Patricky Freire, Rick Hawn Highlight Bellator Lightweight Tournament
Here's your early look at Bellator's 155-pound tournament with the winner getting a shot at Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler in 2012. With one spot left to go, it's likely that former champion Eddie Alvarez will be the final entrant.
Patricky Freire (10-2): One half of the "Pitbull" brothers, Freire returned to the win column in November with a first round TKO win over Kurt Pellegrino. He advanced to the season five lightweight tourney and lost to Chandler by decision, snapping a five fight win streak.
Thiago Michel (9-2): Michel makes his promotional debut, bringing heavy hands to Bellator with all nine of his wins coming via T/KO.
Ricardo Tirloni (14-1): Tirloni returns to Bellator for his first tournament run on an 11-fight win streak. Adept at finishing fights, Tirloni's lone defeat came at the hands of No. 1 UFC lightweight contender Ben Henderson.
Brent Weedman (18-7-1): A Bellator vet, Weedman is coming off decision losses to Jay Hieron and Chris Lozano. This will mark his lightweight debut.
Rick Hawn (11-1): The Olympian in judo and 2011 welterweight tournament finalist is dropping down to lightweight after his first career loss to Hieron.
J.J. Ambrose (17-3): Ambrose makes his Bellator debut on a seven fight win streak. The California native has 10 of 17 wins via submission.
Lloyd Woodard (11-1): Woodard enters his second 155-pound tournament after he suffered his first career loss to Chandler last April. The man from Montana is 1-1 in Bellator.
Bellator's sixth season kicks off on Friday, March 2nd, with five different tournaments.
Ed Herman calls Bisping "over-rated" - wants Maia and Belcher
“I’d love to fight Alan Belcher or Demian Maia. I’d love to rematch any of the guys I’ve lost to but they’re probably the top two guys on my list. They’re in the top 10 and that’s where I want to be and I feel I can beat those guys. I’d love to fight someone like Michael Bisping or someone like that who I think is over-rated.”
Report: Fabio Maldonado Injured, Out Of Brazil's UFC 142
Tatame is reporting that UFC light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado is out of Saturday's UFC 142 in Rio, Brazil, due to a rib injury. Maldonado was scheduled to face Caio Magalhaes on the undercard, himself an injury replacement for original Maldonado opponent Stanislav Nedkov.
As of this writing, neither the UFC or Maldonado have confirmed the report.
The Rio event has been plagued with injuries as this is the fifth time a bout has been affected by someone getting hurt. The 31-year-old Maldonado was looking to rebound from a decision loss to Kyle Kingsbury in June that evened his Octagon record to 1-1. Before the defeat, he had won 11 straight.
Ben Saunders, War Machine Round Out Bellator 170-Pound Tournament
Here's the field that will look to challenge either current champion Ben Askren or No. 1 contender Douglas Lima later in 2012.
Ben Saunders (12-4-2): The UFC veteran finished all of his first three Bellator fights before running into Lima's fists in a second round KO loss in November's tournament finale.
Brian Foster (18-5): Medically released by the UFC due to a brain hemorrhage and now completely cleared to fight, Foster will make his Bellator debut riding a four fight win streak with four finishes. The 27-year-old is an early favorite to win the tourney.
Bryan Baker (16-3): Baker's story about recovering from leukemia and fighting during his recovery is well-known within MMA circles. Baker was knocked out by Vitor Vianna in the 185-pound tournament semifinals and will make his 170-pound debut in this tourney. He's won five of his last seven.
Karl Amoussou (13-4-2): Amoussou will be looking for his first win streak since 2009. He's 2-2-1 in his last five.
David Rickels (8-0): The undefeated Rickels gets his first shot in a tournament after three straight submission wins on Bellator undercards. He's a dark horse who will finally get a shot against bigger name competition.
Raul Amaya (9-0): The undefeated prospect makes his Bellator debut and has finished all his fights with six submissions.
Carlos Pereira (33-9-1): The most experienced fighter in the field makes his debut in a major U.S.-based promotion, a winner in four of his last six. He'll be looking to expand on his 22 victories by T/KO.
War Machine (12-4): The former Jon Koppenhaver and TUF alum has a checkered past that involves jail time, getting released by Bellator after making comments about Barack Obama and working in porn. He claims he's put all of that behind him and will get his chance at redemption in the tourney. He last beat Roger Huerta by TKO in November.
Bellator's sixth season kicks off Friday, March 2nd.
Fedor Emelianenko possible as Strikeforce's 'plus-one' heavyweight for new champ
Soon, the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix will come to a conclusion, and the entire division then will be sent to the UFC.
But first, the tournament champion – either Josh Barnett or Daniel Cormier – will get one more Strikeforce fight against an opponent to be determined.
While Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said some of those options were eliminated when the UFC gobbled up a handful of Strikeforce fighters for upcoming cards, one famous Russian remains a possibility.
Following Saturday's "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine" event in Las Vegas, Coker discussed the upcoming conclusion of the heavyweight tournament and the possible return of eliminated tourney fighter Fedor Emelianenko. The eight-man tournament began nearly a year ago, and if Cormier's hand is healed in time, it could conclude at a March event in Ohio.
"I'd like to get the tournament done," Coker said. "We started this in February (of 2010). I was hoping at most it'd take us a year. ... But we'll get it done."
Strikeforce's Lawal rips on 'Kermit' Mousasi, sub-par actor Jackson, bad ref Winslow
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal (9-1 MMA, 4-1 SF) has never been one to hold back when it comes to expressing his opinion, and Saturday night was no different.
Following his win over the previously undefeated Lorenz Larkin at Saturday's "Strikeforce: Rockhold vs. Jardine" event in Las Vegas, Lawal railed on fellow light heavyweights Gegard Mousasi and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.
Oh, and the gloves really came off when it came to referee Kim Winslow.
"I'm going to put it like this: The commission, they need to do something with [Winslow]," Lawal said. "Let her take a fight or something and give her a bad ref."
Lawal's anger came from Winslow's seemingly slow stoppage of his fight. In the second round, Lawal took Larkin to the floor and pummeled him with ground-and-pound blows. Winslow finally stepped in after more than a dozen big punches that seemed to bring Larkin in and out of consciousness.
Lawal believed the delay in halting the bout was not only ridiculous but also in stark contrast to the pre-fight instructions he was given.
"She said backstage, 'If I hear 'Ow' or 'Ouch' or 'Ooh,' I'm going to stop the fight,'" Lawal explained. "Man, this dude was cussing. I hit him, and he's like, 'Oh, [expletive].' I was like, 'Uh, ref?'
"I looked at her, so I kept on hitting him. I was like, 'Man, she needs to stop this thing.' I heard people in the crowd yelling, 'Stop it!' Then she jumps in all late."
Lawal said Winslow explained post-fight that her call was based on a desire to give Larkin every possible chance to recover and that "If it takes for him to be asleep, that's what it is."
Lawal believes that's an ill-informed explanation.
"She's never taken a punch before, so it's easy for her to say that," Lawal said.
Lawal cited a previous Winslow outing as proof that the official is sometimes slow to intervene in one-sided matchups. Citing a June 2010 bout in which then-Strikeforce female champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos was mercilessly beating on a defenseless Jan Finney, Lawal said he thinks Winslow may need to take on a different role in the cage to gain a better understanding of what she's watching.
"Let [Winslow] fight 'Cyborg,' and let's do a late stoppage with her," Lawal said. "I watched her almost get Jan Finney killed by 'Cyborg.' I think maybe the tables need to be turned. Put me in there as a ref, and I'll just do a terrible job like her."
Strikeforce confirms four bouts for March 3, says main event still undetermined
With Strikeforce's first 2012 show in the books, the promotion now looks ahead to its next event, and the promotion on Saturday confirmed four bouts for a previously rumored March 3 event.
As expected Strikeforce female bantamweight champion Miesha Tate (12-2 MMA, 5-1 SF) meets undefeated challenger Ronda Rousey (4-0 MMA, 2-0 SF) in one of the night's featured contests, but Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said it's not necessarily the evening's featured bout.
"That's not been determined yet," Coker told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "We're still booking some more fights."
K.J. Noons (11-4 MMA, 3-2 SF) vs. Josh Thomson (18-4 MMA, 9-2 SF), Paul Daley (29-11-2 MMA, 2-2 SF) vs. Kazuo Misaki (24-11-2 MMA, 1-0 SF) and Alexis Davis (11-4 MMA, 2-0 SF) vs. Sarah Kaufman (14-1 MMA, 5-1 SF) were also made official for the card, which takes place at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Coker said the promotion still hopes to feature the finals of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix at the March 3 event but is still waiting on medical clearance for finalist Daniel Cormier.
Jon Jones tells the UFC he’s ready to fight ASAP
After his dominant win at UFC 140, Jon Jones talked about taking a break from fighting and treating his parents to a vacation.
Jones' inactivity lasted just three weeks before he began to get the itch again.
"[Jones] called about four days ago and said 'okay let's go, I'm done with vacation.'" UFC president Dana White said on "The MMA Insiders" on ESPN1100/98.9 FM in Las Vegas (12:37 mark). "He said he wanted to take all this time off and then they were calling me four days ago saying he wants to fight as soon as possible. He's ready to go."
Ed Herman was offered UFC contract before TUF
In an interview with Angrymarks "Glove Up or Shut Up" podcast, Ed Herman revealed that before making the TUF TV show, he was offered a contract to fight in the UFC, but instead he chose the TUF route.
Ed's interview on the podcast is in the first 10 minutes of the show
Strikeforce champ Cris Santos apologizes for failed drug test, blames supplement
I would like to sincerely apologize to Strikeforce, the Zuffa organization, Hioko Yamanaka and my fans for my failed drug test.
I am ultimately responsible for everything I put in my body, and at the end of the day, there is no excuse for having a prohibited substance in my system. I do not condone the use of any performance enhancing drugs by myself or any other professional athlete, and willingly accept the penalties and fines that have been handed down to me by the California State Athletic Commission and those of the Strikeforce/Zuffa organization.
While I was preparing myself for my last fight, I was having a difficult time cutting weight and used a dietary supplement that I was assured was safe and not prohibited from use in sports competition. It was never my intention to obtain an unfair advantage over Hiroko, mislead Strikeforce, the commission or my fans. I train harder than any fighter in MMA and do not need drugs to win in the cage, and I have proven this time and time again! My only mistake is not verifying the diet aid with my doctor beforehand, and understanding that it was not approved for use in the ring. Unfortunately in the end I suffer the consequences and must accept the responsibility for my actions.
I will do everything I can to show my fans that I can still compete at the professional level without the use of any prohibited substances, and ask God's forgiveness for my mistake.
UFC's Jacob Volkmann Put On Administrative Leave After President Obama Joke
Even if the UFC is more of a known entity today than it was five years ago, many of their lower and mid-level fighters still keep additional jobs to help pay the bills. Jacob Volkmann is one of those fighters, keeping up with a chiropractic business and a wrestling coach position at White Bear Lake High School in Minnesota.
He'll have a bit more free time on his hands as he revealed on Twitter that he's again been placed on administrative leave from the school following a joke he made about U.S. President Barack Obama at UFC 141.
BJ Penn Threatens Cesar Gracie As Twitter Feud Continues
The on going beef between Nick Diaz's coach, Cesar Gracie and B.J. Penn continues.
It all started with Penn tweeting Diaz, complaining about the way he fought and taking a shot at Jon Fitch in the process. Gracie responded, saying that Penn is surrounded by "Yes Men" and that he always has excuses for every single loss.
A furious Penn once again took to twitter, and even threatened the 46-year-old MMA and BJJ coach.
Lloyd Woodard joins Bellator's season-six lightweight tournament
Bellator today announced the inclusion of the seventh fighter headed to the promotion's season-six 155-pound tournament, and he's already gotten a taste of what it's like to face a champion.
Season-four veteran Lloyd Woodard (11-1 MMA, 1-1 BFC) was unsuccessful in stopping now-lightweight champ Michael Chandler in a tournament bout, but he hopes to turn things around.
Now, Bellator just needs one more lightweight to round out the eight-man competition. Season-six tournament action kicks off in March and airs live on MTV2.
Ohio commission receives request for March 3 Strikeforce event in Columbus
Although not yet announced by the promotion, Strikeforce's second trip to the popular Arnold Sports Festival is all but official.
Ohio Athletic Commission Executive Director Bernie Profato today confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the promotion has filed an event request for March 3 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
While a list of bouts has yet to be submitted for commission approval, the event is expected to feature the finals of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, as MMAjunkie.com first reported.
Josh Barnett (31-5 MMA, 2-0 SF) and Daniel Cormier (9-0 MMA, 6-0 SF) square off in the conclusion of the eight-man competition, which began 11 months ago at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
Additionally, featherweight Ronda Rousey (4-0 MMA, 2-0 SF) is expected to drop to bantamweight for a meeting with current champ Miesha Tate (12-2 MMA, 5-1 SF), who makes the first defense of her title.
Strikeforce noncommittal on Cris Santos' future; White says belt will be stripped
Strikeforce officials today issued a statement regarding Strikeforce women's featherweight champion Cris "Cyborg" Santos' failed drug test but offered few clues about what's next for the beleaguered titleholder.
In a statement posted on Strikeforce.com, CEO Scott Coker said the organization will allow the California State Athletic Commission's process to play out.
UFC president Dana White, though, painted a much bleaker future.
"She's getting stripped of the belt," White today told ESPN 1100 AM Las Vegas' "MMA Insiders" show.
White, part of the Zuffa ownership group that acquired Strikeforce in early 2011, also suggested Strikeforce's entire 145-pound female division could be scrapped.
Former UFC fighter Hermes Franca sentenced to 42 months in prison for sexual abuse of underaged student
A former Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title contender has been sentenced to more than three years in prison after being convicted this week of sexually abusing an underage female student at his Clackamas martial arts school.
Hermes Franca Barros, 37, pleaded guilty in Clackamas County Court on Wednesday to one count of unlawful penetration and one count of first-degree sexual abuse. He was sentenced to 3½ years in prison.
He was arraigned in May on seven counts of first-degree sexual abuse and two counts of second-degree unlawful sexual penetration. The remaining counts were dismissed.
Barros will also have four and a half years of post-prison supervision and must register as a sex offender.
K.J. Noons vs. Josh Thomson targeted for 'Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Cormier' in March
A pivotal lightweight match is likely headed to a yet-unannounced Strikeforce event planned for March.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that K.J. Noons (11-4 MMA, 3-2 SF) and Josh Thomson (18-4 MMA, 9-2 SF) have verbally agreed to meet.
As MMAjunkie.com first reported, "Strikeforce Grand Prix Final: Barnett vs. Cormier" takes place March 3 at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio. The event airs live on Showtime with prelims on Showtime Extreme.
Noons rebounded from a two-fight skid with a decision victory over Billy Evangelista this past month at "Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Masvidal." The win put him one step closer to a coveted title shot against current champ Gilbert Melendez, who outpointed Jorge Masvidal in the event's headliner.