Yoshiro Maeda vs. Rani Yahya WEC fight booked for Hard Rock
A solid bantamweight fight between Yoshiro Maeda (23-5-2) and Rani Yahya (12-4) was announced by the WEC today for its at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla., on September 10.
We all remember Maeda from his three round war against division kingpin Miguel Torres at WEC 34 in June. Unfortunately for the Japanese fighter, he wasn’t able to answer the bell for the fourth round because of a doctor’s stoppage.
But he was able to open a lot of eyes with the way he went toe-to-toe with the champ, who is widely considered to be a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter in the world. It’s a step up in competition for anyone when they face Torres, and Maeda was ready for the challenge.
However, he can’t expect a huge drop off in talent when he faces Rani Yahya. Obviously, the 23-year-old Brazilian has a long way to go in his development as a complete mixed martial artist, but the kid is a submission whiz, boasting 10 wins by way of tapout.
OZZY OSBOURNE GOES MMA
Las Vegas – Heavy metal legend Ozzy Osbourne will perform live at Affliction “Day of Reckoning” on Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center. Presented by Roy Englebrecht Events, Donald J. Trump, Affliction Entertainment in association with Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, the mixed martial arts event will be the first Affliction show in the Las Vegas area.
“To bring the ‘Godfather of Heavy Metal’ to our event is a dream come true,” said Tom Atencio, vice president of Affliction Entertainment. “An incredible fight card combined with Ozzy’s live performance, our fight in Las Vegas will be an unforgettable event.”
With a career spanning for more than 37 years, Ozzy has entertained in front of millions worldwide. The Grammy Award-winning rocker has released more than 20 solo albums including his first solo record, the multi-platinum Blizzard of Ozz to 2007’s success of Black Rain. Ozzy has continuously released chart-topping hits including “Dreamer,” “No More Tears” and “Mamma I’m Coming Home.” In 2002, Ozzy and his family gained national appeal with their record-breaking reality show “The Osbournes” on MTV. From singing sensation to reality star, Ozzy Osbourne epitomizes the free artistic expression that transcends true rock culture around the globe.
Tito Ortiz: The Barry Bonds of MMA?
Steve Cofield makes the argument:
Barry Bonds is desperate to get back on the baseball field. So much so that his $15-18 million asking price is now down to the major league minimum. His agent Jeff Borris told Ryen Russillo of ESPNRadio that Bonds would play this year for the minimum salary. Borris said, "What other option does he have?"
Is fighter Tito Ortiz going to face a similar fate in the MMA world? This is not to say Ortiz has been involved in a drug scandal like Bonds but the slugger is out of baseball as much for his attitude as the steroid mess. Ortiz may be developing the reputation that he's a guy who is impossible to work with.
Cofield also brings up recent remarks by Affliction COO Michael D. Cohen about Tito's asking price being "more than ANY league could afford."
Tito has clearly wildly over-estimated his current market value. I expect the UFC will re-sign a sadder but wiser Tito when it's all said and done.
Kenny Florian vs. Joe Stevenson? Florian Eyes Frankie Edgar Instead
ESPN's Franklin McNeil (grrooooaaannnn) has talked to both Florian and Edgar. Both, it seems, believe they need a fight with each other to earn a shot at BJ Penn's title. Notable quote:
"Like Kenny, I want to fight the best in my division and right now he might be the No. 1 contender. So, fighting him is kind of a no-brainer. I want to get one [fight] in before the year is out. I would prefer November, but I would wait around to fight Kenny in December."
As for having his name mentioned prominently by Florian? That's fine by Edgar.
"It kind of gives me some recognition," Edgar said. "For a guy like Kenny to consider me as a formidable opponent; he's fought for the title and he's on a lot of people's list for a possible future title shot. So, it's good for me.
"I don't think Kenny's really calling me out; he's just making a statement that he wants to fight tough opponents."
Florian and Edgar are friends. The dropping of Edgar's name was not a show of disrespect by Florian.
"As an athlete, I have a lot of respect for [Frankie Edgar] for what he's accomplished," Florian said. "I respect him as a fighter and a person.
"It was the same with Roger Huerta. I had nothing against Roger; I liked Roger. But he was the best opponent available at the time. … It's nothing personal.
"I want to fight Frankie because he's a great fighter. That's the most important thing. It's about respect, and beating someone like Frankie Edgar will get me more respect."
Kimbo Slice vs. Sean Gannon Rematch Likely on CBS
Josh Gross is reporting that Sean Gannon is leading the pack to face Kimbo Slice on the October 4th EliteXC card on CBS:
Three names keep popping up as the next opponent for Kimbo Slice on Oct. 4: Brett Rogers, Ken Shamrock and ... wait for it ... Sean Gannon.
And so, that leaves Gannon, a Boston police officer who defeated Slice in the most famous of the Miami street brawler's underground fight videos. If you'll recall, the UFC tried to capitalize on the YouTube-famed fight by signing Gannon in 2005, but Branden Lee Hinkle pounded him out in less than a round. Since then, Gannon has sat on the sidelines flirting with a big payday and a chance to rematch Slice on a larger stage.
CBS would be the largest.
At this point, unfortunately, signs are pointing to Gannon. The story works for CBS -- it's an easy sell and Kimbo shouldn't face much of a threat. It's perfect all around. That is, unless you think circus fights have no place in MMA, particularly in front of six million viewers.
EliteXC and Affliction Drug Test Failures Will be Announced Tomorrow
Dave Meltzer reports that the California State Athletic Comission has announced that there was one failure for drugs on each show, and the people who failed will be announced tomorrow. No word on why they're turning this into such a dramatic event:
Bill Douglas of the CSAC released that B samples have been returned positive for one fighter on both the July 19th Affliction show in Anaheim and the July 25 EliteXC CBS card in Stockton.
The names will be released tomorrow after notification of the promotions and fighters. Douglas also announced Fabio Negao and Matt Lindland on the Affliction show are clear, as are Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith on the EliteXC show.
I guess results are slowly coming in, and they're just going to announce them as they come. These could be the first failures of many, or the only ones.
Here is the list of fighters that have been cleared on each show so far. Just as a reminder, Justin Levens was suspended.
EliteXC's frustration mounts with lightweight champion KJ Noons
EliteXC has big plans for its Oct. 4 appearance on CBS. With top stars "Kimbo Slice" and Gina Carano already booked, the next piece of the puzzle should be a 160-pound title rematch between champion KJ Noons and Nick Diaz.
However, EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw today told MMAjunkie.com the organization has hit a roadblock in securing Noons' services for the evening.
"I'm sitting here and I'm drinking from a carton of milk right now," Shaw said. "And the EliteXC lightweight champion KJ Noons' face is on the back of this milk carton because he's missing in action."
Official "WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown" fight card revealed
World Extreme Cagefighting today revealed its entire Sept. 10 fight card, which features WEC featherweight champion Urijah Faber (21-1) vs. challenger Mike Brown (15-4) in the night's main event.
Also on tap for the event is a middleweight championship rematch bout between title-holder Paulo Filho (16-0) and Chael Sonnen (22-9-1), and an intriguing featherweight fight between Leonard Garcia (11-3) and former top contender Jens Pulver (22-9-1).
WEC 36, which airs live on Versus, takes place at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
The full WEC 36 card includes:
Champ Urijah Faber vs. Mike Brown (for featherweight title)
Champ Paulo Filho vs. Chael Sonnen (for middleweight title)
Leonard Garcia vs. Jens Pulver
Jake Rosholt vs. Danillo Villefort
Donald Cerrone vs. Rob McCullough
David Avellan vs. Tim McKenzie
Danny Castillo vs. Ed Ratcliff
Johny Hendricks vs. Alex Serdyukov
Yoshiro Maeda vs. Rani Yayha
Bud Light picks up UFC's Silva and Liddell
When Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White announced that the leading mixed martial arts promotion had struck a sponsorship deal with Anheuser-Busch, he was ecstatic about the partnership and optimistic about the possibilities.
“This is a historical moment for the company,” he said at a press conference in Columbus, Ohio on Feb. 28, announcing the deal. “I can’t express to you enough how excited I am.”
Anheuser-Busch is stepping up its involvement in MMA by making UFC middleweight champion Anderson "The Spider" Silva and former UFC light heavyweight titleholder Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell spokesmen for the Bud Light brand.
Silva's manager, Ed Soares, told MMAWeekly Radio, "We just finalized a deal with Anheuser-Busch. Him (Silva) and Chuck Liddell are going to be spokespeople for Bud Light and Anheuser-Busch here in the U.S."
When reached for comment, Liddell told MMAWeekly, "It's great. It's really nice that these companies are getting behind MMA. Bud Light's been around a long time. I think it's a great sponsor to have."
The campaign is set to hit 4,000 convenience stores throughout the country immediately as well as include billboards and television commercial appearances.
Jens Pulver vs Leonard Garcia WEC fight official for September 10
Former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver will return to 145-pound action against Leonard Garcia at WEC 36 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on September 10, according to an announcement today.
In fact, the showdown was among several bouts confirmed for the first-ever show for the promotion in the “Sunshine State.” To check them all out click here.
Pulver recently lost a five-round fight to current featherweight champion Urijah Faber. It was the first loss for him at his natural weight. “Lil Evil” won his WEC debut, submitting Cub Swanson with a nifty choke just seconds into round one.
He was rumored to face Alexandre Noguiera until he was suspended for a failed drug test.
With “Pequeno” out of the picture, insert Leonard Garcia who also has a lot to prove. Garcia debuted with WEC in Febuary with a first round technical knockout over Hiroyuki Takaya. The celebration was short lived, however, when Garcia was arrested for alleged participation in a drug-ring in Texas.
Since then, Garcia has been cleared of most if not all of the charges and has the green light to resume life as he knows it as a fighter.
WEC 36 is headlined with a championship doubleheader — Mike Brown will challenge featherweight king Urijah Faber and 185-pound champ Paulo Filho will rematch Chael Sonnen for the WEC middleweight title.
Jared Shaw: KJ Noons needs to ’step up’ and rematch Nick Diaz
“Nick Diaz is the No. 1 contender. K.J. Noons should step up and be the champion that we think he is and take this fight. Nick Diaz will take this fight any place, anywhere. (Noons’ management) won’t even return our calls. Hopefully K.J. wants the fight and hopefully he will instruct his management to take the fight. K.J. signed a contract. All we want is for him to honor that contract, fight on Oct. 4 on CBS, and prove that he’s the champion we think he is. Right now, he’s not representing us as the EliteXC champion.”
Elite XC Vice President Jared Shaw reveals he has been trying to put together a KJ Noons and Nick Diaz rematch for Noons’ lightweight title on the October 4 “Saturday Night Fights on CBS” event, but is having a hard time getting Noons’ camp to accept the fight. Could it be that Nick Diaz was right all along and the champ really is ducking a rematch? Of course, Noons did say in an interview right here on MMAmania.com that he didn’t really have a desire to fight on a CBS card, and he also said he planned on taking a couple boxing fights after his title defense against Yves Edwards. It’s possible that those things could be holding this fight up … we don’t know. What we do know is that Elite XC wants the fight to happen, and now it’s on Noons to step up.
Swick out of UFC 90, eyes December return
Despite hopes that he would be able to fight on the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s upcoming Chicago debut on Oct. 25, Mike Swick told MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday that he hasn’t recovered enough from recent surgery on his right elbow to be ready for UFC 90.
“I had a few bone fragments floating around in my elbow joint causing inflammation. There were also bone spurs that needed to be removed. It has been ongoing for a while… It reduced my flexibility in the right arm and if it was extended too much it would swell up and be useless for a few days until the inflammation went down,” said the American Kickboxing Academy fighter.
“So it was a priority to get it fixed as soon as this last fight was over, which is what we did. Dr. Sanders and Young operated on it in Las Vegas on July 10 and removed the bone fragments and bone spurs.”
He is already back training, but still not up to speed for an October return. With The Ultimate Fighter Season 8 Finale in early December and the UFC’s year-end event late in the month, his plans more likely are aimed at a December return.
UFC Quick Quote: Tyson Griffin is a better wrestler than Sean Sherk
“I think my wrestling ability will match up very well with his. I wrestle with Division I wrestlers all the time, like Gray Maynard and Johny Hendricks. I came a long way since I started training MMA. My wrestling may be even better than his. I don’t know for sure — we’ll find out. He’s got good hands, too. I think I have better standup, though. He (tends) to throw only arm punches where he doesn’t really commit. I’d like to stand out of his range and pick him apart like BJ [did].”
-UFC lightweight contender Tyson Griffin (12-1) compares himself with former lightweight champion and UFC 90 opponent Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk. While I’m all for self-confidence, Sherk is a very experienced 32-3-1 and probably one of the best wrestlers in the game today. Good luck Mr. Griffin.
Reality TV Can Bite, or Make You a Superstar
You probably remember Sam Hoger (Pictures).
He was the “thief” on the first season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” the Spike TV reality show that breathed new life into the Ultimate Fighting Championship and put it on track to windfall profits. In an episode toward the end of the season, Hoger played dumb when his training partners discovered their gear was missing. When it was later found in Hoger’s bags, he halfheartedly apologized with a wide grin, and just like that the show had a villain viewers couldn’t wait to see smashed in the cage.
If you remember Hoger, it’s likely because of that little piece of drama. He’ll take that.