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.
Dann Miller in for Akiyama at UFC 128
UFC President Dana White announced today another change to next weekend's main card. “Yoshihiro Akiyama will not be able to participate at UFC 128 due to the tragedy in Japan," said White.
"New Jersey native Dan Miller proves once again that he will fight anyone, anywhere, anytime by agreeing to step up from the prelims to face Nate Marquardt," added White. "Marquardt has long been a top ten ranked middleweight and Miller jumped at the opportunity to face him.”
The change means that brothers Dan Miller and Jim Miller will both appear on the main card in their home state.
In the Wake of Massive Quake in Japan, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Family Safe
In the wake of the tragic earthquake that struck Japan late last night, UFC president Dana White has updated fans on middleweight Yoshihiro Akiyama, who was training in his home area for his upcoming fight at UFC 128.
Akiyama, who had trained part time in the United States for his past few fights, stayed at home in Japan for his bout in New Jersey against Nate Marquardt, due to his affiliation with Greg Jackson’s team where the Japanese fighter had worked previously.
“Akiyama and his family are safe,” White tweeted late on Friday afternoon. “He will be there for UFC 128.”
Source: Kheder Allegedly Bolts from Bellator Weigh-Ins; Shockley In
According to a source close to the promotion, Kheder checked in at the Bellator 36 weigh-ins on Friday and then left while the undercard competitors were hitting the scales. Sherdog.com confirmed news of alleged Kheder's departure after MMA Junkie initially reported on the matter.
When it came time for the lightweight tournament competitor to stand and deliver, he was allegedly nowhere to be found. The official announcement during the live stream of the weigh-in was that the fighter was talking with commission officials and would step on the scale after the stream went off the air.
That plan apparently went out the window, as one member of the Bellator staff actually chased after Kheder when it was realized that he had exited the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium. Calls from the promotion to the lightweight's phone allegedly went unanswered.
Manager optimistic on Royce Gracie's UFC return, negotiations ongoing
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has given fans a voice in deciding who fights at "UFC: Rio," and the promotion has offered 33 Brazilians to choose from.
No. 34 could be a lock.
Three-time UFC tournament champion and UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie is in continuing negotiations with the promotion to appear in a retirement fight at the Brazilian event, which is expected to take place Aug. 27 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Demian Maia vs. Mark Munoz Targeted for UFC 131
Mark Munoz will get a chance to prove he truly is one of the top 185-pound contenders when he faces grappling wizard and former division number one contender Demian Maia at the upcoming UFC 131 pay-per-view event scheduled for the Rogers Arena on June 11 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
MMAmania.com confirmed the bout was in the works earlier today.
Here's one of the matches made today that I like. I've gotta go with Maia because he's one of my favourites but it's a tough fight. What do you guys think?
The UFC Is Leaving Rio Show Matchmaking Up to the Fans
Tatame reported yesterday that, despite how screwed up Fight of the Night voting at UFC 124 ended up after Zuffa opened up the polls to the fans to decide who should win the award (prompting Dana White to assert that fans would never decide such things again), the promotion has decided to allow fans to have their say about which 12 Brazilian fighters will fight on the August 27 card in Rio de Janeiro.
Former WEC Champ Brown Recovering from Hand Surgery, Fatigue
Mike Thomas Brown hasn't exactly been himself lately.
The once-dominant WEC featherweight champion has lost four of his last six following a 10-fight winning streak that lasted three years. Most recently, the 35-year-old was bested by Brazilian submission wizard Rani Yahya at UFC “Fight for the Troops 2.” During the first round of the featherweight contest, Brown snapped the medial collateral ligament in his right hand.
“It was like having a rubber finger,” Brown told Sherdog.com of the injury. “If you touched it, it would bend completely the wrong way. There was nothing holding it together anymore. It was almost like a broken finger, but worse.”
The injury required surgery to reattach the ligament. But that was the easy part, according to Brown. Tougher is the task of mentally coping with his recent skid.
“I don't care about [the injury]. The fights are the tough part. We didn't even do an MRI. I just wanted to get it done,” said Brown. “I’ve got time off, and I need to think about stuff anyway. So cast me up and let me think about life for a couple of months, you know?”
That cast was removed just days ago, and with another month of rehab, Brown should be back to full-strength. But the hand injury does not represent all that stands in the way of the Maine native returning to his peak form. He must also overcome a phantom hindrance that first appeared prior to his bout with Diego Nunes at UFC 125.