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
Despite losing skid, UFC 136's Mike Massenzio out to prove he's UFC caliber
In his heart, Mike Massenzio knows Saturday's UFC 136 bout could be his final opportunity in the octagon.
But in his heart, he also knows that he belongs in the world's top MMA organization, and against former WEC champion Steve Cantwell, he's determined to prove it.
With three consecutive losses in the UFC, Massenzio's UFC career is hanging by a thread. But the same goes for Cantwell.
"It's been up and down for me a bit," Massenzio recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "But I really, truly feel in my heart that this is where I belong, and I'm just going to go after it and give it everything I have."
Massenzio (12-5 MMA, 1-3 UFC) returns to the middleweight division for the bout, and he and Cantwell (7-4 MMA, 1-3 UFC) lead off Saturday's 11-fight lineup 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.
After comeback fight failed, UFC 136's Jorge Santiago ready to show the real him
Jorge Santiago quickly realized he'd messed up in his return to the octagon.
"It took me like a half-hour," he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "Soon as I left the ring, I was like, '[Expletive].' That wasn't me."
Santiago's thoughts came in the late hours of May 30 as the main card of UFC 130 got into full swing. He had fallen to Brian Stann's punches in the second round, which deflated a wave of hype that brought him back to the UFC after a five-year absence.
The following weekend, Santiago was back at the gym training. He wanted to get back in the cage as soon as possible.
"I asked my manager (to) get me a fight," he said. "I know I can fight the way I used to fight, and I want to prove that I can do it."
Spike TV's UFC 139 'UFC Prelims' special gets Bader-Brilz, Lawlor-Weidman
Two fights have been chosen for UFC 139's "UFC Prelims" special.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported, the Nov. 19 event will get a one-hour Spike TV special prior to the night's pay-per-view main card.
Now, the fights have been chosen for the cable broadcast: light heavyweights Ryan Bader (12-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) vs. Jason Brilz (18-4-1 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and middleweights Tom Lawlor (7-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) vs. Chris Weidman (6-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
UFC 139 takes place at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. The night's main event pits recent Strikeforce champ Dan Henderson vs. ex-UFC champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua in a five-round non-title fight.
Chael Sonnen: Tell Anderson Silva I will pat his wife on the ass and have her make me a steak
I get the feeling Chael Sonnen really wants to fight Anderson Silva (again).
That could explain his obsession with calling out the reigning 185-pound champion, who survived four-and-a-half rounds of abuse before submitting Sonnen with a triangle choke at UFC 117 back in August 2010.
The mouthy middleweight mudslinger was a recent guest on The MMA Show and told host Mauro Ranallo (via Middle Easy) to relay a message to "The Spider," which sounded more like the threat of home invasion, but let's not argue about semantics.
"You tell Anderson Silva I'm coming over and I'm kicking down his backdoor and patting his little lady on the ass and I'm telling her to make me a steak, medium-rare just how I like it."
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 6 (Brian "Bad Boy" Ebersole)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Brian Ebersole is a veteran mixed martial artist, who after years on the other circuits, has finally found his way to the UFC. He is 2-0 in the Octagon and is coming off two impressive performances against Chris Lytle and Dennis Hallman. Brian recently sat down to answer some questions from MMAPlayground.
* * * * *
MMAPG: First of all, thanks for taking time to answer some questions. I’m sure your schedule must be hectic. Also, we’d like to congratulate you on your win against Dennis Hallman in August. How are you feeling since that win?
EBERSOLE: I came out healthy, so I'm very pleased. A quick return to the Octagon (3-6 weeks later) would have been possible, but as it stands, I've had to wait quite a while. So now, I'm feeling fat because dieting proper for that long is just not in my nature.
MMAPG: You’ve been around the sport for quite some time now. How and when did you start getting involved in mixed martial arts? Was there something in particular that piqued your interest?
EBERSOLE: Can I point you to previous interviews? Teasing.... I saw UFC 1, like most teenagers in 1993. I had my first submission grappling experience at 15 years old and continued ever since. I was a wrestler, so it appealed and was a simple/natural extension of thought/technique/goals/rules from what I'd always done.
Alex Caceres drops to bantamweight, fights Cole Escovedo at UFC on FOX 1
Since featherweight apparently wasn't the answer, "Bruce Leroy" is going to give bantamweight a go.
UFC officials today announced that "The Ultimate Fighter 12" cast member Alex Caceres (5-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) will get a third chance at a first octagon win, as "Bruce Leroy" drops to 135 pounds to face Cole Escovedo (17-8 MMA, 0-2 UFC), who is also winless in two UFC appearances.
The pair now meets at UFC on FOX 1.
Featuring a heavyweight title fight between current champion Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos, UFC on FOX 1 takes place Nov. 12 in Anaheim, Calif. The evening's main event airs on FOX, but broadcast plans for the preliminary card have yet to be determined.
"Both bantamweights had non-stop action fights in their last outings and are sure to do the same Nov. 12," UFC president Dana White stated.
Caceres competed on "TUF 12" as a lightweight but was eliminated in the semifinals by eventual runner-up Michael Johnson. Caceres then dropped to 145 pounds for his official UFC debut, which came in a submission loss to Mackens Semerzier at UFC Fight Night 24.
UFC 136's Jeremy Stephens on Anthony Pettis: 'I'm going to destroy him'
Here at MMAjunkie.com, we largely avoid the typical pre-fight banter and promises of destruction when it comes to headlines and story intros.
But with Jeremy Stephens, an ultra-confident lightweight who meets Anthony Pettis at Saturday's UFC 136 event, it's not so much trash-talk as statements of fact.
As far as Stephens is concerned, he's not threatening anything. He's just telling you how Saturday plays out: He's going to hunt down Pettis, work the body, hit the chin, and "destroy him."
Stephens (20-6 MMA, 7-5 UFC), of course, meets Pettis (13-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) in a featured UFC 136 preliminary-card bout. The event takes place at Houston's Toyota Center, and Stephens vs. Pettis is one of two bouts airing on Spike TV prior to the night's pay-per-view main card.
Since its announcement, Stephens vs. Pettis has been pegged as an early "Fight of the Night" candidate. Stephens, though, thinks it's going to be a lot more one-sided than most predict.
"I thought stylistically this was a great matchup for me," he today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I don't think he's really going to stand in front of me. I don't think he likes to get hit. I think he's going to be on his horse a little bit."
UFC Targeting Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans for UFC 140 Main Event
HOUSTON -- Get ready for the grudge match.
The UFC is targeting December's UFC 140 for the long-awaited Jon Jones vs. Rashad Evans light-heavyweight title bout, MMA Fighting has learned from sources with knowledge of the situation.
The fight is not yet official, but appears likely to be announced within the next 24-48 hours. UFC president Dana White told MMA Fighting that he could not yet announce a UFC 140 main event, but might possibly be able to do so by the end of the day.
Before that can happen, at least one hurdle must be overcome. Evans has to be cleared from a hand injury suffered in his recent UFC 133 win over Tito Ortiz. That injury required pins to be inserted into his hands, but Evans' coach Mike Van Arsdale told MMA Fighting that he was scheduled to visit the doctor on Wednesday and expected Evans to be cleared.
Van Arsdale told MMA Fighting he had no knowledge of the rumored December date, but said a clean bill of health would make Evans' participation in a Dec. 10 fight feasible.
Sonnen-Stann winner not guaranteed UFC title shot, Henderson could make bid with win
While this weekend's UFC 136 event is headlined by a pair of title fights, the middleweight contest between Chael Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Brian Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) is also rife with championship implications.
However, the winner won't necessarily book a future date with 185-pound kingpin Anderson Silva (31-4 MMA, 14-0 UFC).
Recent Strikeforce import Dan Henderson (28-8 MMA, 5-2 UFC) meets Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (20-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) in November, and UFC president Dana White said a win could rush him to the front of the line.
"Should Dan win, he's definitely one of the guys that could go take that fight," White said today following a UFC 136 pre-event press conference.
The move would seem a slight departure from White's August claims that the winner of the Sonnen-Stann matchup "should be" in line to meet Silva. But White said that his position hasn't necessarily changed. There are just more options available with Henderson's arrival.
"I'm not even thinking about [Silva's next opponent] yet," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "We'll figure it out after. But I still feel that way."
UFC prez on Strikeforce champ Melendez: "If I have to yank him over here, I'll do it"
There have been strong indications that Gilbert Melendez's run in Strikeforce is over and that his UFC run is just beginning.
Following Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event, UFC president Dana White said he wanted the lightweight champ in the UFC "ASAP," which prompted speculation that Melendez's headliner with Jorge Masvidal at a December Strikeforce event had been dissolved pending his imminent departure for the octagon.
Masvidal and his representatives say the bout – which is set for Dec. 17 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego – is still a go, and while White said today that he isn't sure when Melendez will make the jump.
It could happen at any time, he said.
"I've got to run my business, so if I have to yank him over here, I'll do it," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following a press conference for UFC 136, which takes place Saturday at Houston's Toyota Center.
Of course, UFC 136's headliner – a highly anticipated rematch between lightweight champ Frankie Edgar and challenger Gray Maynard – is set to clear the way for the next lightweight contender, and Melendez is on a long list of possibilities, according to White.
UFC boss says no to Edgar vs. Maynard IV regardless of UFC 136 outcome
If champ Frankie Edgar (13-1-1 MMA, 8-1-1 UFC) beats challenger Gray Maynard (10-0-1 MMA, 8-0-1 UFC) at Saturday's UFC 136 event, that will give each a win to accompany a frustrating draw in their second bout back at UFC 125.
Usually, rubber matches are booked when a series is tied. But UFC president Dana White today said that he'd rather just move on.
"(Let's) put it behind us," White today said at a pre-event press conference in support of Saturday's fight, which takes place at Houston's Toyota Center. "This division is stacked with tons of talent, and there's a lot of good fights to make at 155."
For the past 10 months, the UFC has been unable to make a lot of those fights given the inconclusive result of UFC 125. White often refers to the situation as a logjam, and for good reason. Contenders such as Clay Guida, Ben Henderson and Melvin Guillard have made strong cases for No. 1 contender's status, to say nothing of the long-rumored arrival of Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez in the UFC.
When a winner does emerge on Saturday, he'll have a long list of potential future bookings.
Mike Swick and Roger Huerta's Thailand gym meets resistance, but venture continues
Mike Swick is fulfilling a longtime dream, and with fellow UFC vet Roger Huerta, he's opening an MMA gym in Phuket, Thailand.
MMAjunkie.com Radio recently caught up with Swick while he's in the U.S. following back-and-forth 24-hour trips to the Asian country.
Swick currently is finalizing plans for the new gym's opening. And though the venture has ruffled some feathers at Tiger Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts – a Phuket gym Swick nearly purchased – Swick said his team at American Kickboxing Academy has been quite supportive.