Maximo Blanco: Made in Japan
The situation at Nihon University eventually improved as Blanco learned the customs and moved up the seniority ladder, though he still does not regard that time as one of vast social growth. More than anything, it proved to be an investment period for his future prizefighting career. He went on to win international championships in freestyle wrestling in his home country of Venezuela, China and Azerbaijan before taking a bronze medal in the 2007 Pan American Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Even though his goal at the time was to earn a berth in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Blanco’s eyes were fixed on mixed martial arts.
Like many Japanese fighters of his generation -- Katsunori Kikuno, Yoshiro Maeda and Satoru Kitaoka, to name a few -- “Maxi” was inspired to become a mixed martial artist after watching the monumental Tokyo Dome event, Colosseum 2000, which pitted Masakatsu Funaki against Rickson Gracie. With a solid high school and college wrestling career and impressive tournament showings throughout his amateur career, Blanco’s viability in the sport was unquestionable. His original trajectory, as devised by his high school coach, Akutsu, and his wrestling contacts, was to roll into a sponsored spot in Pride Fighting Championships after his participation in the 2008 Olympics. As history will attest, though, it did not exactly turn out as planned.
Jon Fitch Not Happy With B.J. Penn
Yesterday we told you about B.J. Penn's comments regarding a possible rematch with Jon Fitch. BJ claimed that Joe Silva didn't want to book the fight due to lack of fan interest. Right after that, he spoke to Carlos Condit via twitter and agreed to fight him. Clearly, Mr. Fitch isn't too happy about the situation
Fedor Emelianenko Trains with Brother Aleksander for Bout With Dan Henderson
It appears that Fedor Emelianenko and his brother Aleksander Emelianenko are working together again to prepare Fedor for his July 30th bout with Dan Henderson at the appropriately named Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. Aleksander was a member of the Red Devil Sport Club for many years along with his brother, but left in 2009. The article here is in Croatian, and was translated by Marko Petrak of Fightsite.hr:
Fedor Emelianenko is doing his final preparations for his bout with Dan Handerson in small Rusian town called Kislodovsk. It's situated between the Black and Caspian Seas. He recently made up with his brother Alexander after long period that this two haven't even spoken to each other. Since he lost his two last fights, Fedor decided to change lot of things in his life, and he decided to start training with his brother Alexander again - like they did in their prime.
Penn, Condit Agree to October Welterweight Showdown
Former champions B.J. Penn and Carlos Condit will likely square off in a welterweight scrap this fall.
After both fighters referenced the proposed matchup Monday on Twitter, Sherdog.com confirmed with a source close to the bout that Penn and Condit have been tentatively scheduled to meet in October.
Sources Refute Lombard's Claim That Marquardt Turned Down Bellator Title Shot
With his suspension likely to end any day now, Nate Marquardt is the biggest name in MMA's free agent market. One possible landing spot could be Bellator Fighting Championships, where middleweight champion Hector Lombard has repeatedly pleaded for a fight with Marquardt.
Officially, the company will not comment on any interest in Marquardt just yet, but in a recent interview with Sherdog, Lombard claimed that Marquardt was offered an immediate title match against him and declined.
Dan Henderson talks using TRT since 2007
Testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) has become a hot topic in mixed martial arts during the last 12 months. Often overlooked in the discussion is Dan Henderson, who’s been using the treatment for more than four years. Henderson was the first athlete to ever receive a therapeutic exemption for TRT in Nevada, prior to a fight against Wanderlei Silva in 2007.
“My levels were so low they were off the charts,” Henderson told ESPN.com. “I was always tired and getting sick a lot.
“I couldn’t even tell you [how to abuse it]. I’ve never gone above normal ranges. All I know is that I’m not as tired and I don’t get as sick as I used to.”
Bahadurzada beefing with Bisping, itching for chance to impress U.S. audience
After fighting around the globe for the past nine years, Team Golden Glory's Siyar Bahadurzada (20-4-1) is ready to take his talents to the U.S.
That migration has already begun, as the Afghanistan native is serving as a striking coach for Team Jason "Mayhem" Miller on the 14th season of "The Ultimate Fighter."
With any luck, Bahadurzada said he hopes to land a contract with either the UFC or Strikeforce sometime in the near future. And when that happens, "The Killer" promises ample violence in the cage.
"I don't promise a lot of things to people or whoever, but the one thing I promise the fight fans here in the U.S. is that I will knock so many people out that you will never forget my name," Bahadurzada on Monday told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio).
Currently based in the Netherlands, Bahadurzada has been fighting professionally since 2002. However, a recent transition to the welterweight division that includes an Ultimate Glory World Series title has forced many MMA pundits to take notice of the aggressive brawler. Bahadurzada's strike-first mentality and trademark aggression make him the type of fighter fans clamor to see, and some are saying it's time for those talents to be on display in North America.
"My game is grappling, but I don't like to grapple during a fight," Bahadurzada said. "I just like to make it messy and violent and just knock people out. I just want to knock people out and give people their money's worth."
UFN 25's Shields says he "doesn't even know" who Ellenberger is
UFC welterweight contender Jake Shields knows all about disappointment.
Shields lost a unanimous decision to UFC welterweight champion this past April, and he said he regrets several aspects of his performance in what he admits was an "overwhelming" experience.
Now Shields must face a tough Jake Ellenberger, who has spent months calling out his UFC Fight Night 25 foe. However, Shields said he hasn't taken any of the trashtalk to heart. After all, Shields insists, he really doesn't even know who Ellenberger is.
Donald Cerrone vs. Charles Oliveira promoted to main card at UFC on Versus 5
An intriguing lightweight contest between high-energy fighters Donald Cerrone (15-3 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and Charles Oliveira (14-1 UFC, 2-1 UFC) has been promoted to the Versus-televised main card of UFC on Versus 5.
UFC officials announced the change late Monday night.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed with sources close to the event that a middleweight contest between C.B. Dollaway and Jared Hamman is likely to be relegated to the preliminary card in favor of the new fight.
Lombard Pleads for Marquardt Matchup.
Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard has wasted little time in requesting a fight against Nate Marquardt.
The UFC released Marquardt, a former title challenger, after he was not cleared to fight at UFC Live 4 on June 26 due to elevated testosterone levels. Bellator is reportedly interested in signing him.
Todd Duffee out of Saturday's "DREAM: Japan GP Final" with injury
An undisclosed injury has forced ex-UFC heavyweight Todd Duffee (6-2 MMA, 0-1 DREAM) to withdraw from this weekend's "DREAM: Japan GP Final" event.
A source close to the event today confirmed the news with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after ESPN.com's initial report.
Nick Gaston (5-1 MMA, 0-0 DREAM), Duffee's originally scheduled opponent, also has been scratched from the card due to the late-notice change.
"DREAM: Japan GP Final" takes place this Saturday, July 16, at Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. No North American broadcast plans have been announced for the event (officially dubbed "Fight for Japan: DREAM Japan GP Final – 2011 Bantamweight Japan Tournament Final").
Social Networking Pays Off: Carlos Condit vs. B.J. Penn in the Works for UFC Event in October
It appears Carlos Condit and B.J. Penn are on a collision course for a bout in October.
The power of social networking was at work on Monday with messages being exchanged back and forth between Condit, Penn and fellow top ten welterweight Jon Fitch.
When it was all said and done Condit issued a challenge to Penn, and he promptly accepted and now the UFC is on board as well.
“The people have spoken,” wrote Condit in a message to Penn. “They want to see us scrap, let’s give em’ what they asked for.”
UFC title hopeful Gray Maynard cleared for training, UFC 136 return possible
Gray Maynard can now resume his quest for gold.
The UFC lightweight contender today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that his doctor has given him the green light to resume training.
"I've been cleared," said Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC), who mentioned October's UFC 136 event as a possible return date.
The Las Vegas-based lightweight injured his knee in preparation for a highly anticipated rematch with lightweight champ Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) at UFC 130. The injury came to light after Edgar withdrew from the bout with a back injury, which delayed the meeting until further notice.
For the record.... THANK GOD
Ken Stone vs. Donny Walker added to UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans
Bantamweights Ken Stone and Donny Walker will meet in New Orleans.
UFC officials today announced the addition to September's UFC Fight Night 25 event.
Featuring a welterweight matchup between Jake Shields and Jake Ellenberger, "UFC Fight Night 25: Shields vs. Ellenberger" takes place Sept. 17 at New Orleans' Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.
Welterweight John Howard Released from the UFC Following Loss at UFC on Versus 4
John Howard is the latest casualty from recent losses in the UFC as the Massachusetts’ fighter has been released from the promotion.
Howard’s manager Malki Kawa of First Round Management confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Monday.
Going 4-3 during his time with the UFC, Howard has been an exciting fighter with true fire power in his hands, picking up wins over names like Dennis Hallman and Daniel Roberts along the way.
Dan Henderson Hopes to Defend Strikeforce Belt, Eventually Meet UFC Champion
Dan Henderson has a knack for big performances at contract time: In 2007, he knocked out Wanderlei Silva at Pride 33, becoming a two-division champion and positioning himself to get a lucrative deal when the UFC purchased Pride. Two years ago, he knocked out Michael Bisping at UFC 100, scoring the biggest highlight on the UFC's biggest stage and positioning himself to get a lucrative deal when Strikeforce decided to bid for his services.
And now Henderson is preparing to fight Fedor Emelianenko in the final fight of his Strikeforce contract -- a fight that could position Henderson to negotiate a new deal with Strikeforce's new parent company Zuffa, owners of the UFC. But while a win over Emelianenko could launch Henderson directly into a UFC pay-per-view main event, Henderson says his preference is to stick with Strikeforce.