UFC 150's Tavares looking for win over Hallman, bout with Diaz or Maynard
Twelve fights into his UFC career, Brazilian lightweight Thiago Tavares is tired of flying under the radar.
He's lost just once since 2009, and three of his four career octagon defeats came along with a "Fight of the Night" bonus.
As he prepares to face longtime veteran Dennis Hallman at August's UFC 150 event, Tavares is ready to make a little noise. Once he puts "Superman" away, Tavares is calling out Nate Diaz and Gray Maynard.
"I will beat Dennis Hallman," Tavares told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "After that, I want Nate Diaz or Gray Maynard. I really want to prove myself.
"I think Nate Diaz and I would be a crazy, exciting fight. I always try to submit people, and he likes to knock everybody out. Gray Maynard just beat Clay Guida, but I would give him a real fight. I just want to fight against the best names and move up in the division."
Rejuvenated UFC vet Joe Stevenson has 'good feeling' before return from layoff
If you had assumed Joe Stevenson had been retired the last year or so, you could probably be forgiven.
After all, the former UFC title challenger and "TUF" winner had been next to nowhere to be found.
If Joe "Daddy" went anywhere, he said, it was to get a new mental focus. And now, with that in hand – or in head – he's finally rejuvenated for his Saturday return to the cage against Dakota Cochrane at Resurrection Fighting Alliance 3.
Tatsuya Kawajiri Close To Agreement With ONE FC
If the stars align like we think they will, Tatsuya Kawajiri will soon be a fighter on the OneFC roster based on information obtained by MMA-JAPAN.
In what was OneFC's biggest week in the free agent market, it appears they are about to add long time Japanese superstar Tatsuya Kawajiri to what is beginning to be a very deep roster. Sources with knowledge of the negotiations informed us this week that Kawajiri is very close to signing an agreement with OneFC and a deal will likely be reached "very soon". Both sides are said to be in "very deep negotiations". Adding Kawajiri to the roster would further bolster the promotions status as one of the top promotions in the world.
Kawajiri has been a staple in Japanese MMA for quite some time. As part of many fights that were worthy fight of the year candidates, Kawajiri has never backed down from a good fight. Fights with Takanori Gomi and Eddie Alvarez are just a couple of The Crusher's wars that excited fans around the world.
Ovince St. Preux and T.J. Cook will collide at “Rousey vs. Kaufman.”
Strikeforce's Aug. 18 fight bill continues to develop, as promotion officials announced Friday that light heavyweights Ovince St. Preux and T.J. Cook will collide at “Rousey vs. Kaufman.”
Headlined by a women's bantamweight title tilt pitting reigning champion Ronda Rousey against former belt holder Sarah Kaufman, the event takes place at the Valley View Casino Center in San Diego. The main draw airs on premium cable network Showtime, immediately preceded by the preliminary card broadcast on sister network Showtime Extreme.
A former linebacker at the University of Tennessee, St. Preux recently saw an eight-fight winning streak snapped by Gegard Mousasi on Dec. 17. Prior to his decision loss to the Dream light heavyweight champion, “OSP” notched four wins in the Strikeforce cage, outpointing Antwain Britt, Benji Radach and Ron Humphrey before finishing Joe Cason at Challengers 17 last summer.
Forrest Griffin hints retirement is near
Former light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin is set to meet Tito Ortiz for a third time in the co-main event of UFC 148 on July 7. It’s expected to be the final fight of Ortiz’s career.
In a candid interview with ESPN.com, Griffin, who enjoyed the birth of his first child last year, spoke on how much time he has left in the sport, whether or not this recent string of losses for Ortiz has tarnished his career, and how comfortable he would be accepting a fight against a dangerous up-and-comer in the division.
ESPN.com: What was the experience of your last fight like, going to Brazil and trying to concentrate on Mauricio Rua while your wife was in labor back in Las Vegas?
Griffin: It really wasn’t that distracting. Maybe some time when I was down there and she was real good about censoring what she told me. The problem with that fight wasn’t anything other than Shogun hitting me in the head. That was more the problem with that fight than my wife being pregnant. It’s funny, I really didn’t think (about the loss). It was a s----- flight, I flew back with Dana (White). That’s a tough flight. You don’t want to sit next to your boss after you don’t do such a great job at work. After that, it was like, “we’re in the hospital.” So, I really didn’t think about it other than the flight home.
ESPN.com: Did you talk to Dana at all on the flight?
Griffin: I watched "Band of Brothers" with headphones on.
Urijah Faber Says MMA Needs Chael Sonnen
One thing most people can agree on about Chael Sonnen is that he is one of the most polarizing figures in mixed martial arts. But that’s about it.
Not many people have the insight into Sonnen’s background to see how he became the brazen character that finally got under the skin of current UFC champion Anderson Silva, pushing and prodding him until he cracked and unleashed the brutal tirade we heard on the recent UFC 148 media conference call promoting their July 7 rematch.
Many will debate whether or not Sonnen even has a place in MMA, a sport that has roots in the more disciplined approach of traditional martial arts. Former WEC champion and current UFC interim title contender Urijah Faber isn’t among them.
“I think this sport needs guys like Chael Sonnen,” said Faber at a recent question and answer session.
Shogun and Lombard Open as Sizeable Favorites In Upcoming Bouts
Injuries have derailed some of the summer’s biggest fights, but there are still plenty of match-ups to talk about including the debut of a former Bellator champion and the return of a former UFC title holder.
Former Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard will make his long awaited Octagon debut at UFC 149 where he faces former light heavyweight Tim Boetsch in a 185lb showdown.
According to Nick Kalikas from BetOnFighting.com, Lombard’s reputation as a knockout artist will follow him to the UFC where he has opened as a sizeable favorite over UFC veteran Boetsch.
Lombard comes in as a whopping -310 favorite with the comeback on Boetsch at +240
Rua opens as an expected favorite in the fight with -290 odds in his favor while Vera comes back at the underdog with +220 odds on his side.
Criticism aside, Strikeforce's Tyron Woodley focused: 'It's my time to be champion'
Tyron Woodley has taken some criticism from fans in his MMA career, but he's really in no mood to apologize for his game plans.
Woodley (10-0 MMA, 8-0 SF), who meets Nate Marquardt (31-10-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) next month for the vacant welterweight title in the co-main event of "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy," said sometimes, fights are just going to end in decisions.
"It’s not like you don't try to finish. It's not like you make a decision, 'OK, I'm going to let this fight go to the three rounds,'" Woodley told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) earlier this week. "Some guys just don't want to be put away. I don't want to be put away. You have to find a way to go for the victory shot and get dominant positions, try to do damage."
Woodley's career started with five submission finishes, including three in Strikeforce. But four of his last five wins have come by decision, including two splits. And it seems many times, with MMA fans, it's what have you done for me lately.
Against Marquardt, a former UFC middleweight title challenger who will be making his Strikeforce debut, Woodley takes on an opponent who has been finished just three times in 43 fights.
Sarah Kaufman on Strikeforce champ Rousey: 'I definitely want to test her chin, for sure'
Sarah Kaufman said not to expect the kind of catty, trash-talking buildup to her fight with Ronda Rousey as seen in Rousey's title-winning fight with Miesha Tate.
Instead, expect to see Kaufman speak with her fists.
"It's no surprise that Ronda doesn't like being hit," she today told MMAjunkie.com Radio. "She said that, and I guess you can't really blame her for not wanting to get hit. It's not a shocker there for the average person to not want to get hit."
Joe Rogan comment leads to Sam Stout game plan change at UFC on FX 4
Sam Stout remembers very clearly what Joe Rogan said during a recent fight.
The longtime UFC commentator said Stout was an easy fighter to train for because he fought the same way every time. Basically, opponents knew he liked to strike, and knew he was more vulnerable on the mat.
So when Stout (19-7-1 MMA, 7-6 UFC) bucked that trend in a rubber match with Spencer Fisher (25-9 MMA, 9-8 UFC) at this past Friday's UFC on FX 4, he had Rogan's statement in mind – and also, Fisher's more accurate punches.
"I decided to go out there and do something about that in this fight," Stout told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "My wrestling game is something that I've been working on for a long time, and my jiu-jitsu game. I've been saying that for a long time, but I've never really shown it."
Stout certainly put his grappling chops on display when he earned a unanimous decision over Fisher in the co-main draw of the event, which took place at Revel Atlantic City in New Jersey. The bout aired on FX.
HDNet relaunches Monday as AXS TV, promises continued MMA programming
HDNet's near-11-year run comes to a close on Monday, July 2, but the all-high-definition cable channel's replacement promises to have a familiar feel for MMA fans.
In January, HDNet announced a joint venture with AEG, Ryan Seacrest Media and Creative Artists Agency that sees HDNet rebranded as AXS TV (pronounced "access").
On Monday, that relaunch goes live, but AXS TV officials promise MMA-related programming such as "Inside MMA" and "HDNet Fights" will continue to feature prominently on the rebranded outlet.
Korean Zombie calls out Jose Aldo
The Korean Zombie tweets:
"I want Jose Aldo. I will end his reign as a Champion."
Aldo vs. Jung has a chance to be the biggest featherweight bout in the sport's history and KZ isn't going to be quiet while he waits for Aldo to heal up and deal with Erik Koch.
Patrick Cote says "Silva crushes Sonnen this time around"
Patrick Cote talks to sportsnet.ca:
"Once you've shared an Octagon with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, very little else scares you. On July 7 at UFC 148 I meet Cung Le, another fighter who, like Silva, is very unorthodox with his striking, but, having fought the best in the world, I hold no fear whatsoever.
It will be interesting to see how Sonnen approaches his rematch with Silva on July 7. Personally, I think Silva crushes Sonnen this time around. Unlike last time, he won't be surprised about the pace or strength of Sonnen, and we could be in for a classic Anderson Silva performance. I think he wins before the end of the third round, probably by knockout.
... Anderson is up for this fight and we know he's looking to make a statement. You don't want to annoy somebody like Anderson Silva and, unfortunately for Chael, I think that's exactly what he has done. This one could get ugly for Chael..."
Bellator signs Spanish-language broadcast deal with Telemundo's mun2
Bellator Fighting Championships, which has maintained a Spanish-language broadcast team since its 2009 debut, has returned to a familiar broadcast partner.
Bellator officials today announced that the promotion has signed a new deal with mun2, which now will serve as the exclusive Spanish-language broadcast partner of the organization in the U.S.
The cable network, which aired 22 live events during Bellator's second and third seasons, relaunches its Bellator programming on Friday with a taped airing of Bellator 60. The first live event of the new deal to air on the network will be Bellator 72, which takes place July 20 at USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.
"Both Bellator and mun2 have experienced tremendous growth since our earlier alliance, so when the possibility of re-aligning with mun2 for anything/everything Bellator Spanish-language in the U.S., the move was a natural fit," Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney stated. "Since our first event, Bellator has recognized and respected Hispanic consumers as some of the greatest MMA fans in the world, and this partnership ensures that audience will have a new spectacular home where it can watch Bellator live and 'best of' on a weekly basis."
There’s a Hurricane Brewing; Heather Clark Working to be Best Female Fighter
Following a disappointing loss in her last XFC outing in February, Heather “Hurricane” Clark was looking to make a statement at this past Friday’s event against Avery Vilche.
“I think I performed pretty well,” said Clark. “I think I could have done some a few things better, but all in all I listened to my corner and stuck with the game plan and it worked pretty effectively.
“She actually pulled me on top of her into half-guard and from there I kind of baited an arm bar to pass to side and from there I set up mount, and from mount I did a little ground and pound and made her turn her back and finished with the rear naked choke.”
The victory over Vilche gives Clark five wins in her last six fights, but it’s that loss in February to Marianna Kheyfets that still bothers her.
Roland Delorme vs. Francisco Rivera official for UFC 149
An exciting bantamweight bout now is official for UFC 149.
UFC officials on Wednesday announced that Roland Delorme (8-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Francisco Rivera (8-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) will meet at the event, which serves as the promotion's first trip to Canada this year. The Delorme-Rivera booking first was reported by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) earlier this month.
UFC 149 takes place July 21 at Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Main-card fights air on pay-per-view while preliminary-card fights air on FX and stream on Facebook.
Delorme, who briefly was linked to a fight with Bibiano Fernandes before the former DREAM champ quashed rumors of his UFC signing, comes into the matchup having finished his past two opponents via submission. Most recently, he dispatched fellow Canadian Nick Denis with a first-round rear-naked choke at UFC on FOX 3, which built on his third-round tapout of Josh Ferguson with the same hold at the Season 14 finale of "The Ultimate Fighter."
Delorme served on "TUF 14," where he was eliminated in the quarterfinals by eventual finalist T.J. Dillashaw.
Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado official for August's UFC on FOX 4 event
A light heavyweight matchup between top prospect Phil Davis and promotional newcomer Wagner Prado is now official for UFC on FOX 4.
Davis was originally expected to face Chad Griggs on the card, but "The Grave Digger" was forced to withdraw due to injury. MMAjunkie.com in May reported the switch, and UFC officials recently confirmed the new matchup.
Featuring a main event between Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Brandon Vera, UFC on FOX 4 takes place Aug. 4 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
UFC Fan Expo hosts Tito Ortiz HOF induction before UFC 148
The upcoming UFC Fan Expo is set to host the induction of Tito Ortiz, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy," into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Officials on Thursday announced the ceremony will take place at noon PT on July 7 at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center, which hosts the two-day Expo as part of UFC 148's fight festivities.
"It is a huge honor to be recognized as one of the greatest fighters of all time by the UFC," Ortiz stated. "To be inducted into the Hall of Fame is final proof that all the hard work and dedication, all the pain and sacrifices, were all worth it."
Oregon State Athletic Commission executive director on leave pending investigation
The Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Justice are investigating the longtime head of the Oregon State Athletic Commission.
The OSP issued a press release this past week that states Brad D'Arcy, who's served as the executive director of the OSAC since 2004, on June 6 was placed on paid leave as the enforcement agencies look into "conduct associated with the director's duties."
Oversight for combat sports events in the state, including next month's "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy" event, now is handled by the OSP, which supersedes the OSAC. The commission's five-member volunteer board remains in place.
"Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Kennedy" takes place July 14 at Rose Garden in Portland, and airs live on Showtime and Showtime Extreme. The main event features a middleweight title fight between current champ Luke Rockhold and challenger Tim Kennedy.
Nearly all established North American athletic commissions require drug testing for title fights. Speaking today to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), John Yost of the OSP referred questions about event administration and testing to Gaming Enforcement Division Lt. Craig Heuberger, who now is in charge of the OSAC's business-related matters. Yost declined to answer questions about the investigation. Heuberger was unavailable for comment.