Jiu-jitsu instructor at heart, Gabriel Gonzaga still happy to fight again
Onetime UFC heavyweight title challenger Gabriel Gonzaga (11-6) admits he wasn't really sure what he wanted to do.
An October 2010 loss to Brendan Schaub dropped Gonzaga to just 1-3 in his previous four outings, and the former Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champ strongly considered forever hanging up his gloves.
But Gonzaga returns tonight for a heavyweight title fight against Parker Porter (5-2) at the aptly named "Reality Fighting: Gonzaga vs. Porter" event at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. "Napao" admits he doesn't know what comes after that, but he's touched by those that encouraged him to return.
"There were a lot of fans and students of mine asking me to return," Gonzaga recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "There were some e-mails that touched me – from people I've never met – talking about how I helped them in life. That was very gratifying."
And so the 32-year-old, who studied under Wander Braga from his grappling beginnings until he was awarded his black belt, turned to Marco Alvan, Alexandre Moreno and the rest of the crew at Massachusetts' Team Link and sought their advice.
"Fight," came the answer.
Grishin replaces champ Gugenishvili in Showtime's M-1 Challenge 27 headliner
An injury has forced heavyweight champion Guram Gugenishvili (11-0) out of next week's M-1 Challenge 27 headliner.
In his place steps Maxim Grishin (9-5), who now meets Kenny Garner (7-3) for an interim title.
M-1 Challenge 27 takes place Oct. 14 at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix, and the main card airs on Showtime.
According to M-1 officials, Gugenishvili, who was wrapping up his camp at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, suffered an elbow injury during a Wednesday training session. After meeting with a physician, he wasn't cleared to fight and is expected to be sidelined four to six weeks.
"This is tremendously unfortunate as it is now the second time this has happened," M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan stated. "No one is more disappointed about the change in circumstances than Guram himself. He was absolutely gutted when breaking the news to us. We hope Guram makes a swift recovery so he can return to action as soon as possible."
Garner was supposed to rematch Gugenishvili, who earned a submission win a year ago in their first meeting. Since the loss, Garner has picked up a pair of knockout victories (and owns five KOs in his seven career victories).
UFC 140 tickets on sale next week, fans invited to Wednesday presser in Toronto
Tickets for December's UFC 140 event go on sale next week, and fans are invited to a Wednesday press conference in Toronto to promote the event.
As UFC president Dana White announced this past week, UFC 140 takes place Dec. 10 and features a championship headliner between UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida.
Both the event and presser take place at Toronto's Air Canada Centre.
The latest UFC 140 card includes:
Champ Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida (for light-heavyweight title)
Frank Mir vs. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz
Brian Ebersole vs. Rory MacDonald
Mark Hominick vs. Chan Sung Jung
Mark Bocek vs. Nik Lentz
Igor Pokrajac vs. Krzysztof Soszynski
Rich Attonito vs. Claude Patrick
Dennis Hallman vs. John Makdessi
John Cholish vs. Mitch Clarke
After fearing for career, Josh Koscheck moving to UFC's 'moneyweight' division
After returning from a nine-month layoff on short notice to defeat Matt Hughes at this past month's UFC 135 event, perennial welterweight contender Josh Koscheck (16-5 MMA, 14-5 UFC) is currently awaiting his next assignment.
And while UFC president Dana White has made it clear a coveted spot on November's UFC 139 card isn't going to happen, Koscheck says he'd like to return near the end of the year.
But whether or not that appearance comes at 170 or 185 pounds remains to be seen. Koscheck, a 19-time UFC veteran, said he's got a new perspective on fighting.
"I'm a money fighter," Koscheck told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) during this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011. "I want big fights.
"I'm 33 (years old). I've been fighting for a long time now. I just want big fights. I'll fight anybody at 185 or 170. I don't care. I just want big fights, big names."
Undefeated Mendes predicts Aldo win at UFC 136, wants next crack at champ
Chad Mendes (11-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is excited to watch UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo defend his title against challenger Kenny Florian at Saturday night's UFC 136 event in Houston.
That said, he's not exactly happy about it.
"It's definitely a little frustrating," Mendes admitted to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) at this weekend's UFC Fan Expo Houston 2011.
You see, Mendes was expected to be next in line to face Aldo. After defeating Michihiro Omigawa at this past February's UFC 126 event, Mendes was believed to be the top contender in the division.
It made sense, what with his undefeated record and 5-0 mark in Zuffa-owned promotions. Mendes and Aldo were even penciled in for a contest at this past August's UFC 133 event, but the champ couldn't be ready in time. Mendes elected to stay busy and earned a decision over Rani Yahya, but he was largely panned for the effort.
Mendes admits the criticism was frustrating but thinks much of it was largely undeserved.
"Obviously, I would love to get a finish," Mendes said. "Who wouldn't want to get a finish? To me, that's like the easiest way out. You get in there, you go through whole camp, and then you finish the guy in 30 seconds. You're done. Of course I want to get in there and make it as quick as possible, but we're facing tough guys.
UFC Calendar to Grow to 34 Events in 2012
HOUSTON -- Saturday night's UFC 136 marks the fourth event in four weeks for the Las Vegas-based promotion.
Get used to it.
The schedule continues to grow at an exponential rate, according to UFC president Dana White, who said that the organization has already penciled in dates on its 2012 calendar.
The final tally? Thirty-four events. That's a serious increase from 2011, which will see 27 live events by the time Brock Lesnar and Alistair Overeem close out the UFC's year in Las Vegas on December 30.
Jon Jones Says Rashad Evans Ducked UFC 140 Fight
Did you tell the UFC that since Evans wasn't ready to fight in December that you would rather wait a month or two to fight him so you can finally put this beef behind you?
Well, Dana White basically needed someone to save 140. I didn't necessarily want to fight at 140, but because it was Rashad, I said, 'You know what? I would take the fight in nine weeks.' I'm already in shape. I already know what I want to do. Rashad, predicting that I would say no, he kind of kicked himself in the butt because I said yes, he turns around and says, 'Oh, I didn't expect Jon to say yes. I don't want to fight him that soon.' So in reality, he's kind of the one who's ducking the fight. I feel like he's ducking the fight.
- Jon Jones in an interview
UFC 136's Melvin Guillard promises knockout on undersized Joe Lauzon
Melvin Guillard (29-8-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) is grateful to Joe Lauzon (20-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) for fighting him at UFC 136 because, apparently, the line of willing opponents was pretty short.
"A lot of guys turned down the fight, so I respect Joe," Guillard said. "He's a very dangerous guy, and he's very talented. Does he present any problems for me? Yes, if I allow him to."
The thing is, Guillard is not planning on that. Just like other grappling specialists on his recent resume, he's planning to blast Lauzon into orbit.
About the only way Lauzon is favored in the fight, which takes place Saturday at Houston's Toyota Center and airs live on pay-per-view, is on the mat, where his Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills have earned him five wins in the UFC.
But he's got to get there first, and Guillard has enlisted several parties to make sure that doesn't happen. He's worked with Mike Van Arsdale and Rashad Evans, among others, at Imperial Athletics in Florida. He's worked with "Henry," a Dutch kickboxing specialist brought in by his agent. Then there's the supercamp at Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn's in Albuquerque, N.M. And don't forget his own style of MMA, which currently has no name but counts concussions as its chief technique.
With five consecutive wins on his resume – three of them by KO or TKO – it's hard to find a more intimidating lightweight.
Despite hectic turn, UFC champ Jones insists Evans no distraction for Machida bout
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been on quite the whirlwind adventure in the past 14 days.
After defeating Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Jones was planning to take a little vacation. Then came a challenge from Rashad Evans, which Jones answered. Now, it's Lyoto Machida. No sweat, says "Bones."
"Obviously taking Lyoto on nine weeks has sped up a lot of things, but I feel between every great challenge lies great reward," Jones today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I think I'm on the verge of something amazing happening by beating three champions in one year. I'm honored."
Following his UFC 135 win over Jackson, Jones told anyone who would listen that he was ready for a little time away from the sport after fighting three times in just seven months, as well as both capturing and defending the UFC's light heavyweight title.
Champ Edgar seeks definitive UFC 136 win, ready to put Maynard rivalry behind
When Saturday night's UFC 136 event hits Houston's Toyota Center, it will have been three-and-a-half years since UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) and his nemesis, Gray Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC), first locked horns.
In other words, a little too long thinking about one man, according to Edgar.
"I'm sick of talking about how sick I am of talking about him," Edgar told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I have a loss to him and a draw to him. I want something definitive. I want a definitive win."
The pair's history began innocently enough. Just budding prospects with only 12 fights between them at the time, the two met in April 2008 at "UFC Fight Night 13: Florian vs. Lauzon." Maynard outmuscled Edgar en route to a unanimous-decision win, and the lightweight division simply rolled on, ostensibly taking little notice of the result.
UFC 136's Brian Stann: In 2012, 'I want to fight for a title or be ready for a title'
As in his former life, Brian Stann is always looking for objectives – and how to trample them.
Next, he'd like to put his boot on a middleweight title shot, and Chael Sonnen is the obstacle he must surmount.
"My goal this year was to get into the top 10 (and) solidify myself on the UFC roster," Stann today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "No more being on the bubble or the guy who could be cut. My next goal, now, is to fight for a title."
That's an entirely reachable goal for the former Marine Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC), who on Saturday meets Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) on the main card of UFC 136, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. The middleweight fight airs live on pay-per-view while preliminary action airs on Spike TV and streams live on Facebook.
UFC 136's Lauzon wary of foe's striking but thinks he's bad matchup for Guillard
Gone are the days of true "striker vs. grappler" affairs at the UFC level, and UFC 136's Joe Lauzon (20-6 MMA, 7-3 UFC) is quite aware of that fact.
But his main-card matchup with Melvin Guillard (29-8-2 MMA, 10-4 UFC) appears about close as one can get – see Lauzon's three "Submission of the Night" victories in his past five fights vs. Guillard's seven (out of eight total) career losses via tapout.
So Lauzon's strategy for Saturday night's event at Houston's Toyota Center should be no shocker. The 27-year-old jiu-jitsu specialist said he knows the task won't be easy, but he's willing to go out on his shield making an effort.
"If I can't get the fight down, I'm going out on my shield," Lauzon said. "I'm going to do my best to get the fight to the ground. If I find that I can't get it, I'm going to keep working at it, but I'm going to have to throw punches the entire time.
"The days are gone when you could just shoot on a guy from way out and take him down. Melvin's a great wrestler. He's not going to give up any takedowns. I'm going to have to fight for every single one."
It's not that Lauzon has never faced a striking stud before. In fact, he boasts career contests with Jeremy Stephens, Sam Stout, Jens Pulver and Jorge Masvidal to name but a few. But Guillard represents a special kind of beast, a rare blend of speed and power, and Lauzon knows it will prove a tall order.
'The Ultimate Fighter 14' ratings: Episode No. 3 scores 1.3 million Spike TV viewers
Ratings for the third episode of "The Ultimate Fighter 14" slipped compared to the first two installments.
Overall, episode No. 3 of the Spike TV reality series scored a 1.0 household rating and averaged 1.3 million viewers on Wednesday. The first and second episodes scored 1.5 million and 1.6 million viewers, respectively.
Spike TV officials today emailed the ratings information to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
This season features Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller as coaches. For the first time ever, the show spotlights bantamweight and featherweights fighters. In an elimination round of fights, an initial group of 32 was whittled down to 16, who are now official cast members.
In the third episode, Team Miller's Johnny Bedford defeated Team Bisping's Josh Ferguson via unanimous decision to advance to the semifinal round of the bantamweight division's tournament. Team Miller now leads 2-0.
As with Rolles Gracie, UFC 136's Joey Beltran eager to ruin Stipe Miocic's debut
Joey Beltran admits that if fights were fought on paper, he would have lost them all.
And to look at him, you might agree with that statement. Physically, he's not particularly an impressive character.
In the cage, though, he consistently bucks expectations. And with all the hype surrounding opponent Stipe Miocic's octagon debut, he's interested in proving yet again that he's not what he appears to be.
"I would really like to finish it on my feet and just outbox this guy who gets praise for his great boxing credentials," Beltran today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "On paper, he's supposed to be way better than me. So I think it would be really cool to go in there and knock him out."
Beltran (13-5 MMA,3-2 UFC) meets Miocic (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the preliminary card of UFC 136, which takes place Saturday at Houston's Toyota Center. It's the first of four prelims streaming on Facebook prior to fights on Spike TV and pay-per-view.
Thiago Santos vs. Josh Burns tourney-reserve fight added to Bellator 53
Saturday's Bellator 53 main card has a late addition.
With heavyweight-tournament semifinalist Mike Hayes potentially facing a scratch due to a medical suspension, officials have booked a tourney-reserve bout between Thiago Santos (8-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) and Josh Burns (6-4 MMA, 0-1 BFC).
The winner gets the tourney spot if Hayes isn't cleared to continue.
Bellator 53 takes place at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. The night's main card airs on MTV2 (and in high-definition on EPIX), and the preliminary card streams on Spike.com.
To make room on Saturday's main card, a Darryl Cobb (5-3 MMA, 0-0 BFC) vs. Giva Santana (16-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC) middleweight bout has been demoted to the prelims, Bellator officials today confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). However, the bout gets first dibs on any available TV time if the main-card action ends early.
Rashad Evans 'fully understands' decision to book Jones-Machida UFC 140 headliner
He may not like the decision, but he understands it.
While Rashad Evans was next in line for a shot at UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones' title, he wouldn't be healed in time for a planned UFC 140 main event on Dec. 10.
So he "fully understands" why the UFC instead went with Lyoto Machida for the Toronto event.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported, the UFC initially wanted to put Jones vs. Evans in the UFC 140 main-event slot. But once Evans wasn't cleared to fight, the UFC had to look to Machida, who was one of the few top-level light heavyweights who was both healthy and not already booked for a fight.
Evans (16-1-1 MMA, 11-1-1 UFC), of course, sat out most of 2010 waiting for a title shot with injured Mauricio "Shogun" Rua. But a planned March bout was scratched when Evans suffered his own knee injury, and Jones got the fight and took the title instead.
Evans' bout with the newly crowned Jones then was delayed due to the champ's uncertain timetable for his recovery from a hand injury. Evans instead fought and defeated Tito Ortiz, and the UFC 133 bout left him with a lingering injury. Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) instead fought and defeated Quinton Jackson, and he now meets Machida (17-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC).
Paul Daley to train with champ GSP, wants Nick Diaz rematch in UFC
It's been longer than you think since Paul Daley (28-11-2) was dismissed from the UFC following his post-fight incident with Josh Koscheck at UFC 113.
His post-fight "swipe" at Koscheck was 16 months ago, and a lot has happened since then.
Daley has fought for four different promotions (soon to be five), posted mixed results, and tried to maintain an acceptable level of decorum in the hopes of one day returning to the world's top MMA promotion.
"If (UFC Chairman and CEO) Lorenzo (Fertitta) came to me and said, 'What you did we can look past that. Would you like to come back to the UFC?' I just want everyone to be clear that yeah, I've got nothing personal against the UFC, and I do think they are a great organization," Daley told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Technically, Daley has had ties to the UFC again since the organization purchased Strikeforce in March. He became property of Forza LLC (the subsidiary of UFC parent company Zuffa LLC), which was created to house the acquired Strikeforce assets.
No weighty concerns as champ Jose Aldo readies for UFC 136
For a guy hoping to defend his 145-pound championship, UFC 136 co-headliner Jose Aldo finds himself answering a lot of questions about 155 pounds.
Will the champ eventually move to the heavier weight class? Would he want to hold both belts? Will tough weight cuts essentially force a move to lightweight?
Aldo politely answers each question, but his focus remains solely on Saturday's featherweight title challenger, Kenny Florian.
Aldo (19-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Florian (15-5 MMA, 12-4 UFC) clash at Saturday's UFC 136 event, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. As with the headlining title fight between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, Aldo vs. Florian is part of the pay-per-view main card.
For Aldo, it's his first fight since a win over Mark Hominick at UFC 129. Despite a "Fight of the Night" performance, a fading Aldo gave away some later rounds and settled for a decision victory. A video recently came out showing him enduring a brutal weight cut prior to the fight, and he admittedly entered the cage at less than 100 percent.
"In the last fight, I had some inflammations," he today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) through a translator. "But as we all saw, that didn't stop me. I went the full five rounds nonstop, and this fight, I'm completely healthy and one-thousand percent.
"It was a good fight. I was able to impose my game and everything worked out great."
King Mo: I'm gonna put Rampage's b---- ass on the B-team
Rampage has seen a fair share of beef in his twelve-year-long career. If these fighting words from King Mo are anything to go by, a slow-boiling feud could well boil over into one last rivalry:
"Rampage can talk all that noise, but I'm gonna take his spot," said Lawall. "I'm gonna put his bitch ass on the B-Team!
"His punk ass wants to say I won't stand up and box him. I will box him with the little gloves on. I'll box him.
"The thing is, I can take him down. He can't stop my takedowns, you know what I'm saying? Trust me. But I can make it interesting and embarrass him at his own game and stand with him."
Now that Zuffa has purchased Strikeforce, and are slowly stripping away the top fighters from the former number two promoption, King Mo could very well be set for a February 2012 date with Rampage, when the UFC makes its long awaited return to Japan.
UFC 140 headliner features champ Jon Jones vs. Lyoto Machida
UFC light-heavyweight champion Jon Jones (14-1 MMA, 8-1 UFC) will fight in UFC 140's headliner, but it won't be against Rashad Evans (16-1-1 MMA, 11-1-1 UFC).
Injuries have cost Evans another promised title shot, and ex-champ Lyoto Machida (17-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has taken his spot in the December title fight.
UFC president Dana White today announced the news via Twitter.
The new newly announced main event comes a day after news of a potential Jones vs. Evans UFC 140 headliner. A source told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and other outlets that the fight was being targeted for the Toronto show. However, White ultimately told MMAjunkie.com that wouldn't be the case.
UFC 140 takes place Dec. 10 at