Frustration Turns to Joy for Aoki
In a match that appeared to be cursed by fate since its announcement late last year, the Dream lightweight semifinal bout between Japanese grappling wizard Shinya Aoki (Pictures) and two-time Hero's lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancante (Pictures) came to a definitive close Tuesday.
Dean Lister’s Next Challenge
The UFC recently announced that Lister will get a chance to avenge one of his early losses when he takes on Jeremy Horn at The Ultimate Fighter Finale show in June. The two first faced off in 2003, when Horn took Lister’s King of the Cage middleweight championship belt from him with a split decision victory.
“We’re both different now,” says Lister. “I’m about three times as experienced as I was back then. I only had like five fights back then, now I have fifteen. Then again, he’s probably fought way more than fifteen times since then, the way he goes.
“One thing Jeremy is known for is he’s not afraid to fight on the ground or on the feet. He’s very well-rounded. I just think that no matter what happens, it’s going to be an exciting fight. It doesn’t matter if it’s on the feet or on the ground – of course everyone knows that I have a preference.”
The bout with Horn may carry even more significance than a normal rematch, considering the UFC’s recent roster cuts. Lister has accomplished almost everything he can in the field of submission grappling and jiu-jitsu, and says his focus now is on becoming a great mixed martial artist – not just Tito Ortiz’s jiu-jitsu coach.
“Before I got into the UFC, even before I got into Pride, my grand goal was to become Abu Dhabi world champion. I’ve done that. Now that I’ve had that moment, I’ve changed my focus to the UFC. I was satisfied, but I’m not satisfied anymore. I think if you stop trying to grow, that’s it. You have to keep taking chances and putting yourself out there. That’s how you grow as a man, as well as a fighter.”
Lister’s recent growth has included a return from a very serious tendon injury that caused his biceps muscle to “roll up like a window shade.” The recovery was as tough mentally as it was physically, he says.
“It was a nightmare situation. Physically, it was a big problem. But psychologically it was an even bigger problem. I just had no confidence in my takedowns, no confidence in the strength in my arms, so it’s been tough getting over that, but I’ve been feeling better recently.”
Elite XC DVDs on sale soon
ProElite — the parent company of the Elite XC mixed martial arts promotion and several others — has signed a multi year production and distribution deal with Image Entertainment to release DVDs to the public, according to VideoBusiness.com.
The deal will include four annual Elite XC DVDs, as well as eight annual installments within the ShoXC brand.
Here’s a snip from Steven DeMille, Image senior vice president of marketing:
“There is a growing market for high-quality arena-based mixed martial arts content, and ProElite is the premiere source for this type of sports entertainment. We are pleased to add ProElite to our roster of content suppliers as we continue to grow both our distribution channels and scope of programming.”
The first two DVDs entitled “Destiny” and “Renegade” will feature fights that include Frank Shamrock, Renzo Gracie and Kimbo Slice. These are scheduled to hit the shelves as soon as May 13.
Report: Reis vs. Robbins booked for May 31 EliteXC-CBS
EliteXC's debut "Saturday Night Fights" event on CBS has a new preliminary fight as Wilson Reis (3-0) and Justin Robbins (8-3-1) will meet in a 140-pound bout.
EliteXC has not officially announced the bout, but fiveouncesofpain.com confirmed the fight with sources close to the fighters.
The May 31 event takes place at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and the main card airs live on CBS from 9-11 p.m. ET. The preliminary card, which includes the Reis-Robbins bout, will be streamed online at ProElite.com.
Sean Sherk: BJ Penn ‘needs to talk to a psychiatrist’
“I think he needs to talk to a psychiatrist. That sounds pretty sick to me, but good luck. I’m sure there will be blood, both mine and his, so we’ll see what happens. I don’t know, that’s kind of a weird thing to say and I did hear that he said that. I was like, ‘What the hell is he talking about?’ What can you say. He’s got some issues, but I’m not going to let anything he says bother me.”
Former lightweight champion Sean Sherk responds to comments reigning 155-pound kingpin, BJ Penn, made about licking the blood off his gloves when he’s done pounding “The Muscle Shark’s” face in during their championship bout at UFC 84: “Ill Will” on May 24.
Jake Shields has a fight plan for Georges St. Pierre
“St. Pierre looks awesome. He’s one of the fights that I’d really love to have right now. I need to make sure I look really good against my opponents; I want go out and dominate people so I can build some momentum for that fight…. He doesn’t have a lot of weaknesses. He’s going to be a tough guy to beat, because it’s not like you can pick out one thing. To beat a guy like St. Pierre you have to be in phenomenal shape and keep the pressure on him. You’ve got to stay in his face, and if he takes you down, you better be ready to get back up and not just stay in guard and get manhandled like he’s doing to people.”
– Jake Shields — Elite XC welterweight and among the top 170-pound fighters in the world — tells MMAWeekly.com about how he would approach a fight with UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Shields is set to battle Drew Fickett for the vacant Elite XC welterweight strap some time soon. In fact, the bout was scratched last month when Shields sustained a back injury during training, rescheduled for June 14 and now pushed back again, it appears, to July 26 — the second show for the promotion on CBS “Saturday Night Fights.”
Georges St-Pierre – A Champion in and out of the Octagon
It was the biggest night of Georges St-Pierre’s life, and probably the most stressful. About to fight in front of over 21,000 countrymen at Montreal’s Bell Centre, the 26-year old was facing not only the man who beat him a year earlier, Matt Serra, but the high expectations of thousands of fans, as well as those of his family, friends, and himself.
Beebe Added To WEC 34
WEC announced Chase Beebe vs. Will Ribeiro on Monday for WEC 34 on June 1. This will be Beebe's first fight since losing his WEC Bantamweight Championship to current Champion Miguel Torres.
The 10 most embarrassing MMA performances
Immortality was granted to Kalib Starnes at UFC 83, but for all the wrong reasons.
In front of a career-record audience of more than 20,000, Starnes looked more cyclist than fighter, backpedaling against Nate Quarry and doing the equivalent of a day's roadwork on the canvas. The apathy to engage was so severe that the normally stoic Quarry began mocking him in the closing moments, faux-sprinting around the ring and shrugging his shoulders to an inflamed crowd.
(You thought the $44.95 was a sting for that fight? Try a couple of grand for a 10th-row seat.)
In a sport in which self-preservation is understood to mean tapping or ducking, Starnes' performance is likely to earn him the title of MMA's Roberto Duran, a fighter forever reviled for what is perceived to be a gutless display of inaction. Like Duran, it's unlikely he knew how much he was soiling his reputation until it was too late.
The same goes for these other athletes, who for whatever reason -- injury, illness or just plain cage fright -- saw their stock plummet after hollow displays of valor.
In ascending order of audience ipecac:
Mayhem at Dream 3
MMANews.com spoke with Jason "MayheM" Miller (20-5) earlier today and he let us know that he will be returning to action on May 11th at DREAM.3 in Japan.
His opponent will be Katsuyori Shibata (3-5), who "MayheM" referred to as "the guy who fought Sakuraba and tripped coming to the ring" when asked who his opponent would be.
Rich Clementi ‘No Love’ climbs UFC lightweight ladder
Rich “No Love” Clementi played spoiler for many Canadian fans at UFC 83: “St. Pierre vs. Serra 2” with his tough split decision victory over Sam “Hands of Stone” Stout. The shower of boos from some 21 000 fans didn’t phase Clementi, in fact it did the opposite.
Here’s a snip:
“Being booed pumped me up a little bit … whether it’s cheers or boos it’s the energy that matters, I used that a little to my favor.”
The Canadian fans lived up to their stereotype of being overtly polite, however, only after the fight was over:
“The crowd in Montreal and the fans are just awesome … even afterwards I had fans come up to me and say ‘I felt bad booing you’ and they apologized and asked for my autograph.”
Here’s a final snip:
“Do I think I’m ready for that, a title shot or whatever? – No. Do I feel like I’m slowly climbing that ladder and kicking people off it as I’m trying to come up? – Damn right I am.”
- HUERTA TO FIGHT FLORIAN AT UFC 87
Sources from both fighters’ camps have confirmed that Kenny Florian will face Roger Huerta at UFC 87 on Aug. 9 in Minneapolis, Minn. Both fighters have received and are expected to sign their bout agreements.
Epic Fail: Hong Man Choi
A couple of weeks ago, we lamented the fact that Hong Man Choi’s mandatory army service would take him out of the fight game for three years. The good news is, he failed a physical and will be sent back home. According to the report (which is translated here):
Choi submitted medical records indicating that his pituitary adenoma may compress his optic nerve and cause visual problems. His condition was deemed problematic for basic training and was discharged. It is likely that he was determined to be unfit for the next three months.
Choi will likely get a re-examination in which case he will “re-start” his duties, get an exemption, or be sent home for yet another physical at a later date, depending on the results…
As of now, it is quite likely that Choi may get an exemption since he has a clear reason and has all the necessary documents. Also, it has been reported that his vision has been deteriorating since last year. In an interview with My Daily, Choi was quoted as saying “I couldn’t see the right hook when I fought Mighty Mo.”
Choi’s pituitary adenoma was revealed to the media in June of last year through the California State Athletic Commission (CSAC) right before Dynamite! USA. The CSAC deemed Choi unfit to compete and refused to issue him a fighter’s license.
Anthony Ruiz inks six-fight contract with Strikeforce
After 30 professional fights and more than five years of competition, veteran fighter Anthony Ruiz (20-10) has gotten the "big" contract every seasoned veteran hopes to land.
The 30-year-old Ruiz and the California-based Strikeforce organization recently inked a six-fight deal that could be worth up to nearly $150,000. It also promises Ruiz an immediate title shot and the possibility of fighting in a $100,000 four-man light-heavyweight tournament later this year.
Jason Day: UFC 83 post-fight interview with ‘Dooms’
Jason “Dooms” Day came through with a big win in his UFC debut at UFC 83: “St. Pierre vs. Serra 2,” dominating Alan “The Talent” Belcher to score a standing technical knockout victory in the first round back on April 19.
He landed his four-fight contract with the UFC after his controversial split decision win over UFC veteran David “The Crow” Loiseau at a Hardcore Championship Fighting card back in February. Many felt that Loiseau won the fight and subsequently he (Loiseau) should have had the fight with Belcher instead of Jason. Day said he scored two victories that night.
Here’s a snip:
“One of the sweetest victories I’ve had was letting everyone know that I do belong there … a lot of people said I didn’t belong and that David won that fight … but coming out and dominating Alan Belcher in every aspect, I don’t think anybody has any questions, it wasn’t left to the judges…it was like getting two victories in one.”