Cruz vs. Faber 2 Booked for UFC 132 in July
The UFC announced on Saturday that the bantamweight title fight between Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber will go down at UFC 132, July 2nd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Since taping for TUF 14 is expected to take place sometime this summer, it seems unlikely that Cruz and Faber will be tapped as coaches for The Ultimate Fighter‘s first bantamweight/featherweight season.
The two former WEC stars have shared some bad blood since the lead-up to their first fight at WEC 26 in March 2007. Upset that he wasn’t featured on the event poster, Cruz signed his name over Faber’s face — which the California Kid perceived as a sign of disrespect. Faber went on to score a guillotine choke victory in just 98 seconds, retaining his featherweight title.
Cruz dropped to 135 pounds the following year and has since racked up a 7-0 record in that division, winning the bantamweight belt from Brian Bowles and defending it twice against Joseph Benavidez and Scott Jorgensen. Faber made the drop to bantamweight last year after an ugly loss to current 145-pound champ Jose Aldo, and his since scored dominant victories over Takeya Mizugaki and Eddie Wineland.
The current lineup of UFC 132 is…
Dominick Cruz vs. Urijah Faber (for bantamweight title)
B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch (WW)
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller (LW)
George Sotiropoulos vs. Evan Dunham (LW)
Dennis Siver vs. Matt Wiman (LW)
Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader (LHW)
Increasing Speculation That He Will Fight at UFC Rio: Royce Gracie Reportedly Pulls Out of UK Seminar Tour to Focus on Training for Fight in August
CagePotato.com received word over the weekend from a source close to the situation that Royce Gracie has cancelled the European leg of his spring seminar tour and that the official reason given to the group organizing his UK appearances (NJM promotions) is that the UFC Hall-of-Famer has accepted an offer from the promotion to fight on its August 27 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
According to NJM, Gracie’s manager, Mike Kogan revealed the news to them, which was relayed to the seminar host gyms in an effort to explain why the 44-year-old UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament winner would not be able to make his scheduled appearances in England.
When contacted by us today via email to ask if Royce has indeed signed on to fight on the card, and if so, whom he will face, Kogan did not deny the stated reason for his client pulling out of his European tour, but said that nothing is official YET.
“We are talking about fighting in August,” Kogan confirmed. “Nothing is locked down, no.”
No potential opponents have been named for his possible return to the Octagon, but a few names come that with pre-built story lines would make sense.
Following his UFC 60 loss to Matt Hughes in 2006, Gracie expressed his desire to rematch the former UFC welterweight champ, explaining that he overtrained for the bout and didn’t perform as expected as a result, so a rematch would make sense, but there are at least two other opponents that would make sense, especially for a card set in Brazil.
With BJ Penn’s past history with Royce’s cousins Ralph, who calls “The Prodigy” a traitor for leaving him to train at Nova Uniao before calling out his brother Renzo for a 2005 K-1 bout, that’s another grudge match that wouldn’t take much marketing to sell. A third possible scenario would see the UFC sign Kazushi Sakuraba to face Gracie in a heavily-anticipated rubber match. In their last fight — a June 2007 Dynamite!! USA bout in California, Royce defeated “The Gracie Killer” by unanimous decision, but subsequently tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandralone. He has disputed the test results for the past four years, claiming that the accusation that he uses PEDs is preposterous as he weighs just two pounds more than he did when he made his UFC debut in 1993. Sakuraba defeated Royce in 2000 by TKO and has beaten Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie, which is how he earned his nickname.
Considering that the show is nearly five months away and that there are a number of other suitable opponents from Dan Hardy to Mike Swick whose stock in the Octagon would benefit from a fight with a legend like Gracie, it’s likely that we won’t know until April or May if and whom Royce will fight on the card.
UFC's Alexander Gustafsson training in US hoping for fight in Las Vegas
Losing is not something UFC light heavyweight Alexander Gustafsson is familiar with.
In fact, his record has one lone defeat on it, and that was courtesy of current teammate and recent UFC Fight Night 24 main-event winner Phil Davis.
Following the loss, the fast-rising light-heavyweight contender opted to join Davis in the U.S. for training. Now, the 24-year-old Swedish fighter – who's fought exclusively in Europe and Asia – hopes his next UFC bout comes in the U.S.
UFC Quick Quote: A part of Rich Franklin wants to fight Jon Jones to 'see how he'd do'
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin, who was kicked out of the 185-pound division by the seemingly invincible Anderson Silva, talks to the Springfield News-Sun about the meteoric rise of new Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones, who just so happens to rule the weight class Franklin now calls home. "Ace" is just as enamored with the rise of "Bones" as the rest of the mixed martial arts community but his competitive spirit also wonders how he might fare in a 205-pound throwdown.
Good quote from "Ace" in full article
Lorenz Larkin replaces Satoshi Ishii at Strikeforce Challengers 15
Unbeaten Lorenz Larkin (8-0 MMA, 0-0 SF) has replaced Satoshi Ishii (4-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) and now meets fellow light heavyweight Scott Lighty (6-1 MMA, 1-1 SF) at Friday's Strikeforce Challengers 15 event.
Following the earthquake and tsunami disaster in his native Japan, Ishii was unable to secure a visa to leave the country.
Strikeforce Challengers 15 takes place at Stockton Arena in Stockton, Calif. The night's main card airs on Showtime at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
Countdown to UFC 129 debuts April 27th on Spike TV
The UFC's traditional pre-event preview show returns April 27 with the debut of "Countdown to UFC 129."
The one-hour episode debuts on Spike TV at 11 p.m. ET/PT.
UFC 129 takes place April 30 at Toronto's Rogers Centre, and the pay-per-view main card features welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre vs. top contender Jake Shields.
Dan Hardy Calls Out Chris Lytle
"Feeling very frustrated today. No excuses, sometimes you just dont win. I hate having boring fights though.
I want to fight again. I feel like Ive been robbed of the reward at the end of training camp.
An oldschool shootout with a guy that wants to throw down. Screw the rankings, records are for DJs.
Win in a blaze of glory or go out on my shield. Someone like Mr Lytle..."
Sounds to me like Hardy can't handle the wrestlers and doesn't want to anymore. What do you think Playground? Would that be a good fight? And who wins?
Dream champ Takaya vs Peralta added to Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley
A bout between DREAM featherweight champ Hiroyuki Takaya (15-8-1 MMA, 0-0 SF) and Robert Peralta (13-3 MMA, 0-0 SF) has been added to the preliminary card of next month's "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley" event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the matchup with Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz. Sherdog.com first reported the fight.
"Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley" takes place April 9 at Valley View Casino Center in San Diego, and the main card airs live on Showtime. The event is headlined by a welterweight title fight between reigning champ Nick Diaz and Paul Daley.
UFC Fight Night 24 sets attendance, live gate records for "Fight Night" events
SEATTLE – The UFC's first-ever trip to Seattle was the most successful UFC Fight Night event in the company's history in terms of box office success, according to promotion officials.
Saturday night's "UFC Fight Night 24: Nogueira vs. Davis" event drew a reported 14,212 attendees for a live gate of $1,182,850.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the attendance and gate figures with company officials at the evening's post-event press conference.
UFC boss says Dan Hardy's fate not sealed with third straight defeat
SEATTLE – In the hyper-competitive world of the UFC, two straight defeats almost always leads to a release from the promotion.
Three consecutive defeats? Don't call us; we'll call you.
At Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event in Seattle, British slugger Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) dropped his third straight fight when he was toppled by fellow striking specialist Anthony Johnson. However, UFC president Dana White said "The Outlaw" won't necessarily be flying home with a pink slip.
With UFC 132 rematch booked, champ Cruz details origins of Faber feud
It has been four years since the sport's two most-talented 135-pound fighters faced one another.
However, UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (17-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and No. 1 contender Urijah Faber (25-4 MMA, 1-0 UFC) meet again at UFC 132, officials announced on Saturday.
After the announcement, Cruz spoke exclusively to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the highly anticipated rematch and the origins of his feud with Faber.
Then-champion Faber defeated Cruz in a 2007 WEC featherweight title bout, one in which Cruz made his organizational debut.
Johnson says earning win more important than keeping promise at UFC Fight Night 24
SEATTLE – From the moment Anthony Johnson (9-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) vs. Dan Hardy (23-9 MMA, 4-3 UFC) was first announced for Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event, fans salivated at the thought of two lethal strikers standing toe-to-toe.
And in each and every pre-fight media appearance, both sluggers promised they wouldn't even consider taking the fight to the floor.
But things played out very differently during the co-feature. Johnson utilized his wrestling background to control the action on the floor for 15 rather uneventful minutes – and he makes no apologies for his performance.
UFC's Davis not trying to follow Jones' path but not afraid to step in the way
SEATTLE – Fighting just seven days after fellow young gun Jon Jones (13-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) claimed the UFC's light-heavyweight belt, undefeated prospect Phil Davis (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) simply couldn't avoid the questions.
Try as he might to deflect the comparisons to "Bones," the wrestling phenom was forced to discuss his future even before he stepped into the cage to face Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in the featured bout of Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event.
And while Davis essentially avoided the questions prior to his unanimous-decision win, he answered directly when quizzed post-fight. I'm my own man, Davis proclaimed, but if Jones and I are on a collision course, then bring it on.
For UFC Fight Night 24's Jung, time was right for historic submission, instant pay raise
SEATTLE – UFC featherweight Chan Sung Jung (11-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) was already a legend in MMA circles prior to stepping into the cage at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event.
The only problem was his contract didn't exactly reflect his reputation.
"I'm especially glad to finally get my pay above the $5,000 level since I was stuck there for so long," Jung told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) with a laugh. "I'm glad to finally move up in pay level."
Sadollah says UFC FIght Night 24 win just latest lesson on path to the top
SEATTLE – Put simply, there likely will never be another Amir Sadollah (5-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC).
The season-seven winner of "The Ultimate Fighter," Sadollah has fought his entire professional career inside the octagon – an impossible feat now that "TUF" tryouts require a professional record.
Developing his skills on the sport's biggest stage hasn't been easy, admits Sadollah, but he's comfortable in what he's become. Now it's time to take it to the next level.
Bellator 38 results
Tim Carpenter def. Daniel Gracie via split decision (29-28, 28-29, 29-28) (light-heavyweight tourney quarterfinals)
D.J. Linderman def. Raphael Davis via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 2:44 (light-heavyweight tourney quarterfinals)
Richard Hale def. Nik Fekete via submission (inverted-triangle choke) - Round 1, 1:55 (light-heavyweight tourney quarterfinals)
Christian M'Pumbu def. Chris Davis via TKO (strikes) - Round 3, 3:34 (light-heavyweight tourney quarterfinals)
Austin Lyons def. Jimmy Van Horn via submission (armbar) - Round 1, 2:10
Jake Underwood def. Tim Galluzzi via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 1:04
Cody Donovan def. Brian Albin via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Blagoi Ivanov def. William Penn via TKO (strikes) - Round 1, 2:58
Amaechi Oselukwue def. Abe Wilson via unanimous decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
UFC Fight Night 24 bonuses: Jung, Hendricks, McDonald, Figueroa get $55K awards
Chan Sung Jung, Johny Hendricks, Michael McDonald and Edwin Figueroa each earned record $55,000 "Fight Night" bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC Fight Night 24 event.
Jung got the "Submission of the Night" bonus, Hendricks the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, and Fight of the Night" honors went to McDonald and Figueroa
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the bonus winners and award amounts with UFC officials.
UFC Fight Night 24 took place at KeyArena in Seattle and served as the promotion's first-ever event in the state of Washington. The night's main card aired on Spike TV, and five preliminary-card fights streamed on Facebook.
The $55,000 bonuses were a record for a Fight Night event...
Titan Fighting Championships 17 results: Lashley, Baroni visibly tire, take decision wins
You can be certain that no one will ever question the heart of John Ott (8-8).
Bobby Lashley's (6-1) cardio may be an entirely different situation.
Lashley used his world-class wrestling skills to earn a unanimous-decision win over an undersized Ott in the main event of Friday's HDNet-broadcast Titan Fighting Championships 17 event, which took place at Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. But after looking tired in the second round and absolutely exhausted in the third, Ott nearly pulled off one of the most miraculous comebacks in recent memory.
The bout started as expected, as the heavily-favored Lashley dumped Ott to the floor just 30 seconds into the opening round. Working from inside of Ott's guard, Lashley unleashed a barrage of increasingly powerful punches, elbows and forearms. Dozens of strikes found their mark, and Ott's face became a bloody, swollen mess over the opening five minutes.
But he survived.
In the second, Ott was visibly slower than the first frame. The wrestling ace appeared to have punched himself out with the opening-round salvo. Nevertheless, it took just one minute for Ott to be shoved on his back yet again, trying desperately to hold his opponent tight, only for Lashley to pour on the damage.
But he survived.
In the final frame, Ott briefly turned the tide. Lashley had little left in the tank, and his primary strategies were to retreat and fire occasional punches. Ott appeared energized as the crowd chanted his name. Bobbing and weaving, Ott found a home for his hands on Lashley's chin. But just when it seemed the impossible was possible, Lashley earned a final takedown. The crowd was silenced, and the Ott's fate was sealed.
But he survived.
In the end, Lashley netted a unanimous-decision win, 29-27, 30-27 and 29-27. But it was Ott that left the cage with his head held high. A light heavyweight who has competed in the 185-pound division, as well, Ott survived underneath the monster.
Despite the disappointing victory, Lashley remained positive when he spoke with HDNet broadcaster Ron Kruck.
"I was looking for something that wasn't there," Lashley said. "But it felt good. I needed it. I needed to spend some time out there.
"(I didn't look) as good as I wanted to, but it was victory. A win is a win. We've got stuff to work on, but I felt good out there."
Lashley rebounds from an August loss to Chad Griggs and said he's open to fighting for either Strikeforce or Titan Fighting Championships in his next outing, which he'd like to take place as soon as April. Meanwhile, Ott falls to 1-2 in his past three contests, though he'll unquestionably earn a more favorable matchup in is next outing.
Strikeforce and Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Aaron Rosa (16-3) earned his fourth-straight win with an impressive finish of former "The Ultimate Fighter 10" cast member Abe Wagner (8-4).
After a slower-than-expected first round, Rosa came out swinging in the second. A left hook clipped Wagner on the chin, and "Hurricane" crashed to the floor. Rosa was a touch slow advancing for the finish, and it gave Wagner a brief opportunity to recover.
It didn't matter.
Unable to land any flush ground-and-pound blows, Rosa transitioned to the back while simultaneously using his leg to trap Wagner's right arm. Unable to properly defend the choke, Wagner had no choice but to tap just 35 seconds into the second frame.
Rosa runs his current win streak to four fights, while Wagner sees a three-fight win streak snapped.
Leading up to Saturday night, UFC and PRIDE veteran Phil Baroni (14-13) admitted his back was against the wall in his main-card fight with Nick Nolte (3-3). "The New York Bad Ass" claimed a much-needed victory via decision, but he didn't make many new fans in the process.
Nolte opened the fight with a flurry of strikes from the clinch, and Baroni appeared to be affected from the shots. But Baroni returned to his wrestling roots and took the fight to the floor each time he felt in danger on the feet.
As the fight wore on both fighters tired badly. Broni walked forward with his hands down, but Nolte could only attack in short spurts. And when Baroni could muster enough energy to work the action to the ground, Nolte couldn't escape from underneath. Baroni didn't land significant damage from the top, but his dominant positioning was enough to earn a unanimous-decision nod, 29-28, 30-27 and 29-28.
Following the win, Baroni admitted he was exhausted, but he insisted the issue was the early damage he received n the clinch and not a lack of proper conditioning.
"I was really tired in the third round," Baroni said. "I was really tired in the second. I took some good knees to the body."
As he was greeted with a chorus of boos from the pro-Nolte crowd, Baroni said he would grant his opponent an rematch if Titan Fighting Championships deemed it necessary.
The win was Baroni's first since September 2008, while Nolte has alternated wins and losses in the first six fights of his career.
In a moderately-paced 15-minute contest, three-time Bellator Fighting Championships veteran Eric Marriott (20-5) claimed a lopsided win over submission stylist Willian de Souza (1-1). Overmatched from the opening bell, de Souza offered little competition to Marriott, who now owns a two-fight win streak and is 2-0 under the Titan Fighting Championships banner.
In a rousing three-round affair, eight-year veteran Alonzo Martinez (29-14-1) was awarded a razor-thin majority decision over Missouri's Aaron Derrow (10-3).
After "Zo Daddy" dominated the opening two frame, "Daddy Long Legs" fought back valiantly in the third and appeared to have potentially salvaged a draw. However, only one of three ringside judges felt Derrow had done enough in the final round to earn a 10-8, and Martinez walked away with the majority decision.
Two-time WEC veteran James Krause (12-3) needed just 41 seconds to notch an impressive viceroy over submission ace Nathan Schut (11-6).
Krause stalked his opponent in the early going before landing a high kick to the chin that sent Schut directly to the canvas. Krause swarmed with pinpoint follow up blows, and the bout was quickly waved off.
The evening's first televised contest saw two-time Titan Fighting Championships veteran Anthony Gutierrez (2-0) worked from his back to secure a triangle-choke victory over Jon Hollis (1-2). The victory was the second-straight win for "Shark Bait" in his young career.
OFFICIAL MAIN CARD RESULTS
•Bobby Lashley def. John Ott via unanimous decision (29-27, 30-27, 29-27)
•Aaron Rosa def. Abe Wagner via submission (rear-naked choke) - Round 2, 0:35
•Phil Baroni def. Nick Nolte via unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 29-28)
•Eric Marriott def. Willian de Souza via unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
•Alonzo Martinez def. Aaron Derrow via majority decision (28-28, 29-28, 29-28)
•James Krause def. Nathan Schut via TKO (high kick and punches) - Round 1, 0:41
•Anthony Gutierrez def. Jon Hollis via submission (triangle choke) - Round 1, 4:20
UFC's Condit eyes showdowns with Diaz, Daley, Shields; not keen on Hardy rematch
While the exact future of Strikeforce remains to be seen, UFC welterweight contender Carlos Condit (26-5 MMA, 3-1 UFC) is already eyeing a few potential matchups with some of the promotion's top stars.
Namely, Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz (24-7 MMA, 4-0 SF) and his opponent on April 9, Paul Daley (27-9-2 MMA, 2-0 SF). Condit also wants a second crack at the UFC's current No. 1 contender, Jake Shields (26-4-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
"I'm looking to hopefully fight Jake Shields to get that loss back," Condit said at a Friday Q&A session. "Now with the Strikeforce merger, possibly Nick Diaz.
"I was supposed to fight Paul Daley a while back. I got staph infection in my hand and had to pull out of the fight. There's some unfinished business there. I like that fight."
Condit is currently recovering from a knee injury that forced him to withdraw from a planned UFC 127 matchup with Chris Lytle in February. The "Natural Born Killer" said the dislocated kneecap is healing fine with rehab alone and did not require surgery.
He's not sure when he'll return to the cage, but he hopes some key upcoming matchups will produce a suitable opponent.
"I'm still waiting to hear (who I'll fight next)," Condit said. "I think there's some good welterweight fights coming up. When those happen, it will clear up the picture a little bit, and I might have a better idea."
In the meantime, Condit is simply daydreaming about possibilities.
Shields is certainly within reason, whether he comes up short against Georges St-Pierre in April, or if the champ retains his belt but chooses to relinquish the title in favor of a shot at middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva. Condit faced Shields in an April 2006 Rumble on the Rock tourney final but fell short via decision.
Diaz and Daley are a little far-fetched for now, but with the UFC's parent company now in charge of Strikeforce's fighter contracts, Condit may very well lie in each of their futures.
In the meantime, there is one fighter actively pursuing a bout with Condit: UFC Fight Night 24 co-headliner Dan Hardy.
Hardy, of course, was knocked out by Condit this past October. Earlier this week, Hardy said he won't stop fighting until he's able to avenge that loss.
"The thing that I don't like about losing the fight, about getting knocked out, is that my opponent thinks he's better than me," Condit told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I know that's not the case. I know Carlos Condit's not better than me. I'm annoyed that now he thinks that. I gave him that impression by not giving him the respect in that fight.
"I can't retire until I've knocked him out."
Condit said the result was no fluke, and he currently has no desire to revisit the matchup.
"Honestly, I think he dislikes me more than I dislike him, for obvious reasons," Condit said. "I stood in the cage with that guy, and I'm just telling you, he had nothing – that night, anyway."