Relaxed Ron Sparks believes Bellator tourney finally his time to shine
Bellator heavyweight Ron Sparks (8-0 MMA, 3-0 BFC) felt a strange sensation leading into his fight with Mark Holata (11-3 MMA, 2-1 BFC). His usual pre-fight nerves were replaced by complete calm – almost happiness.
"When I walked into that cage, I felt great," the affable heavyweight today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about his win at Bellator 52, which took place Saturday at L’Auberge du Lac Casino and Resort in Lake Charles, La., and aired on MTV2.
Sparks knocked Holata out in 84 seconds. It was his seventh first-round stoppage in an eight-fight pro career. What's his secret?
"Man, I keep my chin down and keep my hands moving," Sparks said with a chuckle.
But despite his already-impressive ledger, the undefeated fighter said this win was more significant than others.
"My biggest thing is believing in myself," Sparks said. "I try not to get into the hype. I know I'm a great fighter, but I know I'm not the best out there. I know that.
Dominick Cruz to have finger surgery
UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz ignored the pain, clenched his right hand, and fought for 25 minutes Saturday night. The result: his fourth consecutive title defense and a badly damaged hand that requires surgery.
In the opening round of a unanimous decision against Demetrious Johnson in Washington, D.C., Cruz (19-1) dislocated his middle finger at the knuckle and tore ligaments and tendons, the UFC champion told ESPN.com.
"It just hurt and felt off," Cruz said. "My finger kept popping out of the socket."
"It's basically the exact same injury I had on my left hand," Cruz said. "Same knuckle, same everything. The tendon is completely ripped off the bone and my finger is popping out of its socket due to that. And the knuckle just dislocates when I make a fist. I have to get that tendon that ripped reattached with surgery."
Bellator heavyweight Hayes' tourney spot in jeopardy with medical suspension
Mike Hayes passed the first gauntlet of Bellator's season-five heavyweight tournament, but he may have taken too much damage to continue.
Hayes (16-4 MMA, 2-1 BFC) has been issued a preliminary suspension of 60 days by the Louisiana Boxing and Wrestling Commission following his split decision over Neil Grove (11-4-1 MMA, 3-2 BFC) at Bellator 52, which hosted the quarterfinals of the eight-man competition.
A final report due soon will determine whether Hayes suffered a fractured orbital in the bout.
Bellator Fighting Championships releases Dan Hornbuckle, Wilson Reis
After each suffering back-to-back losses, Dan Hornbuckle (22-5 MMA, 3-3 UFC) and Wilson Reis (12-4 MMA, 5-4 BFC) have each been released from their Bellator Fighting Championships' contracts.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the roster moves with sources close to the fighters.
Both fighters each recently suffered season-five tournament quarterfinal bouts – Hornbuckle in the welterweight division and Reis in the bantamweight class.
Charlie Brenneman camp takes no issue with stoppage at UFC on Versus 6
Many MMA observers felt referee Mario Yamasaki prematurely stopped a fight between Charlie Brenneman (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Anthony Johnson (10-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) on the main card of UFC on Versus 6.
But Brenneman's camp does not share that view.
"Honestly, none of us have a problem with it," Brenneman trainer and manager Mike Constantino today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
UFC on Versus 6 took place Saturday at Washington D.C.'s Verizon Center and aired on Versus.
The root of the criticism stemmed from the fact that Brenneman landed on his elbows after Johnson caught him flush with a high kick a few minutes into the fight's first round (Johnson was later awarded a $65,000 "Knockout of the Night bonus). When Yamasaki waved off the bout, the AMA Fight Club fighter's hands immediately extended in protest.
Dong Hyun Kim vs. Sean Pierson added to December's UFC 141 event
A welterweight contest between two fighters looking to rebound from their first octagon losses has been added to UFC 141, as Dong Hyun Kim meets Sean Pierson.
UFC officials today announced the new matchup.
"Two talented welterweights on the comeback trail will face off at UFC 141 when Sean Pierson takes on the 'Stun Gun,' Dong Hyun Kim," UFC president Dana White stated.
Bisping vs. 'Mayhem' slated for five rounds at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale
As expected, Michael Bisping (21-3 MMA, 11-3 UFC) and Jason "Mayhem" Miller (24-7 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will meet in a season-ending coaches' fight at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
And raising the stakes, UFC officials have booked it as a five-round non-title fight, they today announced.
The event takes place Dec. 3 at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. The main card airs on Spike TV.
Bisping and Miller serve as coaches on the currently airing 14th season of "TUF." In addition to the coaches, the finale features the finals of the show's bantamweight and featherweight tournaments.
UFC champ Jon Jones suffered no serious injuries, but UFC giving him a rest
Jon Jones entered UFC 135's post-fight press conference with as many ice packs as bruises.
Despite a fourth-submission victory over Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in his first title defense, Jones was issued a six-month medical suspension, and he needed a doctor's examination to rule out any serious injuries.
But UFC president Dana White said Jones essentially got a clean bill of health. Still, he's in no hurry to bring Jones back.
Jones, who's quickly emerged as one of the sport's biggest stars, is next slated to fight top contender Rashad Evans. December's UFC 140 event could use a headliner, but White hinted that Jones, whose medical suspension can end early with a doctor's approval, may not be back before year's end.
After Cage Warriors 44 win, Brian Foster heads to CCCW 7 on Oct. 15
After returning from a near-year-long layoff and scoring an impressive victory over Jack Mason at this past weekend's Cage Warriors 44 event, UFC vet Brian Foster is set for his next bout.
Foster (16-5) fights in two weeks when he meets fellow UFC vet Laverne Clark (27-18-1) at Capital City Cage Wars 7.
The fight takes place Oct. 15 at Prairie Capital Convention Center in Springfield, Ill.
It's the latest stop on the comeback trail for Foster. Although performance hasn't been an issue – he won three of his final four UFC bouts and is now 4-1 overall in his past five fights – some health scares prompted his UFC medical release.
First came a vicious blow during training that resulted in a burst testicle and its removal. Then, prior to a UFC 129 bout with Sean Pierson, Foster underwent a CT scan that detected a brain hemorrhage. A trio of doctors ultimately cleared Foster, but UFC officials suggested Foster pick up some outside wins before returning to the organization.
Foster got the first one on Saturday in London with an impressive first-round submission victory over British notable Jack Mason (17-9).
UFC 141 headliner Brock Lesnar not ailing, 'actually quite pleasant'
Ever since his camp began for a UFC 141 bout with Alistair Overeem, ex-UFC champ Brock Lesnar has been dogged by rumors.
Countless sources have speculated to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the once-ailing Lesnar isn't able to train and that the December heavyweight blockbuster will be canceled.
UFC president Dana White has a simple answer to that: "bull [expletive]."
"It's not true," White told MMAjunkie.com over the weekend. "And it actually can't be any further than the truth."
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event, which takes place on a Friday to avoid Sin City's usual New Year's Eve congestion, airs on pay-per-view and marks the UFC debut of former Strikeforce champ and K-1 world champion Overeem.
For Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), the Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC) booking is his first fight since an October 2010 title loss to Cain Velasquez. A second bout with diverticulitis scratched a planned summer contest with fellow "The Ultimate Fighter 13" coach Junior Dos Santos. Lesnar's inactivity led some MMA pundits to speculate that a retirement announcement was in the works, but White recently branded the speculation as "ridiculous."
UFC 136's 'appreciative' Chael Sonnen willing to tip hat to Anderson Silva
Right about now, Chael Sonnen is kicking back on his couch with a couple of movies ("Road to Perdition" and "The Bounty Hunter") and a couple of magazines ("Soldier of Fortune," probably).
Usually, you hear that the week prior to fight week is the final push before tapering down for the rush of pre-event activities.
For Sonnen, that isn't the case, at least not this time around.
He's sick, and he'll be taking the weekend off prior to his fight with Brian Stann in the co-main event of UFC 136, which takes place Oct. 8 at Houston's Toyota Center. Sonnen (25-11-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Stann (11-3 MMA, 5-2 UFC) are part of the pay-per-view main card.
"I think it's just a common thing when you start to wear down," he said.
February's simultaneous Japan and Las Vegas shows both will air live on TV
WASHINGTON, D.C. – MMA fans should get ready for a double dose of the UFC in February.
As expected, the UFC will, in fact, hold shows in Japan and Las Vegas on the same day in February.
So how would it work logistically, specifically with TV viewers in mind? It won't be an issue, according to UFC president Dana White, who said viewers can expect an event doubleheader.
UFC boss denies pay-per-view plans for Kurt Angle, offered him 'TUF 10' slot
WASHINGTON, D.C. – UFC president Dana White was willing to give Kurt Angle an opportunity in the UFC.
However, the 1996 Olympic gold-medal wrestler and WWE/TNA wrestling performer wasn't being targeted for a pay-per-view fight with Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson.
According to UFC president Dana White, Angle simply was offered a slot on the heavyweights-only 10th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" a few years back.
Flyweights are coming, but UFC on Versus 6's Demetrious Johnson not ready to drop
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The flyweights are coming. Demetrious Johnson, though, isn't quite ready to join the pack.
Johnson failed in his attempt to take UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz's title in the main event of Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center.
But if you think the loss is going to prompt the UFC's shortest fighter to drop a weight class, think again.
Johnson (9-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) matched the usual speed and swift footwork of Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC). But with the champ's takedowns and controlling top game, Johnson just couldn't muster any sustained attacks, and he won a single round on just one judge's card.
Anthony Johnson, Dana White have no problem with UFC on Versus 6 stoppage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – It was a dominant performance for Anthony Johnson – one that moves him a big step toward a potential title fight with welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.
But it also came with a bit of controversy.
However, following Johnson's first-round destruction of Charlie Brenneman at Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event, both Johnson and UFC president Dana White downplayed the supposedly controversial stoppage.
Johnson (10-3 MMA, 7-3 UFC) and Brenneman (14-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) met in a main-card bout at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. The Versus-televised bout proved a lopsided affair; Johnson stuffed an early takedown and then punished a kneeling Brenneman with punches and knees. By the time Brenneman got back to his feet, he was wobbly, and he grabbed the fence to keep his balance. But that's also when Johnson blasted him with a shin to the face.
Champ Dominick Cruz suffers broken hand, Faber-Bowles winner likely on deck
WASHINGTON, D.C. – UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz may have a next opponent on deck, but his timetable for a return remains a question mark.
Following a decisive decision victory over Demetrious Johnson in the headliner of Saturday's UFC on versus 6 event, UFC president Dana White shared some disappointing news.
Cruz suffered a broken hand in the fight, and he's set to undergo surgery.
Cruz made his second successful UFC title defense (and fourth straight defense overall when including WEC fights). His quick feet and smothering top game led him to a lopsided decision victory over a game Johnson. The fight took place at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center and aired live on Versus.
Dana White: Strikeforce champ Gilbert Melendez is headed to the UFC, ASAP
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez's days in the organization appear over.
The standout lightweight will join the UFC's roster "ASAP," according to UFC president Dana White.
A debut date and opponent haven't been determined, but White said it'll happen sooner rather than later. And if the timing is right, it could lead to an immediate UFC title shot.
"Yeah, we do want to bring Gilbert Melendez over, and we're looking at it right now," White said following Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event at Washington, D.C.'s Verizon Center. "We're looking to bring Gilbert Melendez over ASAP."
White, who also said Strikeforce heavyweight Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) is likely to return to the organization, spoke definitively about the Melendez (19-2 MMA, 9-1 SF) move for the first time ever. After the UFC purchased Strikeforce earlier this year, he hinted at the possibility but stopped short of saying there was a concrete plan.
However, Melendez, who recently cracked the top 10 in the media-voted Yahoo! Sports pound-for-pound rankings, now is making the move.
UFC on Versus 6 bonuses: Johnson, Struve, Wiman and Danzig earn $65K awards
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Anthony Johnson, Stefan Struve, Matt Wiman and Mac Danzig each earned $65,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC on Versus 6 event.
Johnson earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Struve picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Wiman and Danzig took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC on Versus 6's post-fight press conference.
T.J. Waldburger vs. Marc Stevens grappling superfight added to UFC 136 Fan Expo
Two UFC notables have been booked for a grappling superfight at next weekend's UFC Fan Expo event in Houston.
Recent UFC Fight Night 25 winner and Texas native T.J. Waldburger will meet "The Ultimate Fighter 12" cast member Marc Stevens in one of the expo's two grappling superfights.
Event officials confirmed the exhibition, which the UFC and Grapplers Quest have organized, with MMAjunkie.com.
Tim Credeur out, Dustin Jacoby in against Brad Tavares at UFC 137
Tim Credeur (12-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) has been forced out of this month's UFC 137 event, and promotional newcomer Dustin Jacoby (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has stepped in as a replacement against middleweight Brad Tavares (7-1 MMA, 2-1 UFC).
The fighter's reps alerted MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the switch overnight. Jacoby and his trainer, Marc Fiore, subsequently announced it via Twitter and Facebook.
UFC 137 takes place Oct. 29 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
UFC officials haven't formally announced the change, and the reason for Credeur's removal wasn't immediately clear.