Champ Gilbert Melendez making the best of his remaining time in Strikeforce
A week and a half into the realization that he won't be going to the UFC, Gilbert Melendez (20-2 MMA, 10-1 SF) is getting used to the idea of fighting Josh Thomson (19-4 MMA, 10-2 SF) a third time.
"I guess it was inevitable," he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) with a laugh.
But the Strikeforce lightweight champ would be lying if he said he isn't disappointed.
"I was hoping for something better, for some top talent, and it didn't work out," Melendez said. "Something to raise my stock."
Nothing could do that better than a UFC import. Melendez heard the same names everyone else did when a crossover fight was first rumored. The most heavily rumored names included B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis. They just never materialized.
Thomson did, and now he and Melendez meet in a rubber match at "Strikeforce: Heavyweight Grand Prix Finale," which takes place May 19 at HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Melendez vs. Thomson serves as the main card's co-main draw, which airs live on Showtime. Preliminary-card fights air on Showtime Extreme.
New TV deal could bring more UFC events to U.K.
The UFC doesn't care about the U.K., or so say fans across the Pond who've seen events in Europe slow to a trickle in the past two years.
"Every time I get on Twitter or whatever, I see the U.K. fans, 'They don't care about us. They don't care about this market,'" UFC president Dana White said. "Same thing with Ireland. Of course we do."
But until the current TV situation changes, White can't promise anything before the promotion's current deal expires in August.
That's when a contract between the UFC and ESPN's U.K. branch expires, and as UFC managing director of international development Marshall Zelaznik previously indicated to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), more events could be on the way with a new TV partner.
Or a new deal could be struck with ESPN, which has broadcast UFC events since 2009. A U.K. event targeted for the third quarter of this year falls within the timeframe when a new deal could be struck with either network...
X-Ray Confirms No Broken Bones for Siyar Bahadurzada
The good news for UFC welterweight Siyar Bahadurzada just keeps coming after his impressive knockout debut over the weekend.
Bahadurzada finally made his first appearance in the UFC on Saturday in Sweden, and his impact was felt immediately as he knocked out Paulo Thiago with one punch.
As Thiago rushed in looking for a clinch, Bahadurzada flattened him with a quick right hand that sent the Brazilian literally crashing to the mat.
The UFC rewarded the Afghan born fighter with a $50,000 ‘Knockout of the Night’ award.
The unfortunate part about the knockout however was that following the fight, Bahadurzada stated he believed he had a broken hand. He revealed that he may have actually first injured the hand in training, but never flinched about pulling out of the fight, and obviously it didn’t affect him too much with the one shot he landed to end Thiago’s night
Following Loss of Longtime Mentor, Mark Hominick Trying to Fight Back into Contention
The past couple years have been like an emotional roller coaster for UFC bantamweight Mark Hominick.
After a five-fight winning streak was snapped with back-to-back losses inside the cage, Hominick dealt with tragedy outside it when longtime mentor Shawn Tompkins passed away, only to run the opposite side of the emotional spectrum when his daughter was born.
With everything that’s happened, Hominick told MMAWeekly.com that it’s imperative to him to place his feelings aside and focus on fighting’s endgame.
Gray Maynard Opens as 3 to 1 Favorite Over Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4
Gray Maynard will look to start his path back to another shot at the UFC lightweight title in June where he faces Clay Guida at UFC on FX 4 in Atlantic City.
Coming into the fight, oddsmakers have instilled Maynard as a heavy favorite over Guida ahead of their June showdown.
According to Nick Kalikas from BetonFighting.com, Maynard comes in as a 3 to 1 favorite over Guida. Maynard currently sits as a -305 favorite while the comeback on Guida as the underdog is +235.
Both Maynard and Guida are coming off losses, albeit against the top two fighters in the division.
Jon Jones: Rashad Evans Trained with a Kid; Now He Meets the Man
What is there left to say that hasn’t already been said?
The rivalry that’s been brewing between former teammates Jon Jones and Rashad Evans has been going on for over a year now, and there are very few secrets left to reveal.
The story has been told time and time again. Once close friends and training partners, now bitter enemies and opponents, Jones and Evans are headed on a collision course for one of the biggest fights in UFC history.
Evans has said in numerous interviews that he’s in Jones’ head, and that he’s mentally stronger than his former teammate. Jones has fired back with much of the same ideology at Evans.
The talk will all come to a close on April 21 at UFC 145 in Atlanta, but has the talk and the mind games already been overblown as the two fighters head into the bout?
Rashad Evans: Greg Jackson is About Greg Jackson, Not the Team
The word divorce rarely comes along with anything but a negative connotation attached to it.
Whether it’s a couple splitting up or a company separating from an employee or shareholder, divorce is never easy.
So it’s without much surprise that the very public split between UFC 145 headliner Rashad Evans and his former coach Greg Jackson has been anything but friendly.
Nate Marquardt expects vacant welterweight title to be on the line in Strikeforce debut fight against Tyron Woodley
The past 12 months have been a roller coaster for Nate Marquardt.
In March of 2011, "The Great" had just won a unanimous decision victory over Dan Miller at UFC 128. It appeared as though he was getting his career back on track, and he was re-energized by a move down to Welterweight, where he was set to fight Rick Story at UFC on Versus 4 in the main event of the evening. Everything was coming together nicely.
And then it happened.
The day before the Story fight, Marquardt was pulled from the match because of elevated testosterone levels. The withdrawal sent the entire card into disarray and caused Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President Dana White to immediately fire Marquardt and declare he'd never fight in the UFC again.
Fast forward one year later.
In the interim, Marquardt signed with the BAMMA, but never actually stepped foot in the cage for the British-based promotion. After being granted his release from the promotion earlier this year, there was speculation of Marquardt signing with Bellator, as well as a few other smaller promotions, before it was finally made official that he'd be signing with Zuffa-owned Strikeforce.
In February, it was announced that Marquardt's first fight for Strikeforce would be opposite welterweight contender Tyron Woodley. According to a recent interview Marquardt had with "Inside MMA," the fight will be for the vacant 170-pound belt:
Bruno Santos out due to injury, Andreas Spang to face Brian Rogers at Bellator 66
Unbeaten Brazilian Bruno “Carioca” Santos has been forced from Bellator Fighting Championships’ sixth-season middleweight tournament due to a shoulder injury.
Santos, who earned his slot in the tournament semifinals by outpointing Giva Santana on March 16, was slated to face Brian Rogers this Friday at Bellator 66. Instead, promotion officials today announced that Rogers will take on late replacement and Bellator newcomer Andreas Spang (Pictured) at the I-X Center in Cleveland.
“I don’t know anything about my new opponent,” Rogers wrote on Twitter. “I don’t care, so don’t ask me about it. You have Google just like me, guys.
Big Nog favors a fight pitting dos Santos against Mir or Hunt over of a rematch with Velasquez
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira would like to see his friend and teammate, Junior dos Santos, fight either Frank Mir or Mark Hunt instead of a rematch with Cain Velasquez whom he last defeated according to fightersonlymagazine.co.uk.
Dos Santos' current opponent, Alistair Overeem, is at risk of being removed from the upcoming UFC 146 heavyweight title bout due to a recently failed drug test. Overeem will appear before the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) on April 24 for a hearing as well as requesting for a fight license.
Tim Sylvia reveals 'big announcement,' says he would 'absolutely' do The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) if he had to
Remember that "big announcement" former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia was teasing for April 14? Well he revealed all on his Twitter account and while some were surely hoping Dana White had changed his mind about bringing "The Maine-iac" back to the UFC, that's simply not the case.
Instead, it was just as my colleague Jesse Holland said it would be: a simple fight announcement on a regional show later this year.
Indeed, Sylvia announced at the Fight Night 2 event in Biddeford, Maine, that he will be returning to action on June 16 in Lewiston, Maine, against an opponent to be announced later.
That doesn't mean Timmah is giving up his dream of making a return trip to the Octagon one day. In fact, when he's not outright begging to be let back in or retweeting fans pleading to the powers that be, Sylvia was telling The Hammerfisting Podcast that he would go through The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) house to earn his spot.
UFC 146: Dana White Doesn't Want To Talk About Alistair Overeem, Letting Due Process Run Its Course
The biggest story in the UFC remains Alistair Overeem's positive test for elevated testosterone levels ahead of his scheduled UFC 146 challenge for Junior dos Santos' heavyweight title. When news first broke of Overeem's test, UFC president Dana White described himself as "beyond pissed" and said anyone getting caught using banned substances is a "brain-dead dummy."
Dana has been quiet on the Overeem front since that point, seeming to have decided it was for the best to not lose his mind in public. In fact, that's exactly what White told reporters at the press conference for UFC on Fuel TV 2 (via MMA Fighting):
"I will snap and freak out and I don't want to do that," White told reporters following the conclusion of the press conference.
Dana White still certain UFC unable to conduct its own random PED testing
With Alistair Overeem facing the Nevada State Athletic Commission on April 24, UFC president Dana White is less than two weeks away from knowing whether or not he'll still have Overeem's services in the headlining slot of UFC 146.
Overeem, of course, is the latest fighter accused of abusing testosterone replacement therapy after a random NSAC test found his testosterone-to-epitestosterone ratio was 14-to-1, well over the allowable 6-to-1 ratio.
So is White now ready to ramp up monitoring and institute a UFC-run random-testing procedure? Absolutely not, said White. It's simply not realistic.
"We don't do random testing," White said at Saturday's post-UFC on FUEL TV 2 press conference in Stockholm. "First of all, all the guys who come into the UFC, now we changed the policy. You sign a deal with us, you get tested. You go into 'The Ultimate Fighter,' you get tested. We test. We don't even have to [expletive] test. That's not what we do. That's what the athletic commission does.
"Then the athletic commission now is doing random tests before, leading up to the fight, after the fight. They're being tested like crazy. The [expletive] testing in this sport is insane. It is literally the gold standard in all of sports."
UFC boss hints door may be open for Muhammed 'King Mo' Lawal's return to Zuffa
Former Strikeforce champ Muhammed Lawal is still unemployed and unlicensed, but UFC president Dana White on Saturday seemed to suggest there may be a light at the end of the tunnel for "King Mo."
White praised Lawal for his recent dealings with the NSAC and suggested he would be willing to at least talk about a return to Zuffa umbrella.
"We'll see how this whole thing goes down," White said. "The fact that he called her and reached out to her, I mean that's what he should have done."
UFC on FUEL TV 2 draws 15,428 attendance and record $2.23 million live gate
Today's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event drew 15,428 attendees for a $2.23 million live gate.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) confirmed the attendance and gate figures at the night's post-event press conference.
The event, which took place at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena, set a venue record for a live gate at a sporting event, UFC president Dana White said.
Without a local athletic commission working in Sweden, official figures won't be available for the show, which included a main card on FUEL TV and prelims on Facebook.
UFC on FUEL TV 2, which featured Swede Alexander Gustafsson's unanimous-decision victory over Thiago Silva in the headliner, produced one of the biggest non-pay-per-view events in UFC history.
Rally falls short, Mark Hunt 'ain't gonna' fight champ Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146
It was a valiant effort, Mark Hunt fans. But the rally will come up short.
Following a massive online campaign to get Mark Hunt under consideration for a potential title fight – complete with its own #RallyforMarkHunt hashtag – UFC president Dana White squelched the possibility.
If Alistair Overeem isn't cleared to fight heavyweight champion Junior Dos Santos at UFC 146, Hunt won't be the replacement.
"They can keep rallying," White said on Saturday following UFC on FUEL TV 2 at Stockholm's Ericsson Globe Arena. "That ain't going to happen.
"Listen, Mark Hunt is going to have to fight one of the top guys. You don't just jump right into the title shot."
White suggests UFC could create regional fight circuits and champions
The way Dana White sees it, the organization needs more events, not fewer.
As the UFC president hits a grueling part of a ridiculously busy 2012 fight schedule, White sees a need to add even more shows to the lineup.
As White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), it's the only way to keep a consistent presence in key international markets while also giving new fighters – specifically those on the new international editions of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series – a place to cut their teeth.
"The bottom line is as we start kicking off all these 'Ultimate Fighters' in other countries, it's going to open up the floodgates for a lot more fighters, and guys are going to need a lot more experience," White told MMAjunkie.com after Saturday's UFC on FUEL TV 2 event in Stockholm. "So, we're working on it."
Aaron Simpson To Make Welterweight Debut Against Jon Fitch
Aaron Simpson decided that he wanted to be a big welterweight instead of a smaller middleweight, and will make the drop to 170 pounds. He'll be in tough in his debut fight though, drawing one of the top welterweights in the world. MMA Weekly has the news:
Aaron Simpson’s first trip to welterweight will be a tough test for the former NCAA All-American, as he faces former title contender Jon Fitch.
Sources close to the fight confirmed the bout to MMA Weekly on Wednesday with bout agreements issued for the contest, but no date has been named yet for the event the welterweight showdown will take place at.
Rumors have placed the Fitch vs. Simpson bout’s likely landing pad at UFC 149 in Calgary, but again nothing is set in stone at this time.
UFC On fuel 2 Bonuses: Pickett, Page, Bahadurzada, Maguire cake in $50,000
Four men walked away with post-fight bonuses at UFC on Fuel TV 2, as Brad Pickett, Damacio Page, John Maguire and Siyar Bahadurzada each took home an extra $50,000 on Saturday.
Pickett and Page were awarded “Fight of the Night” for their two-round bantamweight affair, while Maguire and Bahadurzada pocketed “Submission of the Night” and “Knockout of the Night,” respectively. Headlined by a light heavyweight conflict between hometown favorite Alexander Gustafsson and American Top Team representative Thiago Silva, UFC on Fuel TV 2 marked the UFC’s inaugural trip to Sweden and took place at the Ericsson Globe Arena in Stockholm.
Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen Rematch Date Could Be Changed
In March, the UFC officially announced the date and location of the Anderson Silva vs. Chael Sonnen rematch, but now the timing of the fight appears to be up in the air.
At a press conference following Saturday's UFC on FUEL event, UFC president Dana White confirmed that the date is no sure thing. In trying to finalize the show -- originally scheduled for June 23 -- the UFC has come up against some resistance because Rio happens to be hosting a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development during the same week.
"The problem is, they don't like the idea of us coming the same time this United Nations convention is going on," he said. "The other problem is hotel rooms. Most of the hotel rooms are being taken up. And we don't think, we know that the Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen fight is one of the biggest sporting events this year, in the world."