UFC Quick Quote: Ryan Thomas answers the call to fight Ben Saunders
“I had told my manager I wanted the summer off because I had fought 14 times in the last 20 months and the average fighter only competes 3 or 4 times a year. He then called on Sunday the 27th and asked if I would be interested in fighting in the UFC and I could not believe my dream had come true. It still feels like a dream that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. I don’t think I will be able to until I get in the octagon and get tagged a few times…. [Ben] is good at striking and ju-jitsu and my ju-jitsu and Muay Thai are good but wrestling is my strongest skill and I feel his weakest. Saunders I think is a good match up for me. He has the height advantage and has had months to prepare to my 12 days, but I’m stronger and my wrestling gives me a strategic advantage.
UFC 87 Preview: Jon Jones
At 21, Jon Jones has won an Iowa state high school wrestling championship, a National Junior College championship, holds a 5-0 MMA record and as far as I know is still the reigning Battle Cage Xtreme / USKBA 205lb. champion. He's been fighting professionally since April. Of this year.
He just signed a four-fight deal with the UFC, making him the youngest fighter under contract in the organization. And he's facing the also-undefeated Renzo Gracie-trained IFL product Andre Gusmao - on about a week's notice, replacing Tomasz Drwal - this Saturday in Minnesota. Check it:
Hermes Franca vs Gleison Tibau UFC 90 fight set
Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylists Hermes Franca (18-7) and Gleison Tibau (15-6) will likely tangle at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill., on October 25, according to Sherdog.com.
It’s a 155-pound clash that pits two fighters on back-to-back losing skids against one another.
Franca dropped a unanimous decision to Frank Edgar at UFC Fight Night 14: “Silva vs. Irvin” back in July. It was his first fight back after serving a 12-month suspension for steroid use. He is a former number one title contender who reeled of eight straight wins before losing to then UFC Lightweight Champion, Sean Sherk, at UFC 73: “Stacked” in July 2007.
Tibau has a losing record inside the Octagon (2-3), but those three defeats have come against the likes of top fighters such as Nick Diaz, Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson. He most recently succumbed to a crushing “Daddy” guillotine choke at UFC 86: “Jackson vs. Griffin” last month.
UFC 90 features several solid match ups, including the 185-pound tilt between UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Patrick Cote, as well as the huge welterweight showdown between Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez.
Lesnar faces must-win against Herring
On Saturday night, Brock Lesnar goes into the cage with Heath Herring to answer a question: Is previous fame heading into a mixed martial arts career a blessing or a curse?
Lesnar, a former NCAA wrestling champion and World Wrestling Entertainment star, is one of the greatest athletic prospects to ever come into the sport. He has size, strength and, most of all, incredible quickness and reflexes for a man who had to cut weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit.
But as he heads into Saturday’s UFC 87 showdown against rugged veteran Heath Herring, he runs the risk that his headlining fame will be over just as quickly as it started.
Bas Rutten On The Demise Of The IFL
In just a few short years the International Fight League went from ambitious concept to reality to demise.
At its best, the promotion helped reintroduce a group of veteran mixed martial arts pioneers to the new era of MMA fans, as well helped jumpstart the career of what would become some of the sport’s best young fighters.
One of the promotion’s first and most prominent figures was former King of Pancrase and Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Bas “El Guapo” Rutten.
Starring initially as the head coach of the Los Angeles Anacondas, Rutten then transitioned to a commentator role and ultimately ended up as Vice President of Fighter Operations, and shined with the usual El Guapo flair in each position.
Still, all things come to an end. As such, Rutten has been released from his contract with the company, and now he looks to transition to other things.
Speaking from his adoptive hometown of Los Angeles, Rutten spoke to MMAWeekly about his time in the IFL, his roles in the promotion, and what’s coming down the pipeline for one of MMA’s premier personalities.
MMAWeekly: First off Bas, tell us about your recent release from the IFL.
Bas Rutten: Well, from what I understand, there is no more IFL, right? We’ve been sold, but there’s still some working going on. Exactly what, I have no clue, but the paychecks have stopped coming in. For me it’s stopped and for all the people I knew in the IFL it’s stopped.
I knew the company was struggling. I had gotten emails from people there that had been let go. “Thanks for the great time working together,” and stuff like that. There was a hardcore group left, and once they started getting rid of those people, I knew the end was near. I was aware it was going to happen.
WEC-UFC Talent Merger in the Works?
Talk of a potential migration of the WEC’s 205- and 185-pound divisions to the UFC could be more than just rumors, and the answer might play out in the coming months.
For months, rumors have been circulating -– and, occasionally reported in MMA media outlets -– that the WEC may disband those two divisions and send some of the top fighters competing there to the UFC.
Reed Harris, WEC president, declined to confirm or deny the status of a potential reshuffling of the rosters when contacted Monday by Sherdog.com. Harris did confirm that the concept has been acknowledged as a possibility by UFC president Dana White, and matchmakers Joe Silva and Scott Adams of the UFC and WEC, respectively.
“We have had some discussions about our weight divisions, but nothing has been set or finalized,” Harris said. “We’ve heard the same rumors. We’ve had those discussions since day one. About what weight classes (might be involved), I really have no official statement. I know people are talking about it. I’ve had reporters call me and ask the same questions for eight months about it.”
New Athletic Commission Chairwoman Could Be Key to MMA in NY
After the UFC’s lobbying efforts failed to get MMA legalized in New York, Zuffa’s Marc Ratner vowed not to give up so easily. Not long afterwards, Melvina Lathan was named as the new chairwoman for the New York State Athletic Commission, and guess what? She seems friendly to the UFC’s cause, despite being a “boxing purist” according to a recent Newsday article:
WEC Bonuses Handed Out; 2 Fights of the Night
Following another action-packed show by World Extreme Cagefighting in Las Vegas, capped off by welterweight champion Carlos Condit pulling through his toughest fight to date against Hiromitsu Miura, the promotion handed down bonuses as confirmed to MMAWeekly.com
Each fighter earning a bonus received $7,500 in addition to the fight purse in the individual bout agreements.
For the first time, the WEC also handed out two “Fight of the Night” bonuses.
Carlos Condit and Hiromitsu Miura earned a no-brainer for Fight of the Night after their almost four-round war that saw the incumbent champion pushed further in the fight than any previous match-up during his title reign. Both Condit and Miura earned the respect of all the fans watching the match-up and now a bonus check on top.
WEC lightweight champion Jamie Varner and Marcus Hicks also earned a Fight of the Night bonus for their respective performances in an amazing fight between the two 155-pound stars.
Knockout of the Night went to Minnesota Martial Arts Academy member Brock Larson, who dispatched of Carlo Prater in just 37 seconds in their welterweight showdown.
Brian Bowles, who moved his professional record to 6-0, earned a Submission of the Night for his guillotine choke victory over Damacio Page.
WEC 35 Fights of the Night:
Carlos Condit vs. Hiromitsu Miura
Jamie Varner vs. Marcus Hicks
WEC 35 Knockout of the Night:
WEC 35 Submission of the Night:
White vs. Nelson, Nogueira vs. Matyushenko expected at Affliction II
Noted Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and Xtreme Couture trainer Jay White (2-5) and reigning IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson (12-3) will likely meet at "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" in October.
Additionally, "Affliction: Banned" winner Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (14-3) and reigning IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (21-3) are expected to rematch at the upcoming show.
NSAC issues few medical suspensions to WEC 35 fighters
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has issued only a handful of submissions stemming from Sunday's WEC 35 event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
The NSAC today sent the list of suspensions to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) via email.
Aside from main-eventwinner Carlos Condit and his opponent, Hiromitsu Miura, all the suspensions were for precautionary reasons stemming from knockout losses.
Mike Pyle likely to return at Oct. 11 Affliction event
Xtreme Couture fighter and veteran welterweight Mike Pyle (17-5-1) will likely return to action at Affliction's second show, which takes place Oct. 11 at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
A source close to the event tells MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Pyle could soon be announced for the card.
No opponent was revealed, but given Affliction's lack of depth in the division, an outside signing in almost mandatory.
Sean Sherk Vs. Tyson Griffin Could Happen In The Fall
Michael Moody was on location this weekend for MMANews.com at the International Mixed Martial Arts Expo that took could place in Long Beach, CA.
Rumors were circulating around the Expo that a possible lightweight matchup between Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk(32-3-1) and Tyson Griffin (12-1) could happen later this year. Multiple sources stated that the fight will take place in the fall, most likely either UFC 90 which takes place in October or UFC 91 which will be in November.
Sherk is coming off the loss to UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn at UFC 84 in May, his first back since being stripped of the belt for a positive steroid test, while Griffin is on a four fight win streak, beating Marcus Aurelio most recently at UFC 86 in July.
Gilbert Yvel Signs with DREAM
Dutch MMA media is reporting that PRIDE veteran Gilbert “The Hurricane” Yvel (33-12-1) has signed with DREAM. The Amsterdam native has supposedly agreed to a three fight contract, which will most likely see him take on former Golden Glory team-mate Alistair Overeem (28-11-0) in the near future.
In Japan, the Dutch bad boy is regarded as an instant ratings booster, for both his explosive style, and bad behaviour within the ring. Yvel has been disqualified three times in the past, the first instant being due to a bite, the second an eye gouge, and the third to attacking and knocking out a referee.
Regardless, the heavyweight holds an 88% KO/TKO ratio and is regarded as one of the top strikers in MMA. Among strikers he has defeated are Cheick Kongo (11-4-1) and current K-1 world champion Semmy Schilt (25-14-1).
Yvel’s last outing was earlier this year, where he defeated Michael Kita (3-1-0) under the Dutch GFN banner.
Fitch Drawing On Hidden Knowledge
Jon Fitch says having a teammate who has fought Georges St. Pierre has proved valuable to his preparations for Saturday’s title fight.
Josh Koscheck, who trains with Fitch at the American Kickboxing Academy, lost to St. Pierre on points at UFC 74.
Despite losing, he learned a lot about St. Pierre from that fight and has been passing his knowledge on, Fitch told UFC.com.
“He can explain the elements that are intangible, the things that you can’t see on tape,” says Fitch. “That makes him a little more real to me.”
He says that Koscheck had the wrong gameplan going into the fight “because he thought there was no way anybody was gonna take him down and he didn’t train any wrestling”.
Coleman Responds To Shogun Allegations
Mark Coleman has responded to ‘Shogun’ Rua’s allegations that he is ducking a rematch with him.
Last month, Shogun told Brazil’s Tatame magazine that the UFC was looking at putting them together in November.
"I hope this time he doesn't run from me. He said no to me a couple of times, but I believe now it will happen," Rua added.
Coleman disputes this.
“As far as him indicating the fact that I've ducked him, that's wishful thinking on his part," he told MMA Junkie.
He explained that as he has already beaten Rua once, he isn’t particularly interested in pushing for a rematch, but would take it if the UFC arranged it.
Murilo Bustamante bets on Palhares
Leader of Brazilian Top Team, Murilo Bustamante commented to TATAME about Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares’ preparation for the biggest challenge of his career at UFC 88 against the former Pride champion, Dan Henderson. “He’s ready, man, we bet on his. We know Henderson is a top athlete and that it’ll be a tough fight, bus we believe in Toquinho”, said Bustamante, that told us that Palhares isn’t felling any pressure about this fight. “He’s loving it, impossible to be more motivated. He knows he’ll have a great chance to grown in the division and, if he wins, he’ll make a huge advance close to his dream: a title shot. We want that”, revealed Bustamante.
Hioki battles Nakamura to a draw in Nagoya
Top ranked featherweight Hatsu Hioki failed to put away Hiroshi Nakamura at Shooto Gig Central Volume 15 Sunday at the Zepp Nagoya in Japan.
They fought to a majority draw. The judges scored it 29-29, 29-29 and 28-29.
Nakamura entered the main event bout with a 5-3-3 record. He did however upset Tenkei Fujiyama in a majority decision win at Shooto "Back To Our Roots 8" in March.
Next up for Hioki is a TKO featherweight title defense in Montreal on Oct. 3.
Royce Gracie On Fighting Ken Shamrock Again
Our friends over at DreamFighters.com were recently granted a quick interview with MMA Legend Royce Gracie. It would appear that Gracie still has it out for Ken Shamrock. Some things never change.
Gracie On The Possibility Of Fighting Ken Shamrock A Third Time:
"I have no interest in fighting him. I have nothing to settle with him. I beat him in less then a minute the first time and the second time he held me down for 30 minutes and still I was the one attempting submissions. And then he landed one punch, which did not KO me, and he held again for 5 minutes. Then declared himself a winner because he did not lose. To me when a guy is 50 lbs. heavier then me and he holds me down, that is not a winner. So I have nothing to prove by fighting him again. And I don't need the money that bad. Maybe he does."