UFC Heading to Japan
The Japanese press is reporting that the UFC is looking to put on a mega-event in Japan as early as next spring. Dave Meltzer reported on this a while back.
Word is they're calling out the top Japanese stars and hoping to set up a battle of the Zuffa champs vs the Japanese stars. Dana is apparently hoping to land Kazushi Sakuraba, Kid Yamamoto, Hidehiko Yoshida and Takanori Gomi to face Zuffa's top stars. Presumably they want Urijah Faber vs Yamamoto and B.J. Penn to rematch Takanori Gomi. Not sure who which wolf they want to throw Sakuraba to. And Brock Lesnar vs Hidehiko Yoshida is just too dreadful to contemplate.
Clearly from a business angle they're after the right Japanese fighters, although you could make a case for Yoshihiro Akiyama instead of Sakuraba, both as a draw and as a top fighter. Regardless, it would require getting both DREAM and World Victory Road on board, as well as securing a Japanese TV deal.
Rich Franklin talks win and weight class
It wasn’t an easy job, but former UFC middleweight champ Rich Franklin got it done, stopping former training partner Matt Hamill with a liver kick in the final round of their UFC 88 fight in Atlanta. The onslaught of takedowns Franklin and many pundits expected never came, and as the fight wore on, his kicks made sure of that. His lone stay on the mat was short lived.
“I just put myself in the mindset that if I ended up on my back I was comfortable there anyway, it didn’t matter to me,” he said. “I assumed that he would probably have several shot attempts that I just wouldn’t be able to defend, because he’s such high caliber wrestler.
Rich franklin talks about mashida later on in the interview. Very good point he makes about having a history of bad luck vs "south paws from chute box"
he is a cool guy. i love that he can joke
oh my sorry i guess i got caught up in the moment
Anderson: “Paulo Filho is the best middleweight”
Pointed for many as the best pound for pound MMA fighters, Anderson Silva has no doubts on pointing his favorite athlete in his own division. “Paulão (Paulo Filho) is no comments, he’s complete. I think he’s absolute in this division, there’s nobody to beat him. In my opinion, he’s the best middleweight”, said Anderson, that doesn’t think about unifying the WEC and UFC belts in a fight against Filho.
“I would never fight with Paulão. We almost train together, we’re always helping each other and (Josuel) Distak is our coach. There’s no chance to happen. People can complain, scream, whatever, but it won’t happen”, said the UFC middleweight champion.
Next For Rashad: Title Shot
Rashad Evans' devastating KO of Chuck Liddell earned him far more than the $60,000 KO Of The Night bonus-it's also earned him a title shot. Dana White confirmed that Evans has earned a shot at the UFC Light Heavyweight Title, but didn't mention exactly when. Rumors are it could be at UFC 92 in December.
UFC 88 AWARDS: FIGHTER BONUSES NET $60,000
Rashad Evans took the heat in “Hot-lanta” to a whole new level on Saturday night as the Ultimate Fighting Championship descended on Atlanta. He spent the first round being stalked by former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, but didn’t wait long to score the “Knockout of the Night” in round two
Exclusive Interview: Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell isn’t the easiest man to get on the phone. But our buddy Ben Zeidler pinned him down yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion on his impending title shot, Dana White’s trustworthiness, money, and tonight’s UFC 88 fight against Rashad Evans. (Quick prediction: “I’m gonna knock him out.”) So without further ado…
CAGEPOTATO: What’s the plan for Rashad Evans?
CHUCK LIDDELL: I’m gonna punch him until he falls down and then I’m gonna punch him a few more times until they stop me. Can’t give you more of a gameplan than that. Simple.
Can you handle Rashad’s wrestling? You wrestled at San Luis Obispo, but Evans is one of the top wrestlers in the sport.
I mean, that’s definitely one of his strengths and you have to worry about it, but you know, I was a Division I wrestler myself so I can handle him.
What do you see happening if the fight goes to the ground? Will you stay there or try to stand back up?
I’ll try to stand back up. The plan is to get back to the feet and make him work to keep me down. No matter where the fight is, he’ll have to work.
What from your strategy will you bring in from the Wanderlei fight and what will you leave out?
I’ll probably use just about everything.
Werdum still wants the heavyweight belt
Randy Couture’s back to UFC may have pushed a Brazilian fighter back in the title line. Pointed as the next contender with a new victory at UFC 90, against Junior Cigano, Fabrício Werdum maybe was forgotten by the Dana White, Ultimate president, that put Randy Couture to face Brock Lesnar, who only has one fight in the octagon, and the winner will face the winner of Nogueira-Mir bout. “Ultimate thinks about business, and Lesnar is more famous in United States. I don’t know how they’ll do it, because my new contract guarantees a title shot with a victory against Cigano”, said Werdum to TATAME.com.
Brock Lesnar and the road to Randy Couture
Quite frankly, it had gotten to the point where it didn’t seem as if there was any chance Randy “The Natural” Couture would ever fight in the UFC again. After all, he wanted a match with Fedor Emelianenko— who currently fights for Affliction— and had said some rather unsettling things about the UFC upon initiating his recent hiatus from the fight game. But then came the announcement that we were all waiting for—Randy Couture would be fighting again.
But it wouldn’t be against the guy we all thought it would be against. Forget Fedor for now; apparently those recent rumblings were true. That’s right, we’re talking about Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture at UFC 91 on November 15th.
“We aired out a lot of our differences, resolved a lot of things,” said Randy Couture on ESPN’s SportsCenter regarding his problems with the UFC.
Rousimar Palhares: “Henderson can say whatever he wants; the fight will be decided in the Octagon”
While Rousimar Palhares has yet to gain much traction with casual UFC fans, his outstanding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu credentials have caught the eyes of many hardcore fans. When it comes to Palhares and his recent entry in the UFC, there is a certain buzz going around as it pertains to him.
Palhares made his UFC debut at UFC 84 this past May thanks in large part to his impressive 3-0 record while competing for Brazil’s Fury Fighting Championships. Facing veteran Ivan Salaverry in his Octagon debut, Palhares did not disappoint after he notched a first round armbar submission.
While the fight with Salaverry was not featured during the live portion of the PPV broadcast, the performance was still strong enough to spark some fans to suggest that Palhares could be an eventual challenger for current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Based on the UFC’s decision to match Palhares against former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson in just his second UFC match during tonight’s UFC 88 event, it’s safe to say that the promotion things highly of him as well.
Few pegged Rashad Evans’ main-event status
ATLANTA – On Rich Franklin's first day as a coach on Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter," he looked at Rashad Evans and immediately had a candidate to name the weakest link.
But a couple of days later, Franklin saw something during a workout from the one-time Michigan State University wrestler that convinced him that Evans was better than his first impression.
And so, when the former UFC middleweight champion and fellow coach Matt Hughes were divvying up the teams, Franklin tabbed Evans, causing Hughes to shoot him a sideways glance in surprise, for Hughes had also viewed Evans skeptically.
Three years later, Evans (11-0-1) has made Franklin look good as a talent evaluator. He's one of the few main-event fighters on the UFC roster with no losses and will meet Chuck Liddell (21-5) on Saturday at Philips Arena in a key light heavyweight bout at UFC 88.
Finkelstein: Dana White Wants To Destroy Couture
M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelstein released the following statement regarding Randy Couture's recent signing with the UFC:
I believe Randy knows what he’s doing. He’s an awesome athlete, one of the world’s best. I know he got tired of these endless litigations and uncertainty that arose after his resignation. UFC had Randy in the contractual trap so he had to choose an easier solution to the problem.
As for his potential bout with Fedor – all the MMA fans are eager to see this happen. The statements mister White still makes about Fedor alert me. It looks as if White is reluctant to let the best fighter in the world fight the UFC symbol. I’m afraid we’ll stumble upon the bricks of the UFC monopoly and the negotiations will lead nowhere. This fight the fans await might never materialize.
Randy has proved long time ago to be America’s number 1, he’s got nothing more to prove but this contract brings him back to the position where he has again to fight younger athetes in order to earn the right he’s already earned to face the best. Randy is a mature fighter and putting him to the test now and again seems not quite reasonable to me. Everyone wants to see Fedor vs. Randy. Apparently Dana plans to destroy Randy by signing him to three bouts. White believes that Couture won’t pass through the hard trial without loss so that eventually the champion will stay with the UFC. Randy is 45 and he defeated a lot of great adversaries but now he is set to face some upstart athlete who Dana intends to turn into the national star if he pulls the victory against the long-time hero. Fight is fight and anything can happen. All this reminds me of the PRIDE situation when the organization was bought out with the sole goal of completely destroying it.
That’s why it looks like there will be no Randy-Fedor fight ever although we are eager to make it happen, both fighters are eager to get it on.
Fedor is the number one fighter in the world and we always try to give him the bouts against the best opponents while all the statements of White doubting Fedor’s status are caused by the awareness of the fact that the power of the UFC in the world of MMA is not overwhelming. They can’t own every fighter they covet. UFC is very well-known and possesses lion’s share in MMA industry because of its history and popularity accumulated during the years that the organization exists.
In our turn we negotiate a longterm collaboration with Affliction. We build a global project helping fighters from all over the world gain fame. That’s why we launched international M-1 Challenge. We want to organize huge events in order to promote MMA and make it popular in the whole world and not in the context of one particular country. We work hard on achieving the goals we set and time will tell whose path was right.
Lyoto Machida's camp prepared to defer UFC title opportunity
With Friday's unfortunate revelation that UFC light-heavyweight Thiago Silva (13-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would be forced to withdraw from a UFC 89 clash with fellow-undefeated-contender Lyoto Machida (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC), Machida's camp has been forced to re-evaluate its current position in the UFC's light-heavyweight division.
Machida'a manager Ed Soares recently spoke with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the camp's immediate reaction to the news.
"I guess [Silva] hurt his back pretty bad a few weeks ago, and he's been trying to work through it," Soares explained. "And then [Thursday], something during practice -- supposedly today he's not even able to walk. It's horrible. We were really looking forward to that fight. But hopefully he's able to heal up and be OK soon."
Soares said Machida was disappointed to lose the opportunity to face Silva.
UFC Quick Quote: Rousimar Palhares over Dan Henderson via heel hook
“I’m not as Las Vegas, but I put some money on him, there are people there to bet for me. MMA is an unpredictable sport, but I can say that Palhares’ game is perfect to fight Dan Henderson, and I believe Henderson’s only chance is to find a punch in the beginning. I truly believe this fight will be over with a heel hook first round submission.”
– Mario Sperry — the man responsible for bringing Rousimar Palhares into the Brazilian Top Team fold — tells Tatame.com that his fighter will win tonight over Dan Henderson at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” via heel hook. Henderson has seven career losses, three of which are by way of submission.
Strikeforce adds three fights to ‘Payback’ card
Three matches have recently been added to the Strikeforce: “Payback” event, which takes place at the Broomfield Events Center in Denver, Colo., on October 3.
In a welterweight tilt, UFC veteran and “The Ultimate Fighter 4? alum Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt (18-14) will face off against former IFL competitor Donnie Liles (11-5).
Spratt is (1-2) in 2008, losing to John Alessio and Ryan Ford, while scoring an impressive knockout victory over Jason Von Flue in April. Liles on the other hand has won both of his fights this year, beating Cruz Chacon and Seth Baczynski with third and first round submissions respectively.
Also signed for “Payback” is a middleweight bout featuring the undefeated Billy Evangelista (7-0) taking on two-fight UFC veteran Luke “Lil Hulk” Caudillo (14-11).
Caudillo lost both of his fights in the UFC to Nate Mohr by unanimous decision and Marcus Aurelio by first round technical knockout. In his first fight after leaving the top organization he lost a disappointing fight at a Ring of Fire event, submitting to Torrance Taylor in the third round. The loss brought his losing streak to three.
Evangelista impressed a lot of folks in a split decision victory over Nam Phan in June even though he gassed out towards the end of the fight. This will be his fifth fight under the Strikeforce banner. He also holds a knockout victory over “TUF 5? alum Marlon Sims, who claims to be “Mr. Indestructible.”
The third fight announced is a female match pitting Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Watterson (3-2) - one of the stars of the television program “Fighter Girls” - against Fatal Femmes Fighting veteran Brandy Nerny (1-1).
Forrest Griffin pulling for Chuck Liddell at UFC 88
ATLANTA - With a potential title shot on the line in tonight's UFC 88 main-event fight with Rashad Evans, Chuck Liddell could be just one win away from a shot at Forrest Griffin's light-heavyweight title.
UFC President Dana White recently mentioned the possibility of that scenario, and on Friday, the former champion got some additional support.
As mentioned in today's edition of the Dayton Daily News, it came from the current title-holder.
During a Q&A segment with the UFC's fan club (and hosted by UFC broadcast Mike Golberg), Griffin was at first hesitant to predict a winner in tonight's Liddell-Evans main event, which takes place at Atlanta's Philips Arena. But, after a little prodding and some critical thinking, Griffin picked a winner.
However, he was admittedly self-serving with his prediction.
UFC 88 Projected Big Pay-Per-View Numbers
MMA Payout is projecting big numbers for UFC 88 -- 590,000 ppv orders -- based on the number of viewers for the UFC Countdown program earlier this week -- 701,000.
That is the second highest rated Countdown special of the year, trailing only Countdown to UFC 83, which drew 782,000 viewers. This was only the second countdown special all year to break the 700,000 level and suggests a strong PPV performance for this card.
Zach Arnold comments:
590,000 PPV buys for this weekend’s show? If that is the case for a show that has received little or no media coverage, then UFC is truly unstoppable and everyone else in the business should get out now and cut their losses.
MMA Payout's Robert Joyner hedges his bets a bit at Fight Opinion:
The predictor thing is a work in progress to be sure, Zach. We went back and did the data for the past year and a half and it gave us between 8 and 10% margin of error. Not the best but it was scarily accurate at times. My gut tells me it will be closer to the 475k (500 maybe) figure mentioned in my UFC 88 preview. tbh, I was surprised at the strong number the Countdown show did.
I've commented previously on the lack of buzz for this show so it will be a very good sign indeed for UFC's upcoming big money run of events starting with UFC 91.
Our own Mike Rome comments:
The online hype is all Randy Couture, but Chuck Liddell is still a huge mainstream draw, as evidenced by the countdown rating. Rashad has also surprised headlining before.
Chuck was on sportscenter today too, I think this one will do 500-550, which is still a great number. 590 seems very high.
Strongman Mike Miller Enters the Cage
Following in the footsteps of his WWE counterpart Brock Lesnar, former pro wrestler and one of the world’s stongest men Mike Miller has decided to test his chops in the mixed martial arts cage.
Miller, who at the pinnacle of his powerlifting career weighed in excess of 400 pounds, made the announcement during a recent episode of the “Super Human Radio” show.
And while Miller has never professionally competed in MMA, he is no stranger to mixed martial arts.
“I’ve been training in martial arts for over ten years” Miller told the host Carl Lanore during the interview.