UFC 133: Rashad Evans Working With Kickboxing World Champions to Prepare for Tito Ortiz
Interesting photo here as Rashad Evans prepares for next weekend's UFC 133 main event against Tito Ortiz. To prepare for the fight, Evans has spent some time training with top ranked kickboxers Tyrone Spong and Cosmo Alexandre at Imperial MMA in Florida. For those unfamiliar with the names, both Spong and Alexandre are among the elite in kickboxing and Muay Thai, claiming multiple world title between them. Spong may be best known to MMA fans as Alistair Overeem's opponent at last year's K-1 Grand Prix, where he gave The Reem his toughest challenge of 2010.
I'll be very interested to see how this work impacts Evans, as in my eyes, it is a fantastic choice of training partners for him. Rashad's greatest strengths in MMA have always been his wrestling and his hands. His striking game is solid from the waist up, but has some gaps elsewhere, as he does not use many kicks, and could still improve his footwork at times. Working with two kickboxing experts may help tighten up that footwork, while expanding his striking repertoire to include kicks and knees. Meanwhile, both Spong and Cosmo are looking at making a transition to MMA, and working with a wrestler and excellent all around fighter like Evans will greatly benefit them.
Brett Rogers receives permission to contact family, returns to court in August
Former Strikeforce heavyweight Brett Rogers (11-3) isn't yet in the clear, but he is again able to see his family.
In a Monday ruling in Dakota County, Minn., judge Rex Stacey modified a previously-issued no-contact order, allowing Rogers to contact his wife, Tiuana Rogers, via phone, email and text, as well as allowing the heavyweight to speak with his children and to meet with his family for counseling.
Rogers' attorney, Murad M. Mohammad, believes the move is a positive sign as he and his client prepare for an Aug. 29 settlement conference.
DREAM.17 official for September; organization to use three five-minute rounds
As expected, DREAM will return in September, but it will look a little different when it does.
At a Wednesday press conference, DREAM event producer Keiichi Sasahara officially announced that DREAM.17 will take place Sept. 24 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama Japan.
But contrary to previous events, DREAM will use the card to launch a new rule change: the use of three, five-minute rounds.
Despite doubters, Strikeforce's Daniel Cormier knows he's ready for grand-prix slot
Daniel Cormier was training, as usual, this past week when his manager and trainer at American Kickboxing Academy, Bob Cook, came up to him and said he'd missed a call from the UFC.
Cook, however, had gotten a text around the same time from another source who made clear what the call was about.
Antonio Silva's manager, Alex Davis, had written this to him: "I guess we're going to be standing across the cage from each other."
MFC Signs Five Year Deal With HDNet
Maximum Fighting Championship put out a press release today touting a new deal with HDNet that will extend for five more years. MFC has been on the network since February 2008, and is one of the cornerstones of HDNet's MMA programming.
Rory MacDonald Talks About Training With Georges St. Pierre
UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald has been writing a series of blogs for sportsnet.ca leading up to his fight with Mike Pyle at UFC 133 on August 6th. The first one dealt with his childhood and his entry into MMA. This one deals with his training at Tri-Star gym with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. He talks at first about how Mike Pyle has said that his experience edge will be a factor, and believes that he will beat Pyle and take some of that experience. He then moves onto talking about GSP.
Mike Easton vs. Jeff Hougland at UFC on Versus 6
More good news for the bantamweight division today. Mike Easton will make his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC on Versus 6 on October 1st when he takes on Jeff Hougland. UFC.com shares the news:
Winner of five in a row, bantamweight prospect Mike "The Hulk" Easton will return to competition for the first time since 2009 and he will do it in the UFC Octagon as he makes his debut in the organization against Jeff Hougland on October 1st's UFC Live on Versus card in Washington D.C. Easton, a stablemate of 135-pound champ Dominick Cruz, will be in tough against Hougland, who was successful in his UFC debut in July, defeating Donny Walker.
Cung Le Will Only Return to MMA to Fight in the UFC
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le might only have eight career MMA fights, but the former San Shou world champion is a popular figure in the sport and people want to see him fight. Le has been concentrating on a budding acting career of late and has only fought twice in the past three years though, and there doesn't appear to be much on the horizon for him. He's under contract to Strikeforce, but he told MMA Weekly that the only thing he want to do now is fight for the UFC:
"I know for a fact that if I do fight again, it’s going to be in the UFC. I’ve never fought in the UFC, but I would love to fight in the UFC. But right now because of my contract with Showtime and Strikeforce, hopefully things can work out because there is a show in San Jose that Cain Velasquez is the main event. I would love to fight in San Jose for the UFC and for Dana White and Lorenzo (Fertitta)," said Le.
Former UFC Fighter Justin Wren Puts Career on Hold to Answer Divine Call
WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. -- When Justin Wren says that God told him to take a break from fighting and go to one of Africa's most dangerous war-torn nations with three other Christian missionaries, he knows how that's likely to come off.
"I hope I don't sound like a religious dude," Wren says, flashing an embarrassed grin from deep within his bushy blonde beard. "That used to be like a cuss word to me."
That was before, back when Wren was not only a non-believer, but openly hostile to religion. If you'd told him a year and a half ago that he'd be putting his MMA career on hold to travel the earth with a small band of hardcore Christians, he'd have asked you what you were smoking, and whether you could spare any. He didn't even want to attend a church service, much less rearrange his life altogether.
Alessio Sakara Releases Statement About Injury
UFC middleweight Alessio Sakara released a statement to MMA Fighting earlier today regarding his withdrawal from UFC 133 on August 6th. He had been scheduled to fight Jorge Rivera, but suffered a knee injury and was replaced in the bout by Constantinos Philippou. Here's what he had to say:
"I tried to ignore the pain until now, thinking I had just sprained the knee," he said. "I kept training without using my legs. I wanted to get to the fight in a good condition somehow, but the MRI diagnosed that I broke my ligaments, and now I can't fight!"
Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve added to UFC on Versus 6 lineup
The UFC's tallest heavyweight has a date with the promotion's shortest one.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve (21-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) to meet 5-foot-11 Pat Barry (6-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC on Versus 6.
UFC on Versus 6 takes place Oct. 1 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The evening's main card airs on Versus.
Struve vs. Barry likely will be part of the broadcast.
Jeff Curran signs multi-fight deal with UFC
"Big Frog" is returning to the UFC.
More than seven years and exactly 26 fights since his lone trip to the octagon, 33-year-old bantamweight Jeff Curran (33-13-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal to return the UFC.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned of the signing from sources close to the fighter.
He's expected to fight at a fall UFC event.
'Axe Murderer' coach: Wanderlei Silva still has the potential to become champion again
"Nobody said it directly to Wanderlei, that he won't fight anymore. Wanderlei is in Brazil now, he'll return to the United States this week, and he's coming to train here. He wants to fight again. He trained his whole life and suffered many injuries as any other athlete, but they're all healed. He's with a good body, stronger than ever. He's Wanderlei, he'll never give up. That's the main thing about him. And there's no reasons for him to do that. He's reached what every athlete wants to. I'm not saying this as his coach, I'm saying this as a guy who watched him growing in the sport. He has the potential to become champion again, it's all about timing."
- Rafael Cordeiro
"Strikeforce: Grand Prix Semifinals" tickets on sale this week for Cincinnati
Tickets for Strikeforce's Cincinnati debut go on sale this week.
The event, "Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Semifinals," takes place Sept. 10 at U.S. Bank Arena, and the night's main card airs on Showtime.
Tickets range form $38 to $203, according to the venue's website.
The event features tournament semifinals of Daniel Cormier (8-0 MMA, 5-0 SF) vs. Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) and Sergei Kharitonov (18-4 MMA, 1-0 SF) vs. Josh Barnett (30-5 MMA, 1-0 SF). Additionally, middleweight champ Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza (14-2 MMA, 4-0 SF) puts his belt on the line against Luke Rockhold (7-1 MMA, 6-0 SF).
Tickets go on sale to the general public this Friday, July 29, beginning at noon ET (9 a.m. PT).
Autograph signing raises $12,000 for Constantinides family memorial fund
The MMA community has come together in support of Dr. Alex Constantinides, but more can be done.
An autograph signing this past Saturday in Denver raised $12,083 for The Constantinides Family Fund, which arose in the wake of this past week's tragedy involving the beloved member of the MMA community, Constantinides' friend J.R. Gordon today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). The signing featured UFC vets Shane Carwin, Brendan Schaub, Duane Ludwig and Eliot Marshall.
Donations, however, can still be made to the fund, as well as to a charitable foundation that addresses the needs of orphaned children in China.
UFC Quick Quote: BJ Penn is the only guy in MMA who doesn't use TRT
"I think everyone is really of the same opinion as I am, if they want to admit it or not. Stuff like this is not easy to talk about. We're talking about friends and colleagues of mine. They look at me and they hear me say these things, and they're like, 'You know you're the only guy that doesn't do it, right?' And I'm like, I know. It's a catch-22 for me. I believe so strongly in fair play and all these things, and on the other side, it's people you know and people you look up to, legends of the sport. They've been involved with stuff like that. I guess I shouldn't be so outspoken because I have so many friends and colleagues and so many people I respect in this sport that have gotten involved with stuff like TRT and hormone replacement."
- BJ Penn
Tito Ortiz involved in car accident over the weekend, Rashad Evans fight still on
That's the bad news. The good news is that he's okay and the UFC 133 curse has not claimed another victim.
Over the weekend, Tito Ortiz, driving his coveted -- and ridiculously expensive -- Rolls Royce Phantom, was involved in a three-car collision in Costa Mesa, Calif., according to TMZ.com.
Thankfully, no one was injured; only the grill of that beautiful piece of machinery was damaged significantly. "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" also said the cash to pay for repairs will come out of his own pocket.
Zelg Galesic vs. Alexander Shlemenko in the works for Bellator 50
Russian striker Alexander Shlemenko (39-7 MMA, 4-1 BFC) will welcome Croatian banger Zelg Galesic (10-5 MMA, 0-0 BFC) to the Bellator Fighting Championships cage.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that Shlemenko and Galesic have verbally agreed to meet at Bellator 50. Bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Though Bellator officials have yet to announce any contests for the event, Bellator 50 takes place Sept. 17 at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood Florida.
The night's main card airs on MTV2. Galesic vs. Shlemenko is expected to feature on the broadcast.