Evans-Jones Rift Escalates; Rumors Swirl That Rashad Has Left Team Jackson
The Jon Jones-Rashad Evans situation is heating up as we get closer to Jones’ fight with Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at UFC 128 Saturday night in New Jersey.
If you haven’t been following along at home, here’s the score:
• Jones hungrily accepted the UFC’s offer to fill in for Evans against Rua when his Team Jackson teammate injured his knee and had to postpone fighting for the title.
• Evans took umbrage with Jones hopping the line since he waited on the sidelines for over a year to get a crack at Rua while the UFC light heavyweight champ recovered from knee surgery, but he took the high road and decided to bite his tongue on the matter.
• Jones reneged on an earlier pact to never fight Evans and goes on record saying during an interview with Versus that he would have no problem facing “Suga.”
• When put on the spot about Jones quote about fighting him during MMA Live, Evans basically said “he ain’t no bitch” and that if that’s what “Bones” said, he would have to fight him.
• Jones tells reporters during a media conference call for UFC 128, “I absolutely hate when people mention Rashad Evans, especially throughout this training camp….for people to even be mentioning Rashad Evans right now…I think it’s ludicrous. Rashad is not in my mind, he’s not in my being, he has absolutely zero to do with my heart and who I am right now. This guy has nothing to do with Shogun and from here on out, I don’t think I’ll answer a question about Rashad. I have a lot of people outside of Rashad who I can draw energy and power from and they’ll all be with me.”
Which brings us to this week.
Schaub Ready for Cro Cop Thanks to Team Intervention
Brendan Schaub's coaches were worried about him. He'd started his training camp roughly three months out from his fight with Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 128, and the wear and tear was starting to show.
His body wasn't reacting the way it should have, he said. He'd do one round of sparring or mitt work and feel exhausted. It was like he was getting in worse shape as the weeks wore on. To put it simply, he'd burned himself out. That's when his coaches got together and insisted that he leave the gym and not come back for at least three days.
Bellator 36 debut scores 230,000 viewers; replay lands 241,000
Bellator's second season-four event, Bellator 36, netted 230,000 viewers for MTV2's live broadcast, and the immediate replay actually outdrew the live airing with 241,000 fans tuning in.
The live airing earned a 16 percent increase from this season's debut episode, and the immediate replay earned an astounding 90 percent increase over the previous week's replay broadcast...
Melvin Guillard vs. Shane Roller set for UFC 132 in Las Vegas
Melvin Guillard has another hurdle to clear before he breaks into the role of lightweight title challenger.
"The Young Assassin" meets recent knockout artist Shane Roller at UFC 132, which is expected to take place July 2 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The UFC today announced the bout. It's unknown if Guillard vs. Roller will air on the pay-per-view event's main card.
Matt Brown meets Rich Attonito at The Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale
"The Immortal" likely has one last shot to get a win before he gets shuffled out of the octagon.
Matt Brown is expected to meet Rich Attonito at The Ultimate Fighter 13, according to sources close to the event who today told MMAjunkie.com that verbal agreements are in place for the bout.
Heavy.com first reported the fight.
Sam Stout vs. Yves Edwards on tap for UFC 131
A lightweight bout between veterans Sam Stout (16-6-1 MMA, 5-5 UFC) and Yves Edwards (40-16-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) will be part of UFC 131.
Sources close to the negotiations today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) the matchup is in the process of being finalized.
Another excellent fight for this ppv. I'm really excited for this one. This could easily be FOTN. I can't even pick a winner here, maybe the slightest of edges to Stout because I'm Canadian?
Any thoughts on this matchup Playground?
Mac Danzig vs. Donald Cerrone grudge match slatted for UFC 131 in Vancouver
Some good good ol' trash-talking has secured Mac Danzig (20-8-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) a fight with fellow lightweight Donald Cerrone (14-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) at UFC 131.
UFC officials today announced the June 11 bout, which came about after Danzig's recent Twitter insults.
"So all you have to do to secure a fight you haven't earned is wear a silly hate, call yourself 'Cowboy' and talk trash?" Danzig wrote in January after Cerrone earned a late-replacement booking with Paul Kelly.
Spike TV debuts "Jon Jones: In the Moment" on Thursday ahead of UFC 128
Spike TV unveils a new type of pre-event preview show on Thursday with the debut of "UFC Presents Jon Jones: In the Moment."
The special airs at 11 p.m. ET/PT ahead of Jones' UFC 128 title fight on Saturday with UFC light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
Officials told MMAjunkie.com the half-hour special follows the fighter's pre-fight preparations, told from his point of view with no narration.
UFC officials: Elbow strikes coming to Strikeforce, broadcast teams to remain intact
Ultimate Fighting Championship executives today said that Showtime will retain control over the broadcast and look of Strikeforce events.
But there is one big difference that fans immediately will notice when the recently purchased promotion next goes on air: the use of elbows on the ground.
UFC co-owner and executive Lorenzo Fertitta said the Strikeforce fighters now will compete under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts, which allow the strikes.
Strikeforce currently forbids elbows on the ground. Officials claim they cause cuts that unfairly alter the course of a fight. Some MMA fans liked the rule while others said it neutered the action inside the cage.
Elbows to the Head on the Ground Now Allowed in Strikeforce
Although UFC President Dana White insists that things will remain "business as usual" now that his company has purchased Strikeforce, one rules change will be implemented: Elbows to the head on the ground will now be allowed in Strikeforce.
UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta said on a conference call announcing the purchase Monday that Strikeforce will implement all of the unified rules of mixed martial arts that the UFC uses, and that includes allowing elbows to the head on the ground. The banning of those elbows has been the one significant difference between Strikeforce fights and UFC fights, and that difference will go away.
Pat Barry vs. Cheick Kongo on tap for UFC on Versus 4 in June
Pat Barry (6-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) and Cheick Kongo (15-6-2 MMA, 8-4-1 UFC) are the first fighters earmarked for UFC on Versus 4.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the heavyweights have verbally agreed to meet, and contracts are expected to be signed shortly. MMAWeekly.com first reported the matchup.
UFC on Versus 4 takes place June 26, and the night's main card airs live on Versus.
The promotion hasn't locked down a city and venue to host the event.
UFC Fight Night 24: Amir Sadollah vs DaMarques Johnson booked with James Wilks out
Third time's the charm.
Amir Sadollah, initially set to fight Duane Ludwig before he was replaced by James Wilks due to injury, has yet another opponent for UFC Fight Night 24 on March 26 in Seattle, in the form of DaMarques Johnson.
MiddleEasy.com brought word of the change earlier today.
After winning The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) Season 7, Sadollah was plagued by injuries that kept him out of the Octagon for over a year. Following a disappointing TKO loss to Johny Hendricks at UFC 101, Sadollah earned unanimous decision victories over Phil Baroni and Brad Blackburn.
He recently rebounded from a unanimous decision loss to Dong Hyun Kim with a win over Peter Sobotta at UFC 122.
DaMarques Johnson will come into this fight, on just two weeks notice, looking to build on his impressive back-breaking win over Mike Guymon at UFC Fight Night 23: "Fight for the Troops 2" back on Jan. 22, 2011.
For now, Melendez vs. Kawajiri title fight a go for "Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley"
Although the past week's earthquake in Japan initially cast doubt on the fight, a championship bout between lightweight titleholder Gilbert Melendez (18-2 MMA, 8-1 SF) and Tatsuya Kawajiri (27-6-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) is a go.
On Saturday MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported that fellow lightweights K.J. Noons and Jorge Masvidal were told to remain on standby in case their Japanese counterparts were unable to make it to the U.S.
However, sources close to the organization told MMAjunkie.com the past 24 hours have brought word that Melendez vs. Kawajiri should remain part of the April 9 card.
"Mighty Mouse" vs. Barao, Yamamoto vs. Cariaso added to UFC 130
A pair of bantamweight bouts has been added to May's UFC 130 card in Las Vegas.
They include Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson vs. Renan Barao and Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Chris Cariaso.
UFC officials today announced the fights, which takes place May 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with a lightweight title fight and third match between champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
UFC's Strikeforce purchase likely hastened by ProElite Inc. interest
The UFC apparently wasn't the only suitor of Strikeforce.
ProElite Inc., the once-mighty fight-promotion company purchased for pennies on the dollar in February 2010 by Stratus Media Group Inc., had been in active negotiations with the recently acquired Strikeforce and had met face to face with CEO Scott Coker, sources close to the negotiations today told MMAjunkie.com.
"There were offers made both ways," said one source.
Dan Henderson: One Fight Left on Current Deal, but Open to Working with Zuffa Again
The announcement on Saturday that Zuffa had purchased Strikeforce sent shockwaves throughout the MMA industry. None maybe more than with the fighters currently under contract to Strikeforce who found out that now they have a new owner starting now.
Dan Henderson, who just won the Strikeforce light heavyweight title last Saturday night, was admittedly thrown back when he heard that news that his old bosses at the UFC were now taking over the company he currently fights for.
“It’s a little shocking. I had no idea,” Henderson told MMAWeekly.com on Saturday. “I know there were rumors 6 months ago, but I was pretty shocked. I don’t know what to feel about it, I don’t necessarily think, it might not be the best thing for the sport. But then again you’re going to start being able to see all these match-ups that everyone wants to see. Who knows.”
Bongfeldt vs. McGee added to June's UFC 131 event
The UFC's return to Vancouver continues to take shape, and the promotion has officially added two more contests to the quickly filling lineup.
UFC executives announced late Friday night that Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz and Jesse Bongfeldt vs. Court McGee will take place at UFC 131.
Additionally, UFC executives also officially added a pair of bouts previously reported by MMAjunkie.com; Darren Elkins faces Michihiro Omigawa and Anthony Perosh meets Krzysztof Soszynski.
Nick Catone now meets Costantinos Philippou in UFC 128 catchweight fight
After losing opponent Dan Miller to another booking, middleweight Nick Catone now meets Ring of Combat veteran and UFC newcomer Costantinos Philippou in a UFC 128 preliminary-card bout.
UFC officials today announced the 195-pound catchweight fight.
UFC 128 takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and features a light-heavyweight title match between champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and challenger Jon Jones.