Quinton Jackson’s ascent a matter of divine intervention
LAS VEGAS – There are, as they say, two sides to every story.
In this case, there's Juanito Ibarra's story of how he connected with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and became the UFC light heavyweight champion's trainer.
Ibarra said the men had known each other for years from connections in the fight game and that they had gotten together after Ibarra telephoned Jackson and the two talked, mostly about their religious faith, for two-and-a-half hours.
"It was a very powerful, memorable conversation," said Ibarra, who is convinced Jackson will be at his career peak on Saturday when he defends his title at UFC 86 at Mandalay Bay against Forrest Griffin. "I get (goose) bumps thinking about it."
Koscheck wouldn’t mind fighting Penn
LAS VEGAS – UFC president Dana White is almost resigned to the fact that his lightweight champion, B.J. Penn, is going to leave the division to chase the welterweight belt.
White has long urged Penn to resist the tendency to jump from the division and concentrate on cleaning out the 155-pound division. After Penn’s recent one-sided victories over Joe “Daddy” Stevenson and Sean Sherk, though, White doesn’t have a challenger on the horizon who can keep Penn from abandoning the division.
WAMMA Heavyweight Belt Completed, To Be Awarded At Affliction
Designers have completed the heavyweight championship belt commissioned by the World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts for its first-ever title fight. The belt-which features cooper, gold, diamonds, leather and fur-will be wrapped around the waist of either Fedor Emelianenko or Tim Sylvia. The heavyweights meet at July 19's "Affliction: Banned" event in a five-round WAMMA title fight.
Total production time: 150 hours.
Justin McCully "close to 100 percent" for Gonzaga clash
Eleven-year veteran and one-time Team Punishment fighter Justin McCully (8-3-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will enter his second heavyweight bout in the UFC much as he did the first -- a decided underdog. But McCully is relaxed and ready on the eve of his UFC 86 undercard bout with Gabriel Gonzaga.
McCully discussed the challenges he faced in the 15 months since his latest UFC appearance while a guest on a today's edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 86 PREVIEW: JACKSON VS GRIFFIN FIGHT-BY-FIGHT
UFC Light Heavyweight Championship Bout:
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Forrest Griffin
UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson makes his second title defense, this time against Forrest Griffin, the original winner of The Ultimate Fighter.
Neither fighter has seen action since September of last year with Jackson winning a decision over Dan Henderson at UFC 75 and Griffin submitting Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 76.
Fans have gotten to know both fighters over the past several months because of their stints as coaches on the latest season of The Ultimate Fighter. Although through most of the season they were amiable to each other, there were moments where both fighters were eager to fight one another.
Jackson is known for his strong boxing and solid wrestling abilities, while Griffin is known for his scrappiness and his ability to adapt to any situation in a fight. They have had several months to prepare for each other and should know their opponent’s weaknesses like the backs of their hands.
Jackson will want to keep the fight on the feet and use his boxing to tag Griffin with a power shot that will put him on his back. If the fight isn’t going the way that Jackson wants it, don’t be surprised to see him take it to the ground and pound on Griffin.
Griffin will need to keep the distance with kicks and not get into Jackson’s range for an exchange because Jackson has a technique and power advantage over Griffin on the feet. On the ground, he needs to keep position and not take too many risks with submission attempts because Jackson has excellent submission defense.
It’s hard to think that the fight will go to the distance, as both fighters will be looking for the finish. For Jackson, he will want to finish it on the feet with a punching combination. For Griffin, he’ll need to catch Jackson off guard and capitalize on a mistake made by the champion.
However the fight ends up, it’s been months in the making and after Saturday night we’ll have a conclusion.
Arlovski to make pro boxing debut Sep.13 on PPV
MMA star Andrei Arlovski, the former UFC heavyweight champion from Belarus, has been training for a boxing career under the tutelage of trainer Freddie Roach. Arlovski, who has an MMA bout July 19, likely will make his professional boxing debut Sept. 13 (HBO PPV) in the opening fight on the Casamayor-Marquez card in Las Vegas, according to Golden Boy.
White Says UFC 86 Paves The Way For 205 Future
“The (light heavyweight division) is so stacked right now. What's going to happen in the light heavyweight division is going to depend on what happens Saturday night,” stated Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White on Thursday. “Obviously if Forrest Griffin wins the title, there's a ton of different things that could happen. If Rampage Jackson wins it, there's a ton of different things that could happen.
Ryo Chonan To Face Roan Carneiro At UFC 88
Ryo Chonan is set to face Brazilian Roan "Jucao" Carneiro at UFC 88. The news comes directly from Jucao's manager Alex Davis courtesy of our good friends over at Tatame.com:
"This is an important fight for the Jucão," said Davis. "It is a fight he wanted for a long time and it didn’t happen at UFC 85 because Chonan got injured. He is now training hard and will be very well prepared for this fight."
Pre-UFC 86 Interview With Cole Miller
On Saturday, July 5th, at UFC 86 in Las Vegas The Ultimate Fighter 5 cast member Cole Miller will face The Ultimate Fighter 2’s Jorge Gurgel in an undercard lightweight bout. Cole recently took some time out of his busy schedule for an exclusive interview with MMAFrenzy.com to discuss the upcoming fight.
MMAFrenzy.com: Cole thanks again as always for the interview. How are things going for you?
Cole Miller: Things are going good, I feel better than ever before for this particular fight.
Wilson Reis to fight Brian Caraway at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business”
A featherweight (140 lbs.) bout between Wilson Reis and Brian Caraway is the latest fight to be added to EliteXC’s upcoming “Unfinished Business” card on July 26 in Stockton, Calif.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com learned of the news after contacting EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw.
According to Shaw, the Reis vs. Caraway matchup will be the opener of SHOWTIME’s telecast at 8 p.m. ET, which will feature two fights and lead into CBS’ second-ever telecast of “Saturday Night Fights” at 9 p.m. ET.
Next ShoXC event scheduled for Aug. 15; will feature Hamman vs. Suganuma II
EliteXC’s next ShoXC event has been scheduled for August 15 at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, Calif., located just outside of Fresno.
The news was confirmed to FiveOuncesOfPain.com earlier this afternoon by EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw.
According to Shaw, already scheduled for the card is a rematch between light heavyweight fighters Poai Suganuma and Jared Hamman. The two fought previously at the Table Mountain Casino on April 5. Hamman suffered his first loss as a pro after being rocked by a flying knee delivered by Suganuma. The fight was stopped amidst a chorus of boos, with many Hamman supporters feeling that the fight was halted early.
In addition to Suganuma vs. Hamman II, Shaw indicated that striking specialist Cyrille Diabate will make his EliteXC debut in a light heavyweight encounter against ShoXC veteran Jaime Fletcher.
Carlos Condit prepares for Hiromitsu Miura
It’s the beginning of the second week since I returned from Afghanistan.
Training is going well — no injuries to report other than some minor stuff, but that’s normal. Even though this training camp has not been ideal because of so much traveling, I’m in great shape and feeling pretty sharp.
I’ve been waking up earlier than usual. I’m a bit of a night owl and tend to sleep fairly late in the day, but I guess I’m still on Afghan time. It’s actually been really good for training, giving me time to run in the mountains before it gets too hot.
Yesterday I went way up there! Farther than I’ve ever gone. I thoroughly enjoy running in the New Mexico foothills. Well, maybe not thoroughly … the air is very thin and the terrain is crazy steep and rocky. Actually, running up there is a bitch!
ABC Passes Revised Unified Rules
MONTREAL -- A revised edition of the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts was passed Thursday by the Association of Boxing Commissions via a majority vote at the ABC's annual conference.
Exclusive Interview: Josh Koscheck
CagePotato.com: Not to take anything away from Chris Lytle, but he has a losing record in the UFC. Do you feel like you should be fighting a higher-ranked welterweight at this point?
Josh Koscheck: No. After my loss to Georges St. Pierre I have to work my way back up through the ranks. In order to be the #1 contender you have to beat whoever they put in front of you, and that’s my plan.
What part of Lytle’s game are you most concerned about?
I don’t really know too much about him, I just know he’s pretty good on his feet and he’s got pretty good jiu-jitsu. My concerns are myself — coming in prepared, which I definitely am, and taking the opportunity to get the job done.
This is the first fight on your new UFC contract extension. Would you say you’re getting paid what you deserve now?
I don’t know that answer; that’s up to my managers. My job is to train and fight. My managers got me the contract so I guess that’s what I deserve right now. Obviously, it’s human nature to want more money. You probably want more money to interview me today. But it’s just a matter of time. Yeah, UFC fighters deserve a lot more money, and it’s coming. The sport’s growing, and as the UFC brand grows, the fighters will make more money.
Do you have any interest in fighting Diego Sanchez again? Your last fight with him was called into question because he was supposedly suffering from a staph infection at the time. Do you feel the need to prove it was a legitimate win?
I’ve fought with staph infections before too. I beat up Jonathan Goulet while I had a huge staph infection in my leg — I never told anybody because that’s a ******* excuse. [Sanchez] should stop making excuses, and a win is a win. If his staph infection was so bad, he shouldn’t have stepped into the Octagon. People fight with injuries all the time; the bottom line is, don’t make excuses for losing. I’m just focused on winning this fight against Lytle. I don’t care too much about Diego Sanchez or anyone else in the weight class right now.
Does Mike Whitehead deserve your respect?
At first glance, he appeared to be out of place.
In Affliction's first media conference call for its July 19 "Banned" event, the participants were Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio, former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett, middleweight/light heavyweight/heavyweight/politician Matt Lindland and -- oh yeah -- Mike Whitehead.
Scheduled to fight Renato "Babalu" Sobral on the evening's first pay-per-view bout, "The Ultimate Fighter 2" cast member certainly commanded the least attention from the participating media. The 27-year-old didn't even receive the courtesy of having his correct name used at all times, as he was addressed as "Mark" by at least one reporter.
So what was Whitehead doing on the call?
Well for starters, the Xtreme Couture-trained fighter hasn't lost in more than two years, and he will take a 12-fight win streak into his bout with "Babalu." But how did a guy whose last fight was a main-event gig against a 2-2 fighter at the world famous "4 Bears Casino & Lodge" in New Town, N.D., end up on arguably the most-talent-laden card in MMA history?
"Just working hard and keeping my [head] down and keeping my nose to the grinding stone," Whitehead said.