MMA Talk-2008 Predictions
Happy New Year!!!
It may be a little late but this is the first MMA Talk of 2008. I ended last year with a Year in Review. I would like to start this year looking ahead. I expect it to be another great year for MMA with exciting fights and great fighters.
Report: Mauricio “Shogun” Rua Returns to UFC on April 19
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua (16-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a former PRIDE standout who underwent knee surgery after a submission loss to Forrest Griffin in September, will return to the UFC at an April 19 event in Montreal, Canada.
The news comes from GracieMag.com, which recently interviewed the fighter about the launch of his new fight team. Rua recently severed ties with Chute Boxe, his longtime home.
There’s no word on Rua’s opponent for the April 19 event, which is expected to take place at Montreal’s Bell Centre. The event — the first ever to take place in Canada — will likely feature a title-unification bout between UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra and interim champ (and French Canadian) Georges St. Pierre.
Kelly Ready for All-Brit Battle
After discovering MMA three years ago, Paul Kelly tore himself away from a life of crime and street fighting to pursue a career in the cage. By the sounds of it, the tough Merseyside scrapper abandoned his old ways in the nick of time.
"It's 2008," Kelly said. "No one fights anymore, so it's no good on the streets. Where I live, you get shot in the head."
Franklin's Father Dies Of Heart Attack
UFC fighter Rich Franklin's father died last night of a heart attack. No other information is available at this time but it could cause another delay to his scheduled fight against Travis Lutter, now scheduled for UFC 83 in April.
UFC 82: Jon Fitch vs. Akihiro Gono booked; Fitch inks contract extension (Exclusive)
Top welterweight contender Jon Fitch (15-2) has signed the bout agreement to fight Akihiro Gono (27-12-7) at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” on March 1 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, MMAmania.com (www.mmamania.com) just learned
In addition, the American Kickboxing Academy standout has re-signed with the organization for another three bouts. He is undefeated (7-0) in the Octagon since his debut in 2005. Fitch has also not lost a professional fight since 2002 — more than five years
Kendall Grove: "My first six fights, I fought high."
Grove seemed to be on the fast track to stardom in the UFC. After winning TUF 3, Grove managed to reel off two consecutive victories in convincing fashion before being stopped by Patrick Cote in the first round of their battle at UFC 74. Since that fight, Grove has rededicated himself to the sport and is looking forward to righting the ship against Jorge Rivera at UFC 80 on January 19. Grove sat down with our friends over at CagePotato.com to discus a variety of topics.
Couture Going All In Saturday Night
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will go All In at the poker tables Saturday as host of the Operation All In Charity Poker Tournament at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. Couture and several notable celebrities and poker pros as well as players making up a field of 150 will compete for a guaranteed $50,000, with additional proceeds benefitting the Xtreme Couture GI Foundation.
St. Pierre and Faber Join Sherdog P4P Rankings
The first Sherdog pound-for-pound rankings in 2008 deliver a significant shakeup outside the top three.
Jumping onto the list is Georges St. Pierre (Pictures), who goes from unranked into the top five. Also joining the list for the first time is featherweight Urijah Faber (Pictures), who defended his WEC belt in December against Jeff Curran (Pictures).
Lightweights Gilbert Melendez (Pictures), loser of a tight decision on New Year's Eve, and Sean Sherk (Pictures), inactive while fighting and serving a suspension for steroids, were dropped from the list.
Guillard taking temporary leave from UFC
UFC lightweight Melvin Guillard (20-7-2 MMA, 3-3 UFC), who was submitted by arch enemy Rich Clementi last month at a UFC 79 event in Las Vegas, will be leaving the UFC to gain some experience in smaller fighter promotions before returning to the octagon.
Guillard confirmed the plans — in his trademark way (with foul language, death threats, and a denial that he’s ever really been defeated) — during a recent interview with the baltimoresun.com.
Liddell wants Jardine
wants a rematch with Jardine.
The guy giving the interview is a major nuthugger though.
WEC Headed to Albuquerque for Feb. 13 Show
World Extreme Cagefighting, the Zuffa LLC-owned fight promotion that’s now the sister organization to the UFC, today announced that it’ll leave Las Vegas for the first time since its ownership change, and the Feb. 13 fight card will feature a total of three title fights.
IFL Opener Takes Shape with 3 Title Fights
Three title fights and two new teams will highlight the International Fight League's 2008 season opener Feb. 29 at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
IFL middleweight champion Matt Horwich (Pictures) (21-9-1) will defend his title against Tim Kennedy (Pictures) (9-2). Horwich knocked out Benji Radach (Pictures) to win the belt in December, and Kennedy finished all three of his IFL opponents in 2007.
Lightweight titleholder Ryan Schultz (Pictures) (18-9-1), who impressively stopped Chris Horodecki (Pictures) in the IFL Grand Prix, will defend against John Gunderson (Pictures) (15-5).
Fabiano Scherner (Pictures) (7-5) will challenge heavyweight titleholder Roy Nelson (Pictures) (11-2).
Spencer Fisher vs. Marcus Aurelio Targeted for UFC Fight Night 13
A UFC Fight Night 13 event planned for April 2 will include a lightweight bout between Spencer Fisher (20-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) and Marcus Aurelio (15-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC).
Sources closes to both fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the rumored bout has been accepted by both fighters. Fisher, specifically, told some of his fellow fighters about the bout earlier today.
No more Hero's. "Pride" and K-1 join forces.
Japanese sports newspaper Tokyo Sports reported that FEG might finish with the HERO'S series and start a new show in March. "From the March show on, I would like to see the entire Kakutougi world unite to do something very interesting." The report began with FEG head Sadaharu Tanikawa talking about a second "grand coalition" but since there is not going to be a second Yarennnoka! show, and FEG and ex-PRIDE people are going for a complete integration it’s basically about a new MMA show being started by FEG and that also means HERO'S could now be completely over
Rampage: Movie Star?
We had reported last month about the myriad of MMA stars who are appearing in television and film including Rich Franklin, Randy Couture, Frank Shamrock and Tito Ortiz. Now you can add UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson to that list.
Jackson will be starring in the film Midnight Meat Train. The film co-stars Bradley Cooper, Vinnie Jones and Brooke Shields. Based on Clive Barker's short story of the same title, Midnight Meat Train is slated to release in mid-May.
Meanwhile Jackson, who was named 2007 Sportsman of the Year by the Memphis Commercial Appeal (Jackson is from Memphis), will also has a reality show pilot titled Rampage. The show features him as a single dad who has his parents move in to help him raise his four kids.
Jackson also begins filming for the next season of The Ultimate Fighter at the end of this month with Forrest Griffin. The show will begin airing on Spike on April 2nd, which would put the Jackson - Griffin light heavyweight title fight in late June or early July. The next season of The Ultimate Fighter will be kicked off with a live special headlined by Kenny Florian (who was in season one of The Ultimate Fighter) taking on Joe Lauzon (who appeared in season five of the show).
The Hit List: Who Stays, Who Goes?
As the embryonic cells of the New Year move into their fetal stages, the landscape of mixed martial arts is littered with dozens of champions, both legitimate and imposturous. Though the number of organizations within the sport are quite numerous, only a select few can lay claim to sporting "true" titles -- the countless minor league titles are just plain meaningless.
Big boys like UFC, Shooto, K-1 HERO'S, WEC, Strikeforce and EliteXC are a handful of companies whose gold-plated plastic belts actually mean a hill of beans to the sport. A few fighters who have those titles find themselves in precarious situations, and it's a mystery whether they'll hold onto their prized straps throughout the 2008 campaign.
In the following paragraphs, you'll take a gander at a collection of fighters that have been gathered for this column. These men are all "world" champions of a major MMA organization, and this Hit List will determine who will remain a champion by the end of ‘08 and who will not.