UFC Cuts Paul Kelly
Not even winning "Fight of the Night" is enough to save UFC lightweights from the massive cuts still coming down after the merger with the WEC. Gareth Davies brings word that British striker Paul Kelly (11-4) has been released from the promotion after his second round submission loss to Donald Cerrone (14-3) at UFC 126: "Silva vs. Belfort" on Feb. 5. The "sucker punch" reportedly had nothing to do with the decision to let "Tellys" go.
Despite retirement talk, Strikeforce's Fedor Emelianenko could be top grand-prix alternate
Although the MMA legend hinted at retirement following a second-round TKO loss to Antonio Silva, Fedor Emelianenko's fighting career may not be over.
Both Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and Emelianenko's agent, M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein, want the 34-year-old to continue.
And Coker could dangle an intriguing opportunity should Emelianenko wish to continue fighting: first dibs on any alternate spots that open in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix.
Emelianenko (31-3 MMA, 1-2 SF) and Silva (16-2 MMA, 3-1 SF) headlined Saturday's Showtime-televised "Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva" event at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. After a close first round, Silva unloaded a brutal ground-and-pound assault in the second. With the Russian's right eye swollen shut, the cageside physician halted the bout after before the start of the third round, which resulted in Emelianenko's second consecutive defeat since a legendary decade-long win streak.
The bout was part of the opening round of Strikeforce's eight-man, season-long heavyweight tournament. And though three tourney-reserve bouts populated Saturday's main card, any available alternate spots instead could go to Emelianenko.
"There's absolutely a possibility he could be a replacement," Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the show. "That's the beauty of the tournament. You don't know what could happen in the next leg of the tournament. As this tournament unwinds over the year, there could be an injury, and you could see Fedor back in the tournament."
Decisions about injury replacements ultimately will be made by a Strikeforce committee, as Coker previously announced. And though Shane Del Rosario, Chad Griggs and Valentijn Overeem all won reserve bouts at Saturday's show, Emelianenko could cut to the front of the line.
"Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva" attendance reaches 11,287 in New Jersey
Strikeforce's debut in the state of New Jersey resulted in a solid attendance figure of 11,287.
A Strikeforce official confirmed the tentative tally with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
If the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board verifies the number, Saturday's "Strikeforce and M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Silva" event will go down as the organization's second-highest attended show in its past 18 events.
It'll also mark just the seventh time in 44 events the organization has drawn at least 11,000 fans.
Rashad Evans Might Cut Down To Middleweight-If The Fans Want To See It
That's what he said on the latest episode of ESPN's MMA Live. "You know, I would never put going to any weight class out of the question because if a fight was there and it was going to be a fun and competitive fight and something that the fans wanted to see then I would try to do it. But I started my camp at 237, my last camp, and it's going to be really hard for me to make weight. I think the older I'm getting, my body is starting to settle in a little bit, besides the fact my biceps are growing every second of the day. I'm just kidding but I'm getting to be a little bit bigger now so it's harder for me to make 185. It would be a very hard cut but if the fans wanted to see it then I might do it, you know."
Francisco Rivera Off UFC On Versus 3
Former WEC bantamweight Francisco Rivera will have to wait a little longer to make his octagon debut. Rivera is now off of a planned UFC On Versus 3 fight due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Takeya Mizugaki. No replacement named yet, a search is underway for one before the 3/3 event.
UFC Applies For 6/4 Vegas Event Date, Likely TUF 13 Finale
As expected, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is planning to conduct a June 4 event in Las Vegas. The world's biggest mixed martial arts promotion has officially applied with the Nevada State Athletic Commission for permission to hold a card at the The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. While the promotion has yet to officially announce the event, the date is expected to host The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale and feature a lightweight main event between fan favorite Clay Guida and the WEC's final champion, Anthony Pettis, as well as the tournament final for "The Ultimate Fighter 13." The NSAC will vote on the application at its November meeting, which takes place Feb. 16 at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas. The process is generally considered a mere formality for the UFC.
Brian Stann Likely To Meet Santiago, Not SIlva, At UFC 130
After recent reports of a potential return to the UFC, Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago appears to have an opponent: Brian Stann. Stann initially was slated to face Wanderlei Silva at the May 28 event, though Silva repeatedly has voiced a preference not to fight the fan favorite and military hero. Currently, bout agreements have not been signed. Additionally, Santiago's agent, Malki Kawa of Authentic Sports Management, said he couldn't confirm the fight or even if the veteran officially has signed with the UFC. Stann's rep also declined to comment. If the Santiago vs. Stann fight is signed, Silva likely will be shifted to another matchup, possibly against Vitor Belfort, whom he recently has been feuding via a series of interviews in the Brazilian media. Belfort recently lost a title fight with middleweight champion Anderson Silva at UFC 126.
UFC 129 sold out with 55,000 tickets, attendance and gate records will fall
For now, UFC 129 officially is sold out.
The small allotment of remaining tickets for today's public on-sale date have been depleted, and with pre-sale periods, the attendance for the event is expected to be approximately 55,000, a UFC official confirmed with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC 129 takes April 30 at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
The event, which is headlined by UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. Jake Shields, airs on pay-per-view. The stadium show is expected to shatter both UFC and North American MMA attendance and gate records.
Approximately 42,000 tickets, which was the initial event allotment, were sold during the first day of sales this past Thursday, which were available only to members of the subscription-based UFC Fight Club. Today's initial estimate put the total figure at 52,000, though it went up to 55,000 after officials continued tallying today's sales.
The gate could top $11 million.
Rogers Centre previously has hosted events with up to 69,000 spectators. However, given the UFC's event-night layout, large video screens, and UFC president Dana White's commitment to maintain as much as the "intimate atmosphere" of a live UFC-show experience, officials initially expected 50,000 to be the absolute maximum capacity for UFC 129.
Montreal's UFC 124 event currently holds the organization's attendance record with 23,152. (The North American MMA attendance record has been in dispute; a FEG "Dynamite!! USA" event in 2007 reportedly drew 42,757 attendees, but more than 91 percent of the tickets were complimentary.) UFC 66 in 2006 set the UFC and North American gate records with $5.4 million.
Both records, though, will fall at UFC 129.
Miguel Torres vs. Brad Pickett at UFC 130 in Las Vegas
Fresh off a UFC-debut victory, Miguel Torres (39-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) next meets fellow bantamweight Brad Pickett (20-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) at UFC 130.
Torres overnight Tweeted that he was offered and accepted the fight, which HeavyMMA.com initially reported.
UFC 130 takes place May 28 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. It's the UFC's latest Memorial Day weekend show based in Sin City.
The night's main card, including a third fight between UFC lightweight champion Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard, airs on pay-per-view. Torres vs. Pickett likely will be part of a preliminary card that will air or stream in some fashion.
Chael Sonnen: 'I Consider Myself 5-1 Against (Anderson Silva)'
Former UFC middleweight No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen made waves earlier this week when he spoke on Anderson Silva's UFC 126 win against Vitor Belfort, saying Silva "tipped [his] hand like a chump poker player at a $5 table in Atlantic City" to actor and former MMA fighter Paul Lazenby.
Now, Sonnen has followed up with even more comments to Lazenby. This is a doozy, folks.
Here's a little something for you "pocket protector/number cruncher" types: I hit Anderson Silva with more unanswered, undefended strikes than any fighter has landed on an opponent in the history of combat sports. Go count 'em up, Poindexters.
I struck him more times than Quasimodo struck the church bell at Notre Dame. I hit him so many times that I stopped fighting because my fists bouncing off his melon were ringing so loudly that it sounded like a bell, and I thought that the round, and the fight, were over. Actually, that's not true--I actually stopped out of mercy and boredom.
Matt Hamill replaces Thiago Silva, faces "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 130
With Thiago Silva's status in doubt, the UFC isn't taking any chances.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has confirmed with sources close to the UFC that the promotion has pulled the Brazilian from a planned UFC 130 matchup with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson (31-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC), and Matt Hamill (10-2 MMA, 9-2 UFC) has stepped in to fill the void.
Verbal agreements for the contest are in place, and bout agreements are expected to be finalized shortly.
Hamill had been expected to face Phil Davis at April's UFC 129 event. It's currently unknown if Davis will receive a new opponent for the card or be shifted to a later date.
Wanderlei calls out Belfort for rematch
When UFC came to Brazil for the first time, in 1998, Wanderlei Silva debuted on the event, but was defeated by Vitor Belfort. After that fight, Wanderlei reached the top of the world on Pride, but never got his rematch.
With Vitor’s loss to Anderson Silva, on UFC 126, “The Axe Murderer” proposed the challenge, on a phone talk with TATAME. “And now, where are you running to?”, asked Wanderlei. “I’d give him the number one (place in line to fight me) easily, I’m challenging him … I want him”.
Thiago Silva Admits to Failing UFC 125 Drug Test
While NSAC executive director Keith Kizer wasn’t prepared to share who the mystery man was, Thiago Silva admitted to a popular Brazilian website one of his two urine samples registered a positive result. However, the light heavyweight claims he’s done nothing wrong.
“My blood is clean,” Silva told TATAME (Translated by USAToday). “I haven’t used anything.”
Darren Elkins Dropping To Featherweight
On the verge of returning from a knee injury that has kept him on the shelf, Darren Elkins will drop down a class when he comes back. Elkins, an Indiana-based lightweight who went 1-1 in his two UFC appearances last year, will drop to featherweight for his next bout in the promotion. Elkins said he recently was given clearance from a doctor to return, but does not yet have an opponent for his featherweight debut. He said making the drop is something he has been thinking about, though. "I've been wanting to make (the drop) for a while," Elkins said. "(At my size), 155 isn't much of a cut. I just feel like it's a better weight for me."
Luke Rockhold Off SF March Event, Kennedy Now Faces Manhoef
Citing a leg injury, Luke Rockhold has withdrawn from a planned matchup with Tim Kennedy at March's "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" event. Melvin Manhoef will be the replacement. Manhoef actually is the third proposed opponent for Kennedy at Strikeforce's debut show in the Buckeye State. Prior to the Rockhold booking, officials initially targeted a rubber match between Kennedy and Jason "Mayhem" Miller that recently was scrapped. "I come to fight and give my very best," Manhoef stated in an official release. "I am very, very hungry. I need to win this fight. I am looking forward to fighting Tim Kennedy."
Robertson Released by UFC Following Loss in Debut
Welterweight Kenny Robertson has been released by the UFC after suffering a loss in his promotional debut to Mike Pierce at UFC 126 last week.
Robertson's release was first reported by Five Ounces of Pain on Thursday morning, and Robertson verified the news on his Facebook page shortly thereafter.
UFC 126 took place Feb. 5 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and was headlined by a middleweight title tilt between longtime champion Anderson Silva and the resurgent Vitor Belfort. Silva knocked his fellow Brazilian out with a jaw-dropping front kick to the face in the first round to retain his title.
Brian Ebersole Replaces Injured Carlos Condit At UFC 127
UFC welterweight Chris Lytle will reportedly remain on the UFC 127: "Penn vs. Fitch" pay-per-view event on Feb. 26 in Sydney, Australia, now that Brian Ebersole has agreed to step in for the injured Carlos Condit. Fight News Australia brought word of the change in opponents earlier today. Ebersole (44-15) has racked up seven straight wins and is 11-1 since 2007 competing mostly "Down Under." His only loss during that span was a submission (strikes) defeat to Bellator big shot Hector Lombard under the Cage Fighting Championship (CFC) banner in September 2008. The "Bad Boy" will make his UFC debut on just over two weeks notice against one of the sport's most grizzled veterans.
Carlos Condit Injured, In Doubt for UFC 127
Welterweight contender Carlos "The Natural Born Killer" Condit is on the verge of withdrawing from his UFC 127 bout against Chris Lytle, sources tell Sportsnet.
Condit (26-5) has apparently suffered a knee injury and it looks as if it will hamper his performance in the bout.