Jake Shields to Train With Chael Sonnen During UFC 129 Prep for GSP
As he prepares for his UFC 129 main-event fight with Georges St. Pierre, former EliteXC welterweight champion and former Strikeforce middleweight champion Jake Shields will spend some time training with Chael Sonnen. Jake Shields comments on Spike TV:
"So far things are going great, camp's going good. We just had Court Mcgee out here ... you've got Chael Sonnen coming out this week, things are going good. I'm pushing, in great shape. I'm just excited, I'm ready to go."
9 Fights Signed for Strikeforce Challengers 15
Undefeated light heavyweight prospect Lorenz Larkin will make his promotional debut against Scott Lighty (Pictured) in a featured matchup at Strikeforce Challengers 15 on Friday at the Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. Nine fights have been signed for the event, which will air on Showtime.
A combined 15-0 as a professional and amateur, Larkin last appeared under the MEZ Sports banner in February, when he stopped Maximum Fighting Championship alum Mike Cook on second-round punches at the Riverside Convention Center in Riverside, Calif. The 24-year-old Californian has secured six of his eight professional victories by knockout or technical knockout, five of them inside one round.
The once-beaten Lighty has not fought since Fight Militia MMA “Fight for Wrestling 2” in August, when he knocked out Shawn Frye at the Icardo Center in Bakersfield, Calif. A John Hackleman protégé, the 32-year-old has trained extensively with UFC hall of famer Chuck Liddell. In seven professional appearances, Lighty has gone the distance just once.
A lightweight battle pairing American Kickboxing Academy representative Justin Wilcox with Sengoku Raiden Championship veteran Rodrigo Damm will headline Strikeforce Challengers 15, along with a showdown between Cesar Gracie disciple David Douglas and AMC Pankration prospect Caros Fodor.
Strikeforce Challengers 15
Friday, April 1
Justin Wilcox vs. Rodrigo Damm
David Douglas vs. Caros Fodor
Lorenz Larkin vs. Scott Lighty
James Terry vs. Josh Thornburg
Damian Douglas vs. Wayne Phillips
Rafael Rios vs. Anthony Avila
Robert Escalante vs. Raul Sandoval
Tristan Arenal vs. Tom Peterson
Adam Antolin vs. Ronald Carillo
Windy vs. Yamaguchi Set for First Female Pancrase Headliner
For the first time in its 17-year history, Pancrase will offer up a female main event at its April 3 “Impressive Tour” stop in Tokyo’s Differ Ariake.
Set to square off in the 115-pound “Athena division” headliner are longtime Pancrasist “Windy” Tomomi Sunaba and promotional newcomer Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi.
Sunaba, 34, is one of the best-established names in women’s mixed martial arts, having competed against some of the toughest female competitors in more than 10 different promotions during her nine-year career. The karate stylist has experienced a career resurgence of late, busting a five-fight winless slump from 2008-2009 with four straight wins in 2010. Sunaba’s current streak includes decisions over former boxing champ Monica Lovato and fellow Japanese vet Masako Yoshida.
Formerly known as “V-Hajime,” Yamaguchi is the current 115-pound champion of Greatest Common Multiple-run women’s league Valkyrie. The 28-year-old claimed gold in February 2010 by defeating Yuka Tsuji via first-round rear-naked choke, simultaneously avenging her 2008 loss to the women’s MMA pioneer. In fact, Yamaguchi has reclaimed both defeats on her 6-2-1 ledger, having also bested former Smackgirl standout Emi Fujino in April 2009.
Anthony Johnson Hates John Howard, Would Gladly Accept Chance to Beat Him Up
Anthony “Rumble” Johnson did what he had to do to get a win on Saturday night in Seattle at UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis. Through three rounds, he wrestled his way to a win, getting the decision nod over Dan Hardy in their co-main event match-up.
The fight was Johnson’s first since December of 2009. The 16 months Johnson spent away from fighting was more than enough time to survey the UFC’s welterweight division. Now, having come off a win in the organization’s first trip to the Emerald City, “Rumble” is able to wait and see who the UFC will pair him with next.
When asked who he’d like to take on in his next trip to the Octagon, Johnson explained that the division is deep enough to make his choice of opponent difficult, but one name sticks out to him.
“The welterweight division is so stacked that if you call out one person, you got to call everybody out,” Johnson said shortly after his UFC Fight Night win. “There’s only one person who I really hate – John Howard.”
Johnson made it clear that he detests Howard, but doesn’t feel “Doomsday” is capable of dealing with a “rumble” after getting dealt with by Thiago Alves so efficiently.
“But he got beat up by Thiago, so he ain’t ready for me yet,” he said. “So, we’ll see. Whoever they give me I guess I just have to be ready for it.”
If given the opportunity, however, Johnson would accept a fight with Howard in a heartbeat. When asked how he would feel if the UFC granted him the opportunity to fight him, Johnson explained it would be perfectly okay with him.
“That’s fine, I’ll beat him up,” he said.
And why does Anthony Johnson want to beat up John Howard? The answer is simple – he feels Howard is a coward.
“He’s a (expletive),” he said.
Cruz vs. Faber 2 Booked for UFC 132 in July
The UFC announced on Saturday that the bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will go down at UFC 132, July 2nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Since taping for TUF 14 is expected to take place sometime this summer, it seems unlikely that Cruz and Faber will be tapped as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter‘s first bantamweight/featherweight season.
The two former WEC stars have shared some bad blood since the lead-up to their first fight at WEC 26 in March 2007. Upset that he wasn’t featured on the event poster, Cruz signed his name over Faber’s face — which the California Kid perceived as a sign of disrespect. Faber went on to score a guillotine choke victory in just 98 seconds, retaining his featherweight title.
Cruz dropped to 135 pounds the following year and has since racked up a 7-0 record in that division, winning the bantamweight belt from Brian Bowles and defending it twice against Joseph Benavidez and Scott Jorgensen. Faber made the drop to bantamweight last year after an ugly loss to current 145-pound champ Jose Aldo, and his since scored dominant victories over Takeya Mizugaki and Eddie Wineland.
The current lineup of UFC 132 is…
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber (for bantamweight title)
B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch (WW)
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller (LW)
George Sotiropoulos vs. Evan Dunham (LW)
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman (LW)
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader (LHW)
Increasing Speculation That He Will Fight at UFC Rio: Royce Gracie Reportedly Pulls Out of UK Seminar Tour to Focus on Training for Fight in August
CagePotato.com received word over the weekend from a source close to the situation that Royce Gracie has cancelled the European leg of his spring seminar tour and that the official reason given to the group organizing his UK appearances (NJM promotions) is that the UFC Hall-of-Famer has accepted an offer from the promotion to fight on its August 27 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
According to NJM, Gracie’s manager, Mike Kogan revealed the news to them, which was relayed to the seminar host gyms in an effort to explain why the 44-year-old UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament winner would not be able to make his scheduled appearances in England.
When contacted by us today via email to ask if Royce has indeed signed on to fight on the card, and if so, whom he will face, Kogan did not deny the stated reason for his client pulling out of his European tour, but said that nothing is official YET.
“We are talking about fighting in August,” Kogan confirmed. “Nothing is locked down, no.”
No potential opponents have been named for his possible return to the Octagon, but a few names come that with pre-built story lines would make sense.
Following his UFC 60 loss to Matt Hughes in 2006, Gracie expressed his desire to rematch the former UFC welterweight champ, explaining that he overtrained for the bout and didn’t perform as expected as a result, so a rematch would make sense, but there are at least two other opponents that would make sense, especially for a card set in Brazil.
With BJ Penn’s past history with Royce’s cousins Ralph, who calls “The Prodigy” a traitor for leaving him to train at Nova Uniao before calling out his brother Renzo for a 2005 K-1 bout, that’s another grudge match that wouldn’t take much marketing to sell. A third possible scenario would see the UFC sign Kazushi Sakuraba to face Gracie in a heavily-anticipated rubber match. In their last fight — a June 2007 Dynamite!! USA bout in California, Royce defeated “The Gracie Killer” by unanimous decision, but subsequently tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandralone. He has disputed the test results for the past four years, claiming that the accusation that he uses PEDs is preposterous as he weighs just two pounds more than he did when he made his UFC debut in 1993. Sakuraba defeated Royce in 2000 by TKO and has beaten Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie, which is how he earned his nickname.
Considering that the show is nearly five months away and that there are a number of other suitable opponents from Dan Hardy to Mike Swick whose stock in the Octagon would benefit from a fight with a legend like Gracie, it’s likely that we won’t know until April or May if and whom Royce will fight on the card.
UFC's Alexander Gustafsson training in US hoping for fight in Las Vegas
Losing is not something UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson is familiar with.
In fact, his record has one lone defeat on it, and that was courtesy of current teammate and recent UFC Fight Night 24 main-event winner Phil Davis.
Following the loss, the fast-rising light-heavyweight contender opted to join Davis in the U.S. for training. Now, the 24-year-old Swedish fighter – who's fought exclusively in Europe and Asia – hopes his next UFC bout comes in the U.S.
UFC Quick Quote: A part of Rich Franklin wants to fight Jon Jones to 'see how he'd do'
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin, who was kicked out of the 185-pound division by the seemingly invincible Anderson Silva, talks to the Springfield News-Sun about the meteoric rise of new Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, who just so happens to rule the weight class Franklin now calls home. "Ace" is just as enamored with the rise of "Bones" as the rest of the mixed martial arts community but his competitive spirit also wonders how he might fare in a 205-pound throwdown.
Good quote from "Ace" in full article
Lorenz Larkin replaces Satoshi Ishii at Strikeforce Challengers 15
Unbeaten Lorenz Larkin (8-0 MMA, 0-0 SF) has replaced Satoshi Ishii (4-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) and now meets fellow light heavyweight Scott Lighty (6-1 MMA, 1-1 SF) at Friday's Strikeforce Challengers 15 event.
Following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in his native Japan, Ishii was unable to secure a visa to leave the country.
Strikeforce Challengers 15 takes place at Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. The night's main card airs on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Countdown to UFC 129 debuts April 27th on Spike TV
The UFC's traditional pre-event preview show returns April 27 with the debut of "Countdown to UFC 129."
The one-hour episode debuts on Spike TV at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
UFC 129 takes place April 30 at Toronto's Rogers Centre, and the pay-per-view main card features welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. top contender Jake Shields.
Dan Hardy Calls Out Chris Lytle
"Feeling very frustrated today. No excuses, sometimes you just dont win. I hate having boring fights though.
I want to fight again. I feel like Ive been robbed of the reward at the end of training camp.
An oldschool shootout with a guy that wants to throw down. Screw the rankings, records are for DJs.
Win in a blaze of glory or go out on my shield. Someone like Mr Lytle..."
Sounds to me like Hardy can't handle the wrestlers and doesn't want to anymore. What do you think Playground? Would that be a good fight? And who wins?
Dream champ Takaya vs Peralta added to Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley
A bout between DREAM featherweight champ Hiroyuki Takaya (15-8-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) and Robert Peralta (13-3 MMA, 0-0 SF) has been added to the preliminary card of next month's "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley" event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the matchup with Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz. Sherdog.com first reported the fight.
"Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley" takes place April 9 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, and the main card airs live on Showtime. The event is headlined by a welterweight title fight between reigning champ Nick Diaz and Paul Daley.
UFC Fight Night 24 sets attendance, live gate records for "Fight Night" events
SEATTLE – The UFC's first-ever trip to Seattle was the most successful UFC Fight Night event in the company's history in terms of box office success, according to promotion officials.
Saturday night's "UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis" event drew a reported 14,212 attendees for a live gate of $1,182,850.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the attendance and gate figures with company officials at the evening's post-event press conference.
UFC boss says Dan Hardy's fate not sealed with third straight defeat
SEATTLE – In the hyper-competitive world of the UFC, two straight defeats almost always leads to a release from the promotion.
Three consecutive defeats? Don't call us; we'll call you.
At Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event in Seattle, British slugger Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) dropped his third straight fight when he was toppled by fellow striking specialist Anthony Johnson. However, UFC president Dana White said "The Outlaw" won't necessarily be flying home with a pink slip.
With UFC 132 rematch booked, champ Cruz details origins of Faber feud
It has been four years since the sport's two most-talented 135-pound fighters faced one another.
However, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and No. 1 contender Urijah Faber (25-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meet again at UFC 132, officials announced on Saturday.
After the announcement, Cruz spoke exclusively to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the highly anticipated rematch and the origins of his feud with Faber.
Then-champion Faber defeated Cruz in a 2007 WEC featherweight title bout, one in which Cruz made his organizational debut.
Johnson says earning win more important than keeping promise at UFC Fight Night 24
SEATTLE – From the moment Anthony Johnson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) was first announced for Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event, fans salivated at the thought of two lethal strikers standing toe-to-toe.
And in each and every pre-fight media appearance, both sluggers promised they wouldn't even consider taking the fight to the floor.
But things played out very differently during the co-feature. Johnson utilized his wrestling background to control the action on the floor for 15 rather uneventful minutes – and he makes no apologies for his performance.
UFC's Davis not trying to follow Jones' path but not afraid to step in the way
SEATTLE – Fighting just seven days after fellow young gun Jon Jones (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) claimed the UFC's light-heavyweight belt, undefeated prospect Phil Davis (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) simply couldn't avoid the questions.
Try as he might to deflect the comparisons to "Bones," the wrestling phenom was forced to discuss his future even before he stepped into the cage to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the featured bout of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event.
And while Davis essentially avoided the questions prior to his unanimous-decision win, he answered directly when quizzed post-fight. I'm my own man, Davis proclaimed, but if Jones and I are on a collision course, then bring it on.
For UFC Fight Night 24's Jung, time was right for historic submission, instant pay raise
SEATTLE – UFC featherweight Chan Sung Jung (11-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was already a legend in MMA circles prior to stepping into the cage at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event.
The only problem was his contract didn't exactly reflect his reputation.
"I'm especially glad to finally get my pay above the $5,000 level since I was stuck there for so long," Jung told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) with a laugh. "I'm glad to finally move up in pay level."
Sadollah says UFC FIght Night 24 win just latest lesson on path to the top
SEATTLE – Put simply, there likely will never be another Amir Sadollah (5-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
The season-seven winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," Sadollah has fought his entire professional career inside the octagon – an impossible feat now that "TUF" tryouts require a professional record.
Developing his skills on the sport's biggest stage hasn't been easy, admits Sadollah, but he's comfortable in what he's become. Now it's time to take it to the next level.