned that there are concerns that Karo Parisyan will pull out of his upcoming bout against Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 94. Accordingly, the promotion has opted to line up a Plan B just in case The Heat needs to get out of the kitchen less than 48 hours before fight night. Newcomer is waiting in the wings, cutting weight and getting ready to make his Octagon debut against Kim if called upon.
Parisyan most recently recovered from an injury that forced him to withdraw from a fight against Yoshiyuki Yoshida at UFC 88 literally hours before showtime. It was an unfortunate situation that was made more curious with his admission the he has been dealing with panic attacks. Numerous fans claimed The Heat merely freaked out and used the injury as an excuse to bail from the bout. And if for some reason he is replaced by Story on such short notice this time around, it will likely stroke those flames even higher.
We should get more information on this developing situation as the weigh-in event and fight night draw closer. As of right now, Parisyan is still booked to fight the Stun Gun.
GSP: ''Permanent Move To 185 Won't Happen''
The idea of a "super fight" has been conceptualized for years, and mixed martial arts is an industry ripe for the addition of star vs. star, the best vs. the best, with jumping weight classes becoming more of an open option. One fight that has been talked about at great length is pitting top welterweight Georges St. Pierre against 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva.
According to a recent interview on MMAWeekly Radio, St. Pierre said he's honored to be mentioned in the same breath as Silva, but he's focused only on his upcoming fight against B.J. Penn.
Bad Situations: An MMAmania.com interview exclusive with Karo ‘The Heat’ Parisyan
We caught up with Parisyan to ask him about his upcoming fight, and boy did we get our money’s worth. He held nothing back when discussing everything from Mazzagatti’s stoppage of the Alves fight, his workout regimen, his new strength and conditioning coach and his ongoing battle with a panic disorder.
Then again, when you’re talking to “The Heat,” you can expect nothing less.
Varner Fears Career-Ending Injury
WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner’s split decision victory over Donald Cerrone at WEC 38 last Sunday in San Diego, Calif., could become a costly title defense.
“I broke my right index metacarpal, completely fractured,” Varner said on Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Wednesday. “So I have to get pins put in it [Thursday]. Then I go next week to see my eye doctor to make sure my retina isn’t detached. And if it’s detached it could be a career-ending injury.”
Varner, who said he is still having trouble with his peripheral vision four days following the injury, has been indefinitely suspended until he can provide medical documentation that says the eye has recovered.
But it was the fight’s stoppage and the reaction it got that might have affected Varner the most.
“What hurt me the most was the crowd. They had no idea about the pain or suffering I was going through,” said Varner. “They had no idea I broke my hand in the first or second round. I don’t know exactly where. I remember one time in the fourth round that I just couldn’t hit him with it. I told my corner that I couldn’t use it anymore.
For Varner, the injuries kept on coming.
“He checked one of my kicks early in the fight and that’s where I fractured my foot,” said the Arizona Combat Sports fighter. “Then I kicked him in the head with it in the fourth and that was it. My foot was completely done. So I walked out for the fifth round with one hand and some takedowns. I had to grind out a decision… I knew the fifth round was going to be boring. I couldn’t offer anything really damaging.”
Varner (16-2) couldn’t see anything out of his right eye immediately following the illegal knee from Cerrone (9-1) that came in the final round and led the referee Josh Rosenthal to halt the bout. When a fighter can’t continue from an unintentional illegal blow, the bout goes to the scorecards. Varner was awarded the split decision...
Rumor: Affliction is DONE...
Affliction MMA is Done.
Tom Atencio will be making an announcement soon.
A third show will probably happen to fulfill Affliction Entertainments larger contract obligations unless a deal with Zuffa can be arranged to offset some of the costs while Affliction pays off their contract obligations via "sponsorships"...
Arlovski and where he goes next
Arlovski held a video chat tonight for his fans. Some interesting stuff. Check it out. Talked about his fight with Fedor, his next fight, his boxing career, his "glass jaw", a possible return to the UFC, among other things.
Encouraging News For UFC Fighters on UFC Gyms
The AP reports that BJ Penn and Georges St Pierre will be signing with UFC Gyms. The UFC will create signature gyms branded with the fighters names that would offer the fighters royalties on the usage of their names in conjunction with the gym. The UFC are at times heavy handed in their business dealings with their fighters, but the type of structure mentioned is encouraging and looks to be expanding the revenue pie in a way that benefits both the company and the fighters. Kudos to the UFC for this:
LAS VEGAS—The Ultimate Fighting Championship has signed deals with two of its top fighters to give them signature gyms in a chain of fitness clubs planned by the mixed martial arts league.
UFC President Dana White said Thursday that the gyms will be named for B.J. Penn and Georges St-Pierre, scheduled to fight Saturday in Las Vegas for the UFC welterweight title.
White says the fighters will be paid royalties from the gyms whether they are fighting or not.
Mark Mastrov, a former 24 Hour Fitness CEO working to open the new clubs, says the fighters’ gyms will be open by the end of the year in Penn’s native Hawaii and St-Pierre’s hometown of Montreal.