After fight-camp isolation, UFC 139's 'Shogun' gets long-awaited Henderson fight
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua knew a meeting with Dan Henderson was inevitable.
It's just taking place in a different organization, on a different continent, in a different fighting apparatus and with slightly different stakes.
Sure, Rua (20-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) and Henderson (28-8 MMA, 4-2 UFC) aren't fighting for a PRIDE title, but Saturday's UFC 139 event will do just fine, he said.
When Henderson added the PRIDE middleweight (205-pound) championship to his trophy case in 2007, Rua figured he'd get first crack at the two-division champ. But PRIDE collapsed months later, and Rua and Henderson went on separate paths once they were brought into the UFC.
Rua has waited nearly five years for the long-awaited fight, but in the headliner of Saturday's UFC 139 pay-per-view event at San Jose, Calif.' HP Pavilion, it finally comes to fruition.
Fans get to vote for Bellator 58's fourth televised fight, three fights available
While initially concerned that Saturday's Bellator 58 broadcast wouldn't have time for a fourth bout, Bellator officials have changed their tune.
In fact, they're letting fans vote and decide which bout will take the final spot on the night's MTV2/EPIX broadcast.
You can choose from middleweights Brett Cooper (15-7 MMA, 2-2 BFC) vs. Jared Hess (11-3-1 MMA, 4-3 BFC), 115-pounders Jessica Aguilar (11-4 MMA, 2-1 BFC) vs. Lisa Ellis-Ward (14-6 MMA, 2-1 BFC), or bantamweights Farkhad Sharipov (13-4 MMA, 1-1 BFC) vs. Fabio Mello (8-6 MMA, 1-0 BFC).
Whichever fight gets the most votes on Bellator CEO and Chairman Bjorn Rebney's Twitter account (@BjornRebney) will be pulled from the Spike.com prelims and promoted to the televised main card, which airs from Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Bellator officials told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) voting concludes on Friday at noon ET (9 a.m. PT), and the winning bout will be revealed later in the day at official Bellator 58 fighter weigh-ins. The festivities stream live on MMAjunkie.coma at 5 p.m. ET.
UFC 139's Brian Bowles ready to steal 'cool guy' Urijah Faber's thunder
Former WEC bantamweight champ Brian Bowles sounds like he's headed to a high-school P.E. class rather than a professional, no-quarter-given cage fight.
"Some people are going to be popular, and some people aren't," Bowles (10-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) said today in advance of his meeting with Urijah Faber (25-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC 139 event, which takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. His fight is part of a main card that airs live on pay-per-view.
In four years under the big lights, Bowles has struggled to find an audience. Now, it sounds a little like he's giving up looking.
Really, he sounds like the A/V kid who's last picked for teams, plays Risk in the cafeteria with a handful of fellow dorks, and is lucky to snag a girl for prom, much less a girlfriend for four years. And, of course, on the other side of the cafeteria is Faber, surrounded by alpha males and cheerleaders alike, aloof with the constant attention and praise that come so naturally. The guy for whom everything seems so effortless.
"You don't know why he's cool, but he is," Bowles said. "I happen to not have it. Some people have it. Faber has it. It is what it is."
UFC newcomer Ednaldo Oliveira to make promotional debut at UFC 142
Ednaldo Oliveira (13-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is UFC bound.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with event sources that the undefeated UFC newcomer has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC and will make his promotional debut at UFC 142 in January.
No opponent has been determined for the heavyweight fighter, who is one of current champ Junior Dos Santos' training partners.
UFC 142 takes place Jan. 14 at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena.
The latest UFC 142 card now includes:
Champ Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes (for featherweight title)
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson
Sam Stout vs. Thiago Tavares
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Fabio Maldonado vs. Stanislav Nedkov
Mike Massenzio vs. Rousimar Palhares
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Erick Silva
Ednaldo Oliveira vs. TBA*
* - Not officially announced
UFC 139's Cung Le considered retirement before Zuffa bought Strikeforce
Cung Le has other things going on in his life.
He is a fighter first, of course. But he is also a successful actor that's growing more successful by the year.
When he avenged his sole MMA loss to Scott Smith in June 2010 under the Strikeforce banner, he thought he might hang it up. But when Strikeforce was purchased by UFC parent company Zuffa LLC, his plans changed.
"There was more of an opportunity for me to fight in the UFC than there had been," Le said today.
As most fighters do, Le harbored a desire to one day fight in the octagon. But while he was under the Strikeforce banner, that wasn't possible. Under separate ownership, the promotions weren't exactly on friendly terms.
Le instead became a huge star in the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion, which was led by Scott Coker. The two had worked together since 1998, when Strikeforce was a kickboxing promotion, and then when it segued into MMA in 2006.
In four years of fighting MMA, Le fought on some of the most successful Strikeforce cards to date and became one of the biggest stars outside of the UFC. It was during his heyday with the promotion that his career exploded as a movie actor. Starring roles in mainstream flicks such as "Fighting," "Pandorum" and "Tekken" made him a hot commodity in Hollywood, and soon, acting gigs were overtaking those involving his fists.
Le, though, said he is always a fighter.
UFC on FOX peaks with 8.8 million viewers for Velasquez-Dos Santos title fight
MMA has a new most-watched fight in U.S. television history.
This past weekend's UFC on FOX headliner between Cain Velasquez and new champ Junior Dos Santos peaked with a solid 8.8 million viewers on the FOX network, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with industry sources.
Within three minutes of the bout's conclusion, the audience dwindled to 5.9 million viewers. Overall, the event averaged 5.7 million viewers.
UFC on FOX took place this past Saturday, Nov. 12, at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. While the UFC's landmark seven-year deal with FOX doesn't begin officially until 2012, the Nov. 12 event served as a "teaser" show. Only the main event aired on the one-hour FOX broadcast, and the entire undercard streamed on Facebook and FOXSports.com.
Well-traveled UFC 139 headliner Dan Henderson plans to wrap career in UFC
On the eve of his third stint in the UFC, Dan Henderson considers himself a pretty lucky guy.
There are those who leave the promotion for what they believe are greener pastures and are never seen again inside the octagon.
Henderson, though, managed to leave the UFC on a high and return the same way – and in no small part because he continued to compete and win at a high level.
Now, he believes he'll close out his career in the industry-leading promotion, and as he said in advance of this weekend's UFC 139 event, there's a nice sense of closure in returning for what could be one last time.
"It's pretty much just plain business, but it does feel good to realize that this is probably where I'm going to end up," he said. "So I'm excited about it, and the fact that they got a pretty big FOX deal is even more exciting to me, as well."
Bellator 58 adds Sandro vs. Dias to main card, prelims fill out
The fight card for this weekend's Bellator 58 event is official with nine fights, including three that air as part of MTV2/EPIX's main card.
Joining previously announced fights on the main card is a featherweight contest between Marlon Sandro (19-3 MMA, 2-1 BFC) and Rafael Dias (15-8-2 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
The prelims, which stream on Spike.com, feature a host of notables.
Bellator 58 takes place this Saturday at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Because of a headlining five-round title fight between lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez and Michael Chandler, the night's televised main card will feature just three fights instead of the usual four, officials confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). However, as time permits, additional bouts will be shown either via delay or in highlights form.
The full Bellator 58 card includes:
MAIN CARD (MTV2)
Champ Eddie Alvarez vs. Michael Chandler (for lightweight title)
Champ Hector Lombard vs. Trevor Prangley (non-title, 195-pound contest)
Rafael Dias vs. Marlon Sandro
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike.com)
Jessica Aguilar vs. Lisa Ellis-Ward
Brett Cooper vs. Jared Hess
Valdir Araujo vs. Ailton Barbosa
Cosmo Alexander vs. Avery McPhatter
Jonas Billstein vs. Herbert "Whisper" Goodman
Fabio Mello vs. Farkhad Sharipov
FX airs first UFC event in January with Neer vs. Ludwig, Barry vs. Morecraft
The first official UFC-FOX event takes place in January (exact date TBA) when the organization makes its debut on FX.
Officials today announced the event, though its name and venue weren't revealed.
Two fights are official for the card: welterweights Josh Neer (32-10-1 MMA, 5-6 UFC) vs. Duane "Bang" Ludwig (22-11 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and heavyweights Pat Barry (6-4 MMA, 3-4 UFC) vs. Christian Morecraft (7-2 MMA, 1-2 UFC).
Additional event details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Spike TV to premiere 'MMA Junkie Live' news-magazine show in 2012
Spike TV will debut its first-ever primetime mixed-martial-arts news magazine show, "MMA Junkie Live," in January 2012, it was announced today by Jon Slusser, senior vice president, sports and multi-platform programming, Spike TV.
Broadcast live from the iconic MTV Studios in Times Square, the heart of New York City, this half-hour, multi-platform show will feature a look ahead at the weekend’s big mixed-martial-arts fights, and a look back at the action from recent bouts.
Partnering with the award-winning MMA news website, MMAjunkie.com (part of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group), the half-hour show will be hosted by an all-star team of MMA experts and journalists who will engage in discussion and debate regarding the latest news from the sport.
"MMA Junkie Live" will also feature live in-studio interviews with many of the world’s top fighters, in-depth features, action-packed highlights, as well as viewer interaction via Twitter, Facebook and other social-media channels.
M-1 Global says Bellator signee Vasilevsky still under contract, threatens legal action
M-1 Global to Bellator: not so fast.
The Russia-based promotion on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that a recent Bellator talent acquisition, Vyacheslav Vasilevsky (15-1 MMA, 0-0 BFC), is still under exclusive contract with M-1 until February 2013.
"We were exceedingly surprised at [Tuesday's] announcement and disappointed at the lack of background work done by Bellator in this matter," wrote M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan in a statement.
Kogan said Vasilevsky was expected to fight UFC vet Mario Miranda at an M-1 Challenge event scheduled for Saturday in Ufa, Russia, but Vasilevsky withdrew from the bout citing a lingering hand injury. He alleges Vasilevsky's manager told Bellator officials the fighter was free and clear.
"We are currently working on resolving the situation with our legal counsel and will make sure that not only will Vyacheslav be appropriately handled but that this situation does not arise again," Kogan said.
Nam Phan vs. Jim Hettes slated for year-end UFC 141 event
Nam Phan (17-9 MMA, 1-2 UFC) will fight for the third time in fewer than five months when he takes on fellow featherweight Jim Hettes (9-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 141.
Verbal agreements are in place for the fight, according to UFC officials.
Featuring a heavyweight headliner between former UFC champ Brock Lesnar and recent Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem, UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The main card of the Friday-night event airs on pay-per-view, though Phan vs. Hettes likely will be part of the preliminary card.
Phan, a cast member on "The Ultimate Fighter 12," likely saved his UFC job with a unanimous-decision victory Leonard Garcia at UFC 136. The victory served as redemption after a December 2010 split-decision loss to Garcia, a decision widely panned by MMA fans. The questionable defeat was part of an overall 1-4 skid for the Strikeforce and World Victory Road vet.
Peralta camp unenthusiastic about rematch
On the UFC on FOX 1 prelim card, Robert Peralta landed a combination on Mackens Semerzier, sending him to the canvas, and into his fifth loss in eleven fights. However, instant replay revealed that the combination included a head butt, one referee John McCarthy did not see.
Brian Butler-Au of SuckerPunch Entertainment has filed an appeal with the California State Athletic Commission.
Semerzier took the high road saying "I don't blame it on the referee. That stuff happens so fast. You have to see it on video to know what really happened. Once the video's played, everyone could see."
In addition to being understanding, Semerzier rightly wants a rematch.
Palhares vs. Massenzio at UFC 142 in Rio
The UFC announced Tuesday that UFC 142 will feature Brazilian Rousimar Palhares vs. Mike Massenzio atmiddleweight.
Known for his devastating leglocks, Palhares has won five of his last six. Following a technical knockout defeat at the hands of Nate Marquardt in September 2010, Palhares has won back-to-back bouts, submitting Dave Branch with a heel hook in March before outpointing Dan Miller at UFC 134.
Bas Rutten slaps a verbal "hold 'til cold" on Alistair Overeem
Paul Lazenby recently caught up with Bas Rutten and asked him about Alistair Overeem, who recently split with Team Golden Glory.
There is no one in MMA with more colorful stories than Bas. For example, when he was a bouncer in Holland someone did something really bad at the door, so he choked them out, and then heel hooked each leg.
In this interview, Bas does the verbal equivalent to Overeem.
Oh no, you didn't go there! (laughs) I thought that if nobody asks, I won't say anything, but now that you ask me I have to! It's been bothering me a lot! OK, here I go.
It's a money thing. He simply doesn't want to pay the people who made him. When he lost three fights in a row...well, like pretty much five, I mean, he lost, won, lost three times in a row, won, and lost again...and nobody wanted to have him.
But his management kept pushing and using the power that they have because they have other great fighters. Like, for example: "If you want Semmy Schilt to fight, then you have to take Alistair as well."
It's funny how fighters think. When it goes bad with them, their team is everything to them, and they love their team. In interviews after they win a fight, they say: "I owe everything to my team". Then when the management starts to put great fights together for them, directing their careers and the fighter gets better and better, some of them simply can't handle it, and it gets to their head.
I had a bad feeling already when he called himself, after he won the K-1 Grand Prix, a "legend". He actually said in an interview right after he won: "I am a legend now". I don't think a fighter can ever make that comment about himself.
And talking about the Grand Prix, let's face it, he had a great deal of luck as well there. He fought Peter Aerts who had a WAR with Semmy Schilt [previously that night] and was completely banged up, and then he fought [Gokhan] Saki, who had a broken arm AND hand, in the finals! At that moment when you win, you should say: "I'm very happy with the result, the stars were in line for me tonight, I also got a little bit of luck". Because everybody is going to say that about you anyway, you might as well simply say it yourself to keep the people respecting you, but NOT: "I'm a legend".
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon Set for UFC 144 In Japan
A lightweight meeting pitting Anthony Pettis and Joe Lauzon has been agreed to for UFC 144 in Japan, MMA Fighting has learned.
The UFC confirmed the matchup to MMA Fighting's Ben Fowlkes on Tuesday.
The matchup had previously been rumored, with a possible date in Las Vegas. Instead, it will go international.
Bendo's Oral Fixation
Kenny Florian during the Fuel Postfight:
I actually brought Benson Henderson out to help me prepare for Clay Guida when I was about to fight him... you saw Benson, he had a toothpick in his mouth... he actually trains with a toothpick in his mouth. We were rolling and we probably trained, sparred for about 45 minutes to an hour, and he took a toothpick out of his mouth, I'm like 'what are you doing?' He had the toothpick in the whole time we were sparring. He may have even fought with it, who knows.
Erik Koch vs. Dustin Poirier added to February's UFC 143 event
Two exciting featherweight prospects are set to clash at UFC 143.
Officials today announced that Erik Koch and Dustin Poirer have been inked to meet at the Super Bowl weekend event, which takes place Feb. 4 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and airs live on pay-per-view.
Poirer requested the fight after very recent win. Both fighters are undefeated inside the octagon.
Okami vs. Boestch scheduled for UFC 144 in Japan
Japanese middleweight contender Yushin Okami (26-6 MMA, 10-3 UFC) will finally get a home game.
UFC executives today announced that the recent title challenger faces Tim Boetsch (14-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) at UFC 144.
Featuring a lightweight title contest between current champ Frankie Edgar and top contender Ben Henderson, UFC 144 takes place Feb. 26 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
UFC files suit in New York, seeks to overturn regulation ban
Take notice New York; the Ultimate Fighting Championship isn't going away without a fight.
UFC officials today announced they have filed a lawsuit against New York State officials "challenging the constitutionality of the state law banning live professional MMA events and associated activities."
Along with a group of plaintiffs that includes fighters, fans and trainers, UFC executives hope to overturn the state's current ban on MMA, citing several constitutional violations.