UFC Returns to Japan in February 2012
While a November timeframe was announced for card finalization, all of the Japanese fighters currently on Zuffa roster -- presently, Yushin Okami, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Norifumi Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki, Michihiro Omigawa, Takanori Gomi, Riki Fukuda, and Takeya Mizugaki -- were mentioned as likely participants for the event. The UFC will also be aiming for the heart of major-scale MMA in the country by staging the event at the Saitama Super Arena, frequent home to Dream and the defunct Pride Fighting Championships, which will be scaled to accommodate 20,000 seats.
Renato "Babalu" Sobral Talks Strikeforce, Retirement
Renato "Babalu" Sobral has been an MMA fighter for 14 years now, and thinks his time in the cage/ring might be coming to an end soon. He still wants to fight again though, and is just waiting for Strikeforce to book him. He spoke to Tatame about his next bout, and how retirement is creeping up:
"I’m just waiting this event of the 10th goes by so that I know when I’ll fight again", tells, explaining how he’s spending his days with no scheduled bouts. "Meanwhile, I’m helping Rafael (Cordeiro) on the trainings, I have my gym, Gracie Barra Cerritos, where I train my student, I have my family… I have a big group of kids I like to teach".
With Koscheck seal of approval, Strikeforce's "King Mo" goes after Roger Gracie
Sometimes support comes from the unlikeliest of places.
A world traveler in search of deeper MMA knowledge, Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal has taken residence with American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif. It's not Thunderdome in there, but you certainly have to prove yourself. On sparring day, there are few friends.
That's why Lawal was shocked, quite frankly, to hear Josh Koscheck give praise to his efforts as he prepares to meet Roger Gracie at "Strikeforce Grand Prix: Barnett vs. Kharitonov."
Broken hand forces Diego Sanchez out of UFC 135
Diego Sanchez (23-4 MMA, 12-4 UFC) has been forced to withdraw from a planned UFC 135 co-headlining matchup with Matt Hughes (45-8 MMA, 18-6 UFC).
UFC president Dana White today announced the move via Twitter.
"Diego Sanchez broke his hand," White wrote. "Looking for a replacement for Hughes."
UFC 135 takes place Sept. 24 at Denver's Pepsi Center. A title fight between light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson headlines the pay-per-view main card.
What Chael Sonnen REALLY Thinks About Anderson Silva
Despite his recent, well-publicized troubles, which have included being suspended for steriods and receiving a suspended sentence after pleading guilty to money laundering charges, ESPN have seen fit to place him alongside host Jon Anik for the past two weeks running.
Sonnen has seized the moment, almost entirely dispensing with his standard UFC persona in favor of something far more professional, sincere, and, dare we say, truthful?
“The bottom line – Anderson Silva did an awesome job,” Sonnen said in his assessment of ‘The Spider’s’ performance at UFC 134 in Rio last weekend. “He continues with his dominance. He’s such a good striker. And what he’s really good at is keeping guys at range and having guys fight his fight, and he showed it again.”
Jon Anik then tested just how much he could get Sonnen to admit on national TV by asking him if his rival was the best in the business.
“I’m not ready to say he’s the best ever,” Sonnen said before conceding, “but he’s certainly special.”
There were flashes of the “old” Chael though, such as when he was asked who Silva can beat.
“For me personally it comes down to this – if you want the job done right, apparently I’m going to have to go out and do it myself.”
i also enjoyed his analysis of Anderson mocking opponents....
“When he drops his hands and mocks you, that’s when he’s getting ready – that’s his set-up. So you gotta make him restart. Either take a couple steps backwards [and] make him come to you, or charge him, but you’ve gotta reset him. That’s when he’s starting to get his footwork down.”
Gegard Mousasi targeted for Strikeforce event on Dec. 17
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Gegard Mousasi is again returning to the states in hopes of leaving under better circumstances this time around.
The Dutch-Armenian fighter has been targeted to fight on an as-yet-unannounced Strikeforce card set for Dec. 17, a source close to the fighter confirmed to MMAjunkie.com. An opponent has yet to be named for the event, which is currently without a city and venue.
The booking opportunity is Mousasi's first since he drew Keith Jardine at "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley."
UFC Signs Robert Peralta to Face Mike Lullo at UFC Fight Night 25
With Mackens Semerzier injured, the UFC has scrambled to find a replacement opponent for Mike Lullo at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans in just a few weeks, and now they have one. Strikeforce and Gladiator Challenge veteran, Robert Peralta, has signed with the UFC and agreed to face Lullo in a featherweight bout on the preliminary portion of the September 17th card.
Fedor Emelianenko's Next Fight Will Be In Russia
Fedor Emelianenko might have lost three fights in a row and been released from Strikeforce, but he's not hanging 'em up yet. He intends to continue his career, and he will apparently be doing it in his home country of Russia. This was posted on M-1's page yesterday:
Vadim Finkelstein, co-founder of M-1 Global, has confirmed today that Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko will fight in his homeland for the first time since April 2007.
"Fedor is going to fight in late fall in Russia, we have already reached all the necessary agreements on his fight"
Date, place and opponent will be announced soon.
Culinary Union Requests Formal Zuffa Investigation By FTC
Yesterday, the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission requesting that a formal investigation into whether business practices by Zuffa LLC, the corporate owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), violate U.S. antitrust laws.
The letter goes on to point out that since 2001, Zuffa has acquired four of its key rivals (Pride Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting, the World Fighting Alliance, and most recently Strikeforce earlier this year. They also state that through some independent research performed in 2008, Zuffa controls 80-90% of the mixed martial arts market.
Specifically, the letter points out that Zuffa has preserved and strengthened its dominance in the market through their unwillingness to co-promote events as well as anti-competitive contractual restraints placed on their contracted fighters...
UFC's Yoshihiro Akiyama teases welterweight move, seeks Georges St-Pierre's advice
Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama isn't planning on shedding any sexiness, but he will look to drop about 15 pounds.
Akiyama recent revealed to Japanese news outlet Sponichi he's intending to drop down to the welterweight division in an effort to snap out of a three-fight losing streak.
Additionally, Akiyama, who recently closed his gym in Japan, said he hopes to shift his training base to North America and work alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
Brett Rogers vs. Eddie Sanchez headlines Titan Fighting Championship 20
Heavyweight slugger Brett Rogers looks to get back on the winning track on Sept. 23, when he meets six-time UFC veteran Eddie Sanchez in the headlining bout of Titan Fighting Championship 20.
Rogers revealed the booking on Friday's new edition of HDNet's "Inside MMA," and Titan Fighting Championship officials this morning confirmed the bout.
Titan Fighting Championship 20 takes place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan., and the night's main card airs on HDNet.
Marcus Davis vs. Chuck O'Neil added to "W-1 MMA: Reloaded"
Marcus Davis has a new fight – and a new opponent.
The UFC veteran has verbally agreed to fight "The Ultimate Fighter 13" veteran and fellow Massachusetts native Chuck O'Neil (8-4) at "W-1: Reloaded," according sources close to the fighter. The event takes place Oct. 15 at BankUnited Center in Miami and airs on Fox Sports Net.
Additionally, Davis is now scheduled to scheduled to meet Travis Coyle at Global Fight League 9, which takes place Sept. 23 at the Portland Expo Center in Portland, Maine.
Finalists announced for 2011 World MMA Awards
Finalists for the Fighters Only 2011 World MMA Awards were today officially revealed.
In the fourth edition of the annual awards, an expert panel consisting of Fighters Only's international editors and a selection of guests panelists selected five finalists in each of 22 different award categories, including the Charles "Mask" Lewis Fighter of the Year, which sees Dominick Cruz, Nick Diaz, Dan Henderson, Jon Jones and Anderson Silva vying for the coveted award.
MMAjunkie.com is represented in two categories. The company is a finalist for the "Media Source of the Year" award, and lead staff reporter and MMAjunkie.com Radio co-host John Morgan is a nominee for "MMA Journalist of the Year."
All winners are determined by a fan vote, and ballots can be cast now through Nov. 25 at www.worldmmaawards.com. An iPhone application is also available and promises to make the voting process even easier than on the website
Cain Velasquez vs. Junior dos Santos Confirmed for UFC on FOX Main Event
Cain Velasquez and Junior Dos Santos will lead the UFC's charge on to network television.
UFC president Dana White today announced that Velasquez and Dos Santos will headline UFC on FOX 1, which takes place Nov. 12 at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
The event marks the UFC's debut on network television and kicks-off a seven-year deal between the UFC and FOX, a partnership that also includes UFC programming on FX and FUEL TV.
Pat Healy Flirts With Accusing Maximo Blanco of Steroid Use
Pat Healy stepped in for Josh Thomson earlier this week, and he's already talking about new opponent Maximo Blanco. Healy spoke with Matt Bishop on Bloody Elbow Radio about Blanco's first fight in the States, and all but accused the latter of drug use:
Matt Bishop: Do you think this being his first fight in the cage can be a big factor for you?
Pat Healy: Yeah, I think that's a huge factor. If you've never fought in a cage before, it's a lot different than a ring. It's also his first time fighting in the States where they have athletic commissions who drug test for steroids, I think that'll be a big thing for him, too. Yeah. All that's going to affect him, I believe.
Matt Bishop: OK, I have to dig deeper on this one. So you mention his first time fighting with a commission, where they test for steroids. I can't say you're beating around the bush there, it seems like you're pretty much coming out and saying it.
Pat Healy: Well, you know, I've heard a lot of rumors. I think a lot of those PRIDE guys when they came over, they had their first performances, and you can look at all the top PRIDE guys, a lot of them came to the UFC and lost the first time and looked like they were gassed and tired and you know, I think it had a lot to do with the athletic commissions doing drug tests out here. You look at the size difference with a lot of those PRIDE guys when they were back in their hype, they looked a little bit unnatural, if you will.