Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center emerges as frontrunner for UFC on Versus 4
Two strong options for the UFC's fourth Versus-broadcast event have now narrowed to one.
Sources close to negotiations today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Pittsburgh's 19,000-seat Consol Energy Center is a leading candidate to host UFC on Versus 4.
The event is targeted for June 26, though the promotion has yet to make anything official, and Pennsylvania State Athletic Commission said earlier this week that talks are still in the preliminary stages.
Previous UFC on Versus events have touched down in Broomfield, Colo., San Diego, and most recently Louisville, Ky.
The promotion hosted UFC 101 in Philadelphia, and the same city is rumored for a summer event this year. However, Pittsburgh, one of the nation's great sports cities, never has hosted a show.
As of now, two fights are targeted for the June 26 card: Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo and Matt Brown vs. Rich Attonito.
Barry comes into the fight with win over Joey Beltran in his most recent performance, and Kongo hopes to rebound from a draw against Travis Browne.
Meanwhile, Matt Brown is in a must-win situation after three consecutive losses, and Attonito is on the mend from his first octagon setback.
Alvarez: Rankings ‘Nonsense’
Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez doesn't think much of the MMA media's top-10 rankings. According to the fighter, they help little when he steps into the cage. In the negotiating room, however, it's a different story.
“I understand that in order to get in the rankings, you have to first gain popularity. And I’ve been saying this over and over. There are going to be guys in the next couple of years from Bellator who are going to be ranked in the top-10, and that's not necessarily because they are better than the UFC guys,” said Alvarez during Wednesday's media conference call.
“[The rankings] are very subjective and very political. I think it's more of a popularity contest than a talent contest. Rankings, to me, are just a way to negotiate my money with a promotion. Other than that, they hold no bearing. It's all nonsense. A No. 1 guy can lose to a No. 10 guy any day of the week.”
That statement may hold special significance for Alvarez, who currently ranks as the fifth-best lightweight in the world. On Saturday, the Philadelphia Fight Factory standout will defend his lightweight title against the unranked Pat Curran at Bellator 39 from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Despite the perceived disparity in ability, Alvarez asserts that he has studied Curran's tendencies closely in preparation for their bout, which will air live on MTV2.
“I'm very fortunate to have the support that I have from my wife, my family and my fans. They allow me to be very selfish and just focus on the guy I have in front of me,” said Alvarez. “That's what makes me quite dangerous. I get crazy with watching tape, studying moves, going over things. It gets monotonous, but when I get sick of it, that's when I know I’m ready.”
Both accomplished grapplers in high school, some have questioned which fighter holds the advantage in the pure wrestling department. But for the champion, the answer to that question -- much like his opinion on divisional rankings -- means little when it comes to the fight.
“Pure wrestling doesn't really mean anything to me anymore. It's really about the ability to transition from one art to another seamlessly,” said Alvarez. “If Pat does have good wrestling, I don't feel like he uses it. I don't think that he is good at transitioning from his stand-up to his wrestling. I’ve been watching a lot of his tapes, and it looks like he gives it away. He makes it look like it's coming.”
While the champion did not explicitly give a prediction as to how his main event confrontation with Curran would end, he did elaborate on the respect he holds for his foe, who won Bellator's second-season tournament to earn a shot at the strap. That said, Alvarez is hoping that the underdog Curran holds nothing back when they go nose-to-nose inside Bellator's circular cage.
“I actually look up to Pat. It's something I did in 2008. Nobody knew who I was, and I put myself in a pit of fire in the Dream tournament. I think a lot of people are counting this kid out as well, but I’m praying that Pat comes to fight me and doesn't come to quit on me. I want him to fight me like he wants to win so we can put on a great show for all these people watching.
M-1 Challenge 24 Nets 189,000 Viewers on Showtime
reported 189,000 viewers tuned in to watch M-1 Global’s debut on Showtime, which aired at 11 p.m. ET on March 26.
M-1 Challenge 24, which was headlined by a lightweight title confrontation between Artiom Damkovsky and Jose Figueroa, took place at the Ted Constant Convocation Center on the campus of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va.
MMAJunkie.com first reported the numbers on Wednesday, and Sherdog.com confirmed the statistics with a source close to the event. The program reportedly earned a 0.52 household rating; demographic information was not available at the time of this report.
In the main event, Figueroa snatched the promotion’s lightweight belt from Damkovsky in the Belarusian’s first title defense. After scoring multiple takedowns, the American Top Team Orlando-trained Figueroa finished the fight with ground-and-pound in the second period.
The event also saw co-headliner Magomed Sultanakhmedov capture the vacant M-1 middleweight strap, as he knocked out Team Quest representative Tyson Jeffries in the second frame. Using unpredictable strikes to both the head and body of his foe, Sultanakhmedov earned his seventh consecutive knockout victory at 3:07 of round two.
Carlos Condit Would Fight Teammate Diego Sanchez Under the Right Circumstances
As the time rapidly approaches when former teammates Jon Jones and Rashad Evans will square off for the UFC light heavyweight championship, the question about other top fighters training out of the Team Jackson camp facing one another continue to swirl.
One pairing that could be on a collision course one day is former WEC welterweight champion Carlos Condit and his teammate Diego Sanchez.
Condit is currently ranked in the Top 10 in the welterweight division, and with Sanchez’s recent win over Martin Kampmann, he isn’t trailing too far behind either.
Beyond just being teammates, Condit believes the hardest part of fighting someone you work with is figuring out how you’d train for each other.
“As far as teammates fighting each other, some different things arise like who’s going to train where for the fight? Are you guys still going to be at the same gym? Are you going to come in, in the morning? Is the other guy going to come in at night? It’s all something to be considered,” Condit said recently.
Condit is readying for a return to action after a knee injury forced him out of his scheduled fight at UFC 127 against Chris Lytle. While no date for his return has been set, Condit is likely to end up on one of the summer cards, possibly in June or July.
He returned home to New Mexico to train with Team Jackson, and Sanchez went back to his original camp as well after spending several years working in and around California.
While the pair of welterweights haven’t been asked to fight yet, Condit believes that if the right situation came about, he’d fight Sanchez, but not just for giggles.
“As far as fighting Diego, me and him are teammates and training partners. If it was a title fight, like a very, very big fight, we could put friendship and everything aside, and go scrap. But unless it’s something like that, we’d probably try to avoid it,” Condit stated.
Right now, both Condit and Sanchez are awaiting opponents, but they don’t seem to be in the position where the UFC would have to see them fight each other. But if both continue their climb towards the top of the division, it’s something that may happen sooner rather than later.
James Krause Plans More of the Same After 41-Second KO
Admittedly, when James Krause has had opportunities to shine on the bigger stages of MMA, things didn’t work out for one reason or another.
Losses in two WEC bouts followed by a loss in Bellator forced Krause to step back, take a year off, and re-evaluate himself.
“I think the WEC, I had two really tough fights right off the bat – which I’m not complaining about – tough fights are tough fights and I don’t mind them,” he told MMAWeekly.com. “The (Toby) Imada fight I took on short notice and cut 30 pounds for it, so I physically wasn’t there.
“People assume that you just take time off and you’re not really doing anything; that’s definitely not the case. I was working hard the whole time.”
Krause continued, “I think the main thing I’ve done is starting to have fun with it again. I had a lot of fights early and I just kind of quit having fun with it, and I just got back to that and just being myself and not worrying about politics and all that crap.”
Krause returned from his year away with a bang, knocking out Nathan Schut in just 41 seconds at Titan FC 17 this past Friday.
“I hadn’t planned on knocking him out that quick, but my game plan was perfect,” he stated. “The plan was to run from him for 30 seconds and stay away from him, feel the range and frustrate him.
“In all his fights he engages fast, so we wanted to stay away from him and find the right timing. He kept coming in a little bit closer each time, and I managed to put him out.”
Krause feels he’s matured over the last year and now intends on taking his career at a much different pace than it started out.
“I don’t want to put any pressure on myself, and I just want to take it as it comes,” he commented. “I don’t want to rush myself too much, which was my big problem with the WEC. It’s not that I wasn’t mentally prepared, but looking back on it; it was too early for me.
“You could be correct in saying I wasn’t ready for it. I’m a much better fighter now than I was then. I’m getting back on the horse and I’m getting ready to do it again and I’m in no hurry.”
After taking time off in May to get married, Krause is looking to return at mid-year and take the steps needed to face top competition.
“When I come back I would really like to fight somebody with a name: A UFC vet or an Ultimate Fighter vet and really gauge where I’m at and go from there,” he stated.
“I just want to be an exciting fighter. I’d rather lose an exciting fight than win a boring one – I really mean that. Fans want to see hard punches, exchanges and knockouts, and I want to put on those kinds of fights.”
Having reassessed the way he does things, Krause feels he’s a more mature fighter and will be all the better for it as he makes his way back to the big time.
“I want to thank Posterboy Clothing and Team Grindhouse,” he concluded. “We’ve got a lot of good guys and we all train hard and you’re going to start seeing our names pop up and people are going to start recognizing us as a really solid team in the Midwest.”
Should He Stay Or Should He Go Now? Does Dan Hardy Deserve Another Shot in the UFC?
Dan “The Outlaw” Hardy at UFC Fight Night 24 on Saturday night lost his third consecutive fight, to super-sized welterweight contender Anthony “Rumble” Johnson. At this level of competition consistency is key and back to back losses is a quick way to set your career back to the minor leagues. MMA, however, is an individual sport. Every fighter is different and needs to be treated differently.
It took four straight losses before Keith Jardine got the boot. While Todd Duffee, a promising up-and-comer, who holds the record for the fastest knockout in the UFC (7 seconds), was handed his walking papers after his first loss in a fight that he was winning until he got caught with his hands down. Duffee’s release was later attributed to more of an attitude issue than a performance problem, but the loss was all the excuse needed to send him packing.
Dan Hardy is not Keith Jardine nor is he Todd Duffee. Hardy’s case should and will be handled differently than anyone else. His situation is as unique as his mohawk is red. To determine “The Outlaw’s” future with the UFC, we have to evaluate what he’s selling and if he can still close the deal.
Hardy’s product is brash, fun and entertaining. He burst into the MMA mainstream and quickly became a love him or hate him character. In the past, his ability to start and sell a fight has been nothing short of impressive.
He fast tracked himself to the Top 10 by starting a fight with then contender Marcus Davis. He sealed his number one contender status with a good performance against Mike Swick. At the pre-fight press conference of the Swick fight, Hardy gave Swick a Runners Up trophy. It was one of the funniest moves in pre-fight banter in the history of the sport. There was no doubt about Hardy’s ability to entertain. In the past, Hardy walked the talk, backing up his words with his in-Octagon actions.
Hardy has not been the same “Outlaw” since his loss to UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, the fight that started his recent skid. Hardy was the first Englishman to get a title shot in the UFC. Going into that bout, he was certainly himself. He had plenty to say about what he was going to do to GSP. He was also very much himself when he was unable to compete with GSP when it became a grappling match. While a very competent striker, Hardy has never been known for wrestling or jiu-jitsu. The GSP fight was one that most never really expected him to win. The loss is respectable considering that GSP is in the top two on most pound-for-pound lists. Despite the loss, Hardy showed a lot of heart and resiliency against the future hall of famer and I don’t think anyone weighs the loss too heavily against him.
Hardy’s next fight was against Carlos Condit. Condit had a couple tough wins in less-than-dominant performances as well as a close decision loss in his first few UFC fights. Coming in, Hardy was the favorite, being a man who just had a title shot. Hardy seemed especially motivated for this fight because Condit asked for him specifically. That seemed to bother Hardy and really fire him up. While respect was given from both sides, Hardy, as usual, had plenty to say about his opponent. Despite his talk, this time he was unable to back it up and found himself on the wrong end of the Knockout of the Night.
Anthony Johnson putting the beatdown on Dan HardyIn his most recent outing against Anthony Johnson, there was very little talk. The usual amount of respect was given and a little fun was poked at Johnson’s weight issues, but other than that, Hardy was not very outspoken. Hardy lost this fight from bell to bell. After a feeling out process in the beginning of the first round, Johnson threw a high kick that Hardy blocked most of with his arm, but was knocked to the canvas regardless. The rest of the fight was spent with Hardy fighting off of his back, mostly playing defense and trying to get to his feet. It was not the stand-up war that everyone expected and it certainly was not a Fight of the Night candidate. Hardy failed to deliver on all of the things that fans have come to expect of him. He did not hype the fight with his usual trash talk, and, keeping in mind that it takes two people to make a fight, Hardy failed to deliver an exciting bout.
In his last few fights, Hardy hasn’t been the guy that made him popular. Can Dan still close the deal? Can he still get the fans to buy his product? Maybe you can attribute this recent lack of success to bad match-ups.
The fact is GSP has made a career out of being a bad match-up for anyone. Johnson was not a great match-up for Hardy either. Johnson is a much bigger guy who neutralized Hardy’s strength in striking with his own. He is also a much more skilled wrestler, which is what won him the fight. What about Condit? Hardy has always been known for his striking. He and Condit threw the same punch at the same time and Condit’s was faster and cleaner. Maybe Hardy’s frustration with Condit caused him to be reckless and he paid for it.
Despite his recent troubles, Hardy has done a very good job of selling fights and, typically, performing. Just barely one year ago, Hardy fought for the welterweight championship.
But, we’re not here to make excuses.
Can he get back to what made him such a huge success in the first place?
After three straight losses in the UFC, does Hardy deserve one last chance?
Matt Hughes Plans 1 or 2 Fights in 2011, But Retirement Looming
Despite coming off of a 21-second knockout loss at the hands of BJ Penn at UFC 123 last November, Matt Hughes isn’t exactly ready to hang up the gloves.
Yes, he’s been laying low since the Penn fight, but Hughes says he will return to the Octagon later this year, probably some time around the end of summer or early fall. He’s not, however, planning on fighting three times this year like he did in 2011. He says more like “one, maybe two fights tops.”
“I’ll be honest, I’m 37 years old, my competitors are around 28 years old. It’s about time for Matt Hughes to find something else to do,” Hughes revealed in an interview with HDNet’s Ron Kruck. “I don’t have a whole lot of fights left in me.”
Already a UFC Hall of Famer, having won the UFC welterweight title on two different occasions, defending said belt seven times, and racking up 18 victories in the Octagon, Matt Hughes won’t quickly be forgotten once he does hang up the gloves for the final time.
Aaron Rosa Not Impressed by Bobby Lashley, Wants UFC Shot
With four wins in a row, former Strikeforce fighter Aaron Rosa has put himself back in the heavyweight mix.
As he recently told MMAWeekly.com, the key to his resurgence since his loss to Rafael Feijao in November of 2009 is the fact that, “I didn’t let that fight against Feijao get me down.
“If you really want something, you’ve just got to keep going for it, no matter what. I really want this. I’ve got all my family supporting me and they keep pushing me forward.”
Wins over Robert Villegas and Jay Peche helped get Rosa back on track, but what really stood out to him was his three round war with Devin Cole in September.
“I thought it was my best fight to date,” he stated. “It really showed that I could push forward and keep going through adversity.
“He took me down, I fought off my back, I got back up and he hit me and I hit him. It not only showed that I had heart, but also the skill set to step up in competition.”
Rosa was able to carry over his momentum to last Friday’s Titan FC show, where he handily defeated former Ultimate Fighter cast member Abe Wagner via rear naked choke just under a minute into the second round.
“(He) came out aggressive and it kind of threw me off a little bit, but I regained composure,” said Rosa. “And after we had that first exchange, I came out on top and he was smiling, so that means I hit him hard and he knows what’s up and he just can’t run me over.
“I was surprised in the second round where he tried to come after me again, and what happened, happened.”
While Rosa is happy with the way he performed that night, he was not impressed with the evening’s headliner, Bobby Lashley, who survived severely gassing en route to a unanimous decision victory over John Ott.
“I don’t want to talk too much smack, but (the way he won) just looks bad,” commented Rosa.
“I watched the whole film of where he has his own training facility in Colorado at high altitude, and he has all these nice things like people giving him massages. You see what that dude’s got and he can’t last 15 minutes? That’s ridiculous.”
Since he’s currently working a job that routinely forces him to work 11 hours a day on top of his training routine, Rosa doesn’t like to look too far ahead of himself when it comes to the fight game, but he does have one wish he’d like to see come true.
“My main goal is that I want to fight for the UFC one day,” he admitted. “I just want one fight; just give me the opportunity to do it. I think I’ve proved myself over my career that I can compete.
“I just want one chance, and if you give me that chance, I’ll take it.”
Should Rosa continue his winning ways, there’s no reason why he could not receive his dream shot, and he promises if he gets it, he’ll make it work while to the fans that come out to support him.
“I want to thank God, my family, Richard Odoms, Pete Spratt, Rodrigo Pinheiro, Mike Rangel and all the people who have been driving me forward and helping me since I started fighting,” said Rosa in closing.
“To the fans, I promise you for sure I’m not going to get tired in my fights; I’m going to try to put people out one way or another. I know people pay money to watch what we do, so I’m going to do my best to give them the best show that they pay for.”
Report: Zuffa Not Intent On Signing Fedor to the UFC
Well it looks like Dana White is sending a message to fighters whose camps think they’re bigger than the UFC.
According to a report by LifeSports.ru, which cites “a source close to the fighter,” Zuffa has passed on a proposed deal with M-1 to sign the Russian management group’s biggest client, Fedor Emelianenko to a new UFC contract.
M-1's failed dealings with the UFC over the past few years have been well documented, which no doubt left a bad taste in White’s mouth and likely contributed to the UFC president’s decision to pass on locking in the former number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
The source from Fedor’s camp said that The Last Emperor’s back-to-back losses and the high salary demands led to the latest contract impasse with the UFC, who recently purchased Strikeforce.
Depending on how Emelianenko does in his next bout, the former PRIDE heavyweight champion may be reserved to finishing up the last three bouts on his current Strikeforce deal without ever setting foot in the UFC Octagon.
To clarify, Fedor still has a deal in place that was signed in Janary to ensure his participation in the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, but it’s rumored that the UFC has already begun renegotiating new contracts with fighters in place of the promotion’s deals they had with fighters before the buyout.
Mike Kyle Withdraws From Gegard Mousasi Fight
Mike Kyle has been forced to pull out of next week's fight against Gegard Mousasi due to a broken hand suffered in training, Strikeforce director of communications Mike Afromowitz confirmed with MMA Fighting.
Strikeforce is currently looking for a replacement to fight Mousasi, but the organization has yet to sign anyone as of Thursday afternoon.
The Kyle-Mousasi fight was scheduled to be a part of April 9's four-fight card, co-headlined by Nick Diaz vs. Paul Daley and Gilbert Melendez vs. Tatsuya Kawajiri.
Randy Couture’s Next Retirement Tentatively Scheduled for April 30th
During his 14-year MMA career, Randy Couture has ditched the UFC no less than three times — once in 1998 to pursue opportunities in Japan, the second time due to a short-lived retirement in 2006 following his second knockout loss to Chuck Liddell, and finally in 2007 due to a money disputes and a perceived lack of respect. Each time, the lure of competition has brought him back to his home in the Octagon. But there’s only so much a 47-year-old can take, and after a series of vague hints in recent months, it seems like Randy is preparing us for his final departure, seriously, for real this time.
M-1 Global Denies Fedor Emelianenko Cut From Strikeforce Contract
Earlier today a rumor spread through the MMA community that Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko had been cut from his Strikeforce contract. The move would have likely ended Emelianenko's career on the sport's largest stage.The Russian website LifeSports.ru reported the news this morning saying:
Business owners UFC and Strikeforce have refused to renew the contract with the world champion in MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko.
Phil Baroni, Frank Trigg targeted for BAMMA 6 appearances, but contracts not yet signed
UFC and PRIDE veterans Phil Baroni and Frank Trigg have each been targeted for an appearance at May's BAMMA 6 event, but neither has committed to the fight card.
The potential bookings were first reported by MMA Fighting.com, but MMAjunkie.com has subsequently confirmed with sources close to the fighters that neither has signed a bout agreement for the event.
BAMMA 6, which is expected to feature a middleweight title fight between current BAMMA champ Tom "Kong" Watson and Murilo "Ninja" Rua, is scheduled for May 21 at London's Wembley Arena.
Joey Beltran vs. Dave Herman added to UFC 131 in Vancouver
It's "The Mexicutioner" against "Pee Wee."
UFC executives today announced that Joey Beltran (12-5 MMA, 2-2 UFC) and Dave Herman (20-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet at UFC 131.
While not yet officially announced by the promotion, UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Herman was originally expected to face British slugger Rob Broughton. No reason was given for the change in plans.
Dana White Supports Overtime to Take Draws Out of the UFC
The UFC has already had two pay-per-view main events end in draws this year, with neither fighter getting his hand raised in the Frankie Edgar vs Gray Maynard fight at UFC 125, or the B.J. Penn vs. Jon Fitch fight at UFC 127.
UFC President Dana White wasn't satisfied with those decisions, and he'd like to do something about it: Add overtime to UFC fights.
Jon Fitch Out of UFC 132 Rematch With BJ Penn
Still 13 weeks out from his rematch with BJ Penn at UFC 132, Jon Fitch has pulled out of the fight due to a training injury.
Sources close to the UFC confirmed the news to MMA Fighting on Wednesday. Word of Fitch's withdrawal from the bout was first reported by MMA Weekly.
There is no word yet on a possible replacement for Fitch. The fight was expected to determine the top contender for the UFC welterweight title currently held by Georges St-Pierre.
Fitch and Penn fought to a majority draw at UFC 127 in Sydney last month when two judges scored the fight 28-28, giving Penn the first and second rounds, and a 10-8 to Fitch in the third. One judge scored the fight 29-28 in favor of Fitch.
Karo Parisyan not fighting at Shark Fights 15
Recent rumors that Karo Parisyan is returning to action at an upcoming Shark Fights event are untrue, the former UFC welterweight today told MMAjunkie.com.
Parisyan was rumored to meet Strikeforce veteran Paul Bradley, and while the matchup was originally targeted for Shark Fights 15, it has since fallen by the wayside.
"There was some contractual stuff for us to go to California that we decided to pass on," Shark Fights president Brent Medley added.
UFC's Chris Lytle Answers Dan Hardy's Challenge; "Let's Do it!"
"I think it would be awesome. I know exactly how he feels. He wants to go out there and fight. Just get out there and bang. He didn't get to do that in his last fight and I'm all about it. Let's do it!"
UFC Welterweight scrap machine Chris Lytle tells Duane Finley that he accepts Dan Hardy's challenge with open arms. After Hardy lost a lopsided decision to Anthony Johnson he posted on his Twitter account that he was disappointed and wanted to face an opponent who was looking to actually fight him. He then went on to address "Mr. Lytle" directly and now "Lights Out" has answered back. Lytle has been vocal throughout his career that he is only interested in fighting opponents who come into the octagon with the intention to fight him and with Hardy having lost three straight, the British slugger's back is against the wall. A potential matchup between two of the division's most exciting stand-up fighters would certainly produce fireworks and now it is up to the UFC to make it happen.
April's UFC Fan Expo features training sessions with Liddell, Penn, Pettis
Mixed martial arts fans are invited to train with Chuck Liddell, B.J. Penn and Anthony Pettis.
UFC officials today announced that the three fighters will each host two-hour training and development sessions at April's UFC Fan Expo Toronto.
"This is the ultimate opportunity for fans to train alongside three of the UFC's biggest stars,” UFC president Dana White stated in an official release. "Liddell, Penn and Pettis are some of the most gifted athletes we've ever seen in the octagon, and we're really excited to give fans the chance to learn from them at the UFC Fan Expo."