Benson Henderson vs Jim Miller on top for next edition of UFC on Versus
Jim Miller's new lot in life may be testing the mettle of former WEC lightweights. After destroying Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128 many were calling for Miller to get a crack at the lightweight championship. After all, Miller had run off seven consecutive UFC wins and only Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar hold wins over him.
With Edgar and Maynard injured and their third fight postponed, a title fight wasn't coming any time soon and it now appears that former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson is next.
Junior dos Santos Predicts a Knockout in UFC 131 Matchup With Shane Carwin
We've all heard the news by now - Brock Lesnar has pulled out of his UFC 131 fight with Junior dos Santos, and Shane Carwin has stepped up to face Cigano on June 11th in Vancouver. This new fight is still a number one contender's matchup, with the winner getting a shot at Cain Velasquez later this year. Sherdog was able to speak to dos Santos after the change was announced, and dos Santos was complimentary towards his new opponent:
"I got a little upset about this change, but I’m happy that the UFC got another opponent for me," Dos Santos told Sherdog.com Thursday evening. "Carwin is an excellent fighter and deserves all my respect."
UFC 131 Heavyweight Fight Card Reshuffled After Brock Lesnar Withdraws
The news came rather abruptly on Thursday that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is suffering from another bout with diverticulitis, causing him to withdraw from his UFC 131 main event bout with Junior dos Santos.
Shane Carwin immediately accepted Lesnar’s slot, giving him the opportunity to return to title contention. But that left Carwin’s UFC 131 opponent, Jon Olav Einemo without a fight.
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva moved swiftly, however, pulling Joey Beltran from his fight on the card, and slotting him to face Einemo. Just as quickly, he signed Strikeforce veteran Aaron Rosa to face Dave Herman, Beltran’s original opponent in Vancouver.
Poor Fighter Management Continues as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones Not Having Surgery on Hand
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had originally pulled out of his UFC 133 bout with Rashad Evans due to a hand surgery. The move raised the ire of some MMA fans, especially when Jones explained the surgery. From his original statement:
(The torn tissue in my right hand in the area between my thumb and forefinger) is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler, it doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again. I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.
Last chance for veteran fighter Jeff Curran
Imagine your career comes down to one night.
For Jeff Curran, that’s exactly what tonight’s three-round featherweight match represents.
Two years ago, after he lost four consecutive fights, the WEC cut him. In the meantime, the Crystal Lake fighter has won three of his last four fights as he attempts to claw his way back into the big time.
Tonight represents his final hurdle in his comeback. Curran (31-13-1) will fight Billy Vaughn (9-7) in the main event of XFO 39 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.
“If I can finish this guy off, most likely, I’m going back to the UFC,” Curran told the Sun-Times. “That’s where I want to finish my career —whether I’m successful there or not. I don’t want to go back to the drawing board. I’ve done it too many times in my career.”
Jon Jones and Rashad Evans Nearly Came to Blows in a Vegas Club This Week
It looks like there’s no love lost between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans.
A pirate at the Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that the former Team Jackson training partners came close to getting in a bar fight this week while in town for the Fighter Summit.
According to the story, Jones was sitting at a table at Surrender nightclub with Tito Ortiz and Evans was sitting at the next table with Georges St-Pierre when a verbal back-and-forth between the pair escalated to the point that the current and former UFC light heavyweight champions “got physical” with each other. Apparently St-Pierre had enough of the childish behavior and the UFC welterweight champ told the pair to take the argument outside.
There’s no word as to whether or not they resolved their issues, but they did continue the discussion elsewhere and Evans tweeted the following this morning, so it seems he’s implying that Jones was the scared homie:
UFC Quick Quote: Talk smack about Brock Lesnar and you'll answer to Pat Barry
"TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR ME- BUT MY FRIEND HAD A RELAPSE OF SOMETHING THAT ALMOST KILLED HIM AND LEFT HIS WIFE A WIDOW AND KIDS FARHERLESS! AAAAAAANYBODY GOT SOMETHING SHITTY TO SAY ABOUT HIM DUCKING A FIGHT OR BEING SCARED, COME FIND ME AND I'LL HEAR YOU OUT EYE TO EYE!!! IF U GOT THE SAND!"
Don't let the diaper fool you, UFC heavyweight Pat Barry (via his official Facebook fan page) is mad as hell and he ain't gonna take it anymore. "HD" is ready to defend the name of Brock Lesnar after the former division champion was forced to withdraw from his UFC 131 main event against Junior dos Santos on June 11 in Vancouver following another flare-up of diverticulitis. It seems some of the haters have insinuated that Brock was scared to fight "Cigano" or perhaps lost his desire to compete to which Barry says COME FIND HIM. Anyone gonna start looking?
Maximo Blanco Leaves Sengoku, Eyes UFC and Strikeforce
Sengoku break-out star Maximo Blanco spoke to MMAWeekly.com recently, and there are some interesting bits of info here. The Venezuelen Lightweight fighter confirms that he has left Sengoku, and is now looking to make his name in the US. Blanco has signed with US based management company SuckerPunch Entertainment, and is hoping they can help him as he looks to make his stateside debut. SuckerPunch represents some quality, upper level fighters, including UFC names like Pat Barry and Donald Cerrone, plus fighters for Strikeforce, Bellator, and various other organizations.
If you have never seen Blanco fight, you are missing out. The man is a joy to watch, bringing a wild intensity to his fights...
Jon Olav Einemo's UFC debut uncertain following Shane Carwin's promotion at UFC 131
Jon Olav Einemo (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is without an opponent following Brock Lesnar's withdrawal from UFC 131 and Shane Carwin's promotion to headliner opposite Junior Dos Santos.
Einemo's trainer, Golden Glory's Martin De Jong, was unaware of the change when contacted today by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and began a scramble for answers with an expletive.
UFC president Dana White said today that Einemo's future is currently undetermined. Asked whether a replacement is on the way for the Norwegian fighter, he said, "Not yet."
Junior Dos Santos opens as -260 favorite for UFC 131 bout with Shane Carwin
Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar's career may be on temporary hold, but oddsmakers' work is never done.
With one-time heavyweight title challenger Shane Carwin announced as a replacement opponent for Lesnar in a UFC 131 main event with Junior Dos Santos, noted oddsmaker and frequent MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) guest Joey Oddessa opened the Brazilian slugger as a -260 favorite, meaning a bettor would need to wager $260 in order to earn $100 of the book's money.
Meanwhile, Carwin opened as a +200 underdog, meaning a $100 wager would return a bettor $200 of the book's money in addition to the original wager amount.
Roger Gracie Injured, Possibly Out Of IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championships
We are less than a month away from Sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu's most prestigious tournament and its biggest star's participation may be in jeopardy. Perhaps the world's best BJJ competitor, Roger Gracie has been recovering from an injury that has kept him from training for over a month according to the GracieMag blog:
"I'm not sure if I'll be able to compete this year yet," revealed the Gracie Barra athlete, from London.
"I suffered a leg injury and have been out of training for five weeks. I just started training again now. I'm already training hard and doing my best to be 100% by the Worlds. If I'm feeling well, I'll fight for sure," added the three-time absolute world champion.
Eddie Alvarez Talks About Having the Best Hands at LW, Frankie Edgar
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez was a guest on Fight Corner Radio recently, and they conducted a pretty extensive interview with him. Alvarez is coming off a five round decision win over Pat Curran at Bellator 39, and his next opponent will be decided in two days at Bellator 44 when Patricky Friere meets Michael Chandler in the tournament final. This interview touches mostly on stuff outside the realm of Bellator. It leads off with how Eddie would fare as a professional boxer, and he was surprisingly frank with his thoughts (transcribed by fiveknuckles):
"I don't think I'd do well," Alvarez said. "Just because in boxing it would be hard for me to make 147. And I know boxers here in Philly at that weight and I spar with them, and I get my (expletive) whooped. They're not no world champions either, but these guys are seriously good. It would be really tough for me. I'd have to develop a whole different style of boxing to be successful.
"Actually Bernard (Hopkins) thinks that I would become a world champion; he said it out of his own mouth that he's never seen an MMA fighter box the way that I box. And I felt good about him saying that, but in the back of my head I'm thinking to myself, 'Nah.' Maybe I'm not as confident in myself as some other people are, but I'm not looking to go into pro boxing any time soon."
Brock Lesnar out of UFC 131, Junior Dos Santos now faces Shane Carwin
Diverticulitis has stricken Brock Lesnar again.
In a hastily called conference call, UFC president Dana White announced that the former heavyweight champion has been forced to withdraw from an expected UFC 131 matchup with Junior Dos Santos with a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez on the line.
Despite Lesnar's withdrawal, Dos Santos will remain in the headlining slot of UFC 131, and former title challenger Shane Carwin will face him in the octagon.
Brock: "I'm not retiring... I believe there's a solution to every problem, I just gotta find the right solution... I love this sport."
Ryan Couture Gets Matt Ricehouse for Strikeforce Challengers 16
Ryan Couture, the son of recently retired UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture, is set to face undefeated Matt Ricehouse at Strikeforce Challengers 16 on June 24 in Kent, Wash.
Strikeforce announced Couture's opponent Wednesday as well as the main event featuring Caros Fodor against James Terry.
Couture (2-0) began his professional MMA career at Strikeforce Challengers 10 last August, submitting Lucas Stark with a triangle choke in 75 seconds. His second fight this past February took a little longer, but also resulted in a submission when Couture finished Lee Higgins with a rear-naked choke in the third round.
Bob Reilly Questions Motives Behind Zuffa's Accident Insurance
Mixed martial arts' most vocal critic in New York acknowledges that Zuffa's new accident insurance for its fighters is a positive move but won't go as far as saying it will help get MMA legalized in the Empire State.
MMA Fighting contacted Assemblyman Bob Reilly to discuss whether Zuffa's new insurance policy could help pave the way for the legalization of MMA in New York, and while he at first admitted to not hearing the news, he offered -- for perhaps the first time -- a compliment to the MMA promoters.
"I certainly wouldn't disparage that," Reilly said. "I think that's a good thing."
Mike Dolce Not Working With Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson for UFC 130
Mike Dolce, one of the key members of Team Quinton "Rampage" Jackson for the last couple of years, has not been helping Jackson prepare for his UFC 130 fight against Matt Hamill.
Dolce, a fighter who was a cast member on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter but has gained notoriety as of late for his work as a nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach, had been working closely with Jackson since his UFC 92 fight against Wanderlei Silva.
The pair didn't have a falling out, however, Dolce was just already booked to work with Thiago Alves for his fight against Rick Story at the same event.
Grappling stud Robert Drysdale finds early success in MMA, eyes UFC title in five years
What Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza and Demian Maia can do, so can Robert Drysdale (2-0). That's the thinking, anyway.
Transitioning from high-level grappling competitor to high-level mixed martial artist was made to look easy by the Strikeforce champion Souza and former UFC No. 1 contender Maia. It's not. Ask somebody like Andre Galvao, who has had mixed results so far in his career.
The jury is still out on what level of success Drysdale will eventually attain after making his metamorphosis, which remains in the early stages.