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.
Diego Sanchez not Dropping to Lightweight Division
“The Ultimate Fighter 1” winner Diego Sanchez (17-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), who’s lost back-to-back fights after winning his first 17 professional bouts, will not be moving down to the lightweight division after all.
Sanchez, who publicly flirted with the idea after a split-decision loss to Jon Fitch at UFC 76 in September, will continue to compete in the welterweight division — one of the deepest in the UFC.
Sanchez recently issued a MySpace bulletin with the news. Additionally, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) was able to confirm the decision with Sanchez’s new management team at Powermoves Entertainment
UFC Fight Night 13 Targeted for April 2 in Colorado
The UFC and Spike TV are finalizing details of a UFC Fight Night event that will precede the debut episode of “The Ultimate Fighter 7,” which will take place April 2.
Multiple sources closes to the event recently confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) a variety of details.
Update on Kongo-Herring Bout, now scheduled for UFC 82
Update: This fight is scheduled to happen at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” and not UFC 81: “Breaking Point.” Apologies for any confusion.
Cheick Kongo (11-3-1) and Heath Herring (27-13) with meet in a heavyweight clash at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion” on March 1 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio
The Tuesday Takedown 01.08.08
In this week's edition of The Tuesday Takedown we'll take a look at the confirmation of Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra, Lyoto Machida's offered fight against a former 205 lb. contender, a couple of names dropped from UFC's roster, Gina Carano's debut on American Gladiators and more!
Rob Emerson vs. Keita Nakamura Set for UFC 81
The UFC recently announced a slew of official UFC 81 fights, and one that is a welterweight bout between “The Ultimate Fighter 5” cast member Rob Emerson (6-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Keita Nakamura (14-2-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC).
Emerson will take on Nakamura, a veteran of the Japanese fight scene. Nakamura headed to the U.S. for his octagon debut in December 2006, but the trip thus far hasn’t been a success; he’s suffered unanimous-decision losses to both Brock Larson (UFC Fight Night 7) and Drew Fickett (UFC Fight Night 9) — the first losses of his four-year career. Back in November, he returned to Japan and posted a first-round knockout victory over Takefumi Hanai (2-3-2) in a smaller fight promotion.
The Emerson-Nakamura fight will appear on the night’s un-televised preliminary card.
Nsac Revises Attendence & Revenues For UFC 79
The Nevada State Athletic Commission on Monday updated the attendance figures and revenues for UFC 79, which took place Dec. 29 at Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas. The Ultimate Fighting Championship event featured the interim welterweight title bout between Georges St-Pierre and Matt Hughes and the highly anticipated fight between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
The total live gate was updated from $4,934,500 to $4,994,500 and the attendance from 10,968 to 11,075.
The UFC also held a closed circuit viewing of the event at Mandalay Bay. The original numbers for the closed circuit viewing were an attendance of 541 for a gate of $27,050. Those figures have also been revised to 1,311 tickets sold for a gate of $65,550.
The business of MMA in 2008
In 2007, the sport of mixed martial arts garnered unprecedented mainstream sports acceptance, gracing the covers of ESPN The Magazine and Sports Illustrated . Media outlets that one year ago wouldn't have touched MMA were suddenly proclaiming it as the fastest growing sport in the country, and even the replacement for traditional boxing.
But the reality is a little different. As this past year showed, the respective ups and downs of the UFC and pro boxing aren't related. Boxing had its biggest year ever on pay-per-view television, and while UFC didn't have the two incredible draws which turned 2006 into its biggest year – Tito Ortiz's matches with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell – business solidified. Of the 15 biggest PPV events of 2007 in North America, UFC had eight, to four for boxing and three for World Wrestling Entertainment (numbers are not yet available for UFC 78 and November and UFC 79 in December, both of which are expected to crack the Top 15). In 2006, those numbers were six each for boxing and UFC and three for WWE. Boxing's record year really consisted of two gigantic fights: Oscar De La Hoya-Floyd Mayweather and Mayweather-Ricky Hatton. UFC did the most consistent business, and WWE, with the exception of a stellar Wrestlemania and strong SummerSlam, has faded in comparison.
Palaszewski training with Matyushenko, Arlovski, Curran for rematch with Taurosevicius
By Chris Yucus
International Fight League lightweight slugger Bart Palaszewski is leaving Pat Miletich’s tutelage for the Chicago-based IFL team.
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2) and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3).
[...]Palaszewski (28-10) expects a title shot if he can get past his next fight, which he said will be on Friday, April 4. It will be a rematch of his controversial submission loss to Deividas Taurosevicius (9-2) at the 2007 IFL World Championship last September in Hollywood, Fla.
Arlovski fights again!!!!!
I don't know if its been posted already (sorry if it has) but Arlovski fighting again is big news!
The man looks hungry and a "healthy relationship" with the UFC can only be a good thing right?!
Hector Lombard and UFC Vet Jordan Radev Booked for “CFC #3?
Would-be UFC fighter Hector Lombard (14-2-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and former UFC middleweight Jordan Radev (11-3 MMA, 0-2 UFC) have been booked for the Feb. 15 Cage Fighting Championship’s “CFC #3” event in Sydney, Australia.
As agent Ken Pavia reported in today’s column for MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), Radev was recently dropped from the UFC. He confirmed the bout with Lombard this afternoon.
The Evolution of The Ultimate Fighter
With former winner of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) reality show Joe “Daddy” Stevenson set to face BJ Penn for the Interim UFC Lightweight Title at UFC 80, I started thinking about how important the show has been to the UFC.