Focus is on Brown, but UFC on Versus 4's Howard ready to settle score with Johnson
PITTSBURGH – John Howard (14-6 MMA, 4-2 UFC) hasn't lost focus on the task at hand.
When he meets fellow welterweight Matt Brown (11-10 MMA, 4-4 UFC) on the Versus-televised main card of Sunday's UFC on Versus 4 event at Pittsburgh's CONSOL Energy Center, both of the once-hot prospects are fighting for their job security.
But Howard knows that – one way or another – he and rival Anthony Johnson eventually are going to clash, whether it's in the UFC octagon or in the street.
Paul Daley vs. Tyron Woodley targeted for "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson"
Another big addition has been made to next month's "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson" event.
Sources close to the show today told MMAjunkie.com that a welterweight bout between Tyron Woodley (8-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) and Paul Daley (27-10-2 MMA, 2-1 SF) is in the process of being finalized for the card.
It's not clear if Nick Diaz's recently vacated welterweight title will be on the line.
Nate Marquardt cut from the UFC
Nate Marquardt (MMA 31-10-2 UFC 10-4) Has been cut from the UFC:
It's just going from bad to worse for Nate, not only did he lose his Main Event spot at UFC Live on Versus but he has been cut from the UFC in the space of 40 minutes as Dana says in the video link below:
What's next for Nate, I don't know, but this is big big news. Greg Jackson's Camp Instist the setback is temporary and his future still lies at 170 pounds. With regards to him being taken off the main event.
However with the cut from the UFC it's a huge shake up for Nate's career and both the Middleweight and Welterweight Divisions.
Marquardt scratched from UFC on Versus 4; Barry-Kongo now main, Story gets Brenneman
One-time UFC middleweight title challenger Nate Marquardt will not be making his welterweight debut this weekend.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Marquardt is a late scratch from Sunday's UFC on Versus 4 event, and opponent Rick Story (13-3 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will now instead meet Charlie Brenneman (12-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) on the evening's main card.
With the late change, a highly-anticipated heavyweight bout between Pat Barry (6-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cheick Kongo (15-6-2 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) has now been promoted to main-event status.
The reason for Marquardt's last-minute withdrawal, mere hours before he was scheduled to hit the scales at the event's official weigh-ins, wasn't immediately evident. However, Marquardt's camp did release a statement insisting the setback was temporary and his future still lies at 170 pounds.
John Makdessi injured, forced out of UFC on Versus 5 bout with Paul Taylor
Undefeated lightweight prospect John Makdessi (9-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) will have to wait a little bit longer to get back to action.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the event that Makdessi has been forced to withdraw from a planned UFC on Versus 5 contest with Paul Taylor (11-6-1 MMA, 4-5 UFC).
An undisclosed injury is said to be the culprit, though Makdessi's manager, Mitch Mayberger, was unavailable for comment when contacted by MMAjunkie.com.
Top-ranked Japanese featherweight Hatsu Hioki signs UFC deal
Former World Victory Road/Sengoku featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki (24-4-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) officially is octagon-bound.
UFC officials today announced the top-ranked Japanese star is the newest addition to the roster of the world's biggest MMA promotion.
Officials did not reveal Hioki's debut appearance and first opponent.
Strikeforce Challengers 16 Results: Fodor vs. Terry
MMA Fighting has Strikeforce Challengers 16 results of Caros Fodor vs. James Terry, Ryan Couture vs. Matt Ricehouse and the rest of the Showtime card from the ShoWare Center in Kent, Wash.
In the main event, Caros Fodor extended his win streak to four with a unanimous decision win over James Terry. In other action, Ryan Couture, son of UFC Hall of Famer Randy, lost in his third trip inside the cage, dropping a decision to Matt Ricehouse.
Caros Fodor def. James Terry (30-27, 30-27, 29-28)
Matt Ricehouse def. Ryan Couture via unanimous decision (29-28 3x)
Lorenz Larkin def. Gian Villante via unanimous decision (29-28 3x)
Jason High def. Quinn Mulhern via unanimous decision (30-27 3x)
Julia Budd def. Germaine de Randamie via unanimous decision (29-28 3x)
Derek Brunson def. Jeremy Hamilton via unanimous decision (30-27 3x)
Eduardo Pamplona def. Jerron Peoples via first-round TKO
Trevor Smith def. Keith Berry via second-round technical submission
Hector Lombard vs. Jesse Taylor targeted for August AFC event in Australia
Hector Lombard (29-2-1) is headed back to his second home.
Sources close to negotiations today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the Bellator middleweight champion has received permission to take a fight against "The Ultimate Fighter 7" veteran Jesse Taylor (19-6) late this summer.
The bout is targeted for an Australian Fighting Championship event expected for Aug. 27, likely in Melbourne, Australia. The promotion's broadcast plans are unknown at this time.
Lombard most recently was seen in the cage this past month at Bellator 44, where he knocked out Falaniko Vitale in a non-title bout. The two got off to a very slow start while circling each other for two rounds without much offense. Lombard, though, eventually landed a crushing right hand.
The Cuban native has defended his Bellator belt once with a decision victory over Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 34. He also holds the middleweight title in the Australia-based Cage Fighting Championship and has defended it seven times during an unbeaten streak that's stretched nearly four years.
An emigrant to Australia from his native country, Lombard, a former Olympian in Judo, spends the bulk of his time in Coconut Creek, Fla., where he moved several years ago to train with American Top Team.
Taylor, meanwhile, enjoys a five-fight win streak that includes a win under the AFC banner. He most recently dispatched UFC and PRIDE vet Denis Kang at "Battlefield Fight League 8: Island Beatdown" this past month and defeated former UFC middleweight champ Murilo Bustamante 11 months before at "Impact FC 2: The Uprising 2."
Since his release from the UFC in 2008, Taylor has gone 13-3 while shuffling between welterweight, middleweight and even light heavyweight.
Neil Melanson chooses MMA over body part
LAS VEGAS -- Rest in peace, Neil Melanson’s second toe on his left foot. You’re in a better place.
After enduring more abuse than any toe should, Melanson’s is officially gone. The head jiu-jitsu trainer at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, best known for his work with Randy Couture, had it removed last week after it became arthritic due to a severely damaged joint.
Had he been willing to stay off the mats for approximately one year, Melanson likely could have avoided amputation. But when given a choice between 365 days away from training or forfeiting the Little Piggy who Stayed Home, he chose the latter.
“I broke it in the first tournament I ever competed in,” Melanson told ESPN.com. “Then over the years I broke it again and two years ago it snapped. It just didn’t want to live I guess.
“It’s really not a big deal to me. It’s just a toe. I guess when you love the sport and you’re committed to it, you don’t let little things like toes get in the way.”
Shogun Rua calls for UFC to permit stomps
Mauricio Shogun Rua has told ESPN that he believes stomps should be made legal in the UFC.
Former Pride star Shogun has spent the majority of his career in competitions permitting stomps, and he is a huge advocate of that particular weapon.
The UFC had to outlaw the technique in order to bring the sport of MMA into the mainstream, a move Rua completely understands as president Dana White continues to take the sport into new territories.
Mizuto Hirota Finally Ready to Return Twenty Months After Shocking Injury
On December 31, 2009, Mizuto Hirota got his arm wrenched behind his back by possibly the most ruthless man in MMA: DREAM lightweight champion Shinya Aoki.
Hirota, who was then the Sengoku lightweight champion and had engaged in a war of words with Aoki prior to the bout, refused to tap and so Aoki wrenched the arm further and further until Hirota's body shook and a sickening snap was heard through Saitama Super Arena as referee Yuji Shimada proceeded to dive in and covered his mouth in shock.
With Hirota lying stunned on the canvas and his arm destroyed, Shinya Aoki stood over his defeated opponent while sticking his tongue out and extending his middle finger before excitedly running around the ring and flipping off the audience. Not yet finished, Aoki then laughed at Hirota and mocked his broken arm before proudly named the submission after his boss, the "Keiichi Sasahara 2010."
Hirota obviously should have tapped, but Aoki's performance at Dynamite!! 2009 was one of the lowest points in the history of Japanese MMA. At Deep 55 on August 26, twenty months after getting his arm snapped, Hirota will finally be ready to return.
Undefeated newcomer Lance Benoist signs multi-fight deal with UFC
Undefeated welterweight Lance Benoist (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is octagon bound.
A source close to the promotion today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the fighter has signed a four-fight deal with the UFC.
Benoist's debut has not been set.
A standout on the Midwest regional circuit, Benoist brings an impressive (albeit brief) resume into a deep division.
He has ended all of his five professional fights and all but one of his six amateur fights in the first round. In fact, two of his first three professional victories came in the opening minute of the first round.
While his amateur record is marked by TKO victories, his professional record boasts four submission wins.
Jon Jones, Georges St-Pierre, Fabricio Werdum nominated for 2011 ESPY Awards
UFC champions Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre, as well as Strikeforce heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum, have all been nominated for 2011 ESPY Awards.
Jones and St-Pierre were each nominated in the "Best Fighter" category while Werdum's June 2010 submission win over Fedor Emelianenko was nominated in the "Best Upset" category.
Fans can vote on the winners from now through July 9, and the awards show airs on ESPN on July 13.
Jones and St-Pierre are joined in the "Best Fighter" pool by standout boxers Bernard Hopkins, Sergio Martinez and Manny Pacquiao.
Cyborg Santos out of clash with Paul Daley
Paul Daley's management team have informed ESPN that the welterweight is searching for a new opponent after Evangelista Cyborg Santos was ruled out of their July 30 clash.
Daley and Santos were heading for a potentially explosive 170lb war, as the co-main event to Dan Henderson's much anticipated encounter with Fedor Emelianenko.
The clash could even have turned out to be for the vacant Strikeforce welterweight title, after Nick Diaz switched to the UFC to fight Georges St-Pierre. Daley and Santos had been the most recent men to challenge Diaz for his throne.
However, Santos has pulled out of the bout due to injury, and ESPN understands Strikeforce is currently in the process of finding a replacement opponent for Daley.
James Toney vs. Ken Shamrock September 23
BJPENN.COM was the first to learn that James Toney and Ken Shamrock have agreed to face off in an MMA match on Sept. 23 in El Paso, Texas.
While details are still emerging about the venue and fight card, the former UFC fighters are going to face off in a heavyweight attraction in what will be James Toney’s second professional MMA bout.
BJPENN.COM confirmed this with both Toney’s manager and Mr. Toney himself this evening via telephone.
Not 100% sure if this is real but it's all over twitter so figured I'd post it.
UFC on Versus 4: Pat Barry – No More Mr. Nice Guy
If there’s one thing you can say about UFC heavyweight Pat Barry beyond his fight skills, it’s that he’s a hell of a nice guy.
During his Q&A appearance prior to UFC on Versus 3 in Louisville, Ky., Barry had a room full of fans laughing and joking along with him as he told stories and answered questions.
At the UFC Fighter Summit, Barry somehow managed to strip down to his underwear and sit quietly during one of the talks being given, while fighters all around him chuckled and couldn’t help but laugh at the gentle giant’s antics.
He even famously knocked down his idol Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic when they fought, and helped him back up.
Tim Kennedy Gets His Wish, Faces Robbie Lawler at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson
Sometimes when you ask, you shall receive.
Two former middleweight title contenders will battle it out as Tim Kennedy gets his wish and will face Robbie Lawler at the upcoming Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson card.
Strikeforce officials announced the new bout on Thursday.
Kennedy has been targeting the July 30 date for a while now, and just last month expressed his desire of opponents when speaking with MMAWeekly.com.