Perfect timing: Cain Velasquez on his new UFC 99 opponent, Cheick Kongo
Cain Velazquez: I feel good about my new opponent. At this stage, I think he is a tougher opponent. I thought he was in line for a title shot next so that makes me feel good. I will definitely have to change up my gameplan now.
He has a long reach and is very strong fighter. He has improved his take down defense. I will be really focused on my take downs and also working to sharpen my kickboxing skills. Overall, I want to be fast, explosive and just stay calm out there.
UFC 98 Press Conference Notes
Today the UFC held its press conference in anticipation for UFC 98 with UFC president Dana White leading the way with all four main event fighters joining him on stage.
White noted the historic significance of Saturday's fight, “The main event for the light heavyweight title on Saturday night, for the first time in UFC history, that two undefeated fighters have faced off for the title.”
The challenger Lyoto Machida was short and sweet with his thoughts on the fight, “I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to this fight. I will try to finish this fight before the end.”
This will be Rashad Evans first title defense and he hopes to keep the title for a long time as he mentioned in his comments for the fight.
CSAC Executive Bill Douglas Steps Down
Bill Douglas, the California State Athletic Commission Assistant Executive Officer, has resigned. He said the reaosn why is in order to accept a Senior Policy Analyst position with the Department of Consumer Affairs. Douglas was appointed to his position when then-executive officer Armando Garcia resigned in November and made revamping the CSAC's drug testing program a high priotity.No replacement has been named for Douglas, he says the position is vacant.
Al-Turk Confident He Can Handle Cro Cop
Mostapha Al-Turk says he is confident he can take out Mirko 'CroCop' Filopovic in what will be the biggest fight of his career at UFC 99.
Al-Turk is coming off a loss to Cheick Kongo so could be forgiven for wanting a safer fight, but he told UK newspaper The Mirror that he is happy to fight Filopovic (pictured).
I feel good. I feel like I've got the tools and the know-how and the skill to deal with him and beat him,”
With Anthony Johnson out of TUF 9 Finale, Matt Brown follows suit
Just one day after Anthony Johnson (7-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) was forced to bow out of his June 20 fight, original opponent Matt Brown (9-7 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has done the same.
Sources close to the bout informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Brown has elected to rest and heal some nagging injuries rather than seek a replacement opponent.
Both fighters have been removed from the UFC's official listing of The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, which airs live on Spike TV.
Medical Beat: Could the UFC benefit from having a medical director?
I was surprised to discover that the dominant brand in the fastest growing sport in the world does not have a medical director. Apparently the UFC does not appreciate the potential benefit of having in-house medical counsel.
For better or worse, physicians respect the opinion of other physicians when it comes to medical matters. Not to say that other individuals and professionals due not on occasion have valid medical opinions, but it is very difficult to get a doctor to entertain them.
Ronaldo ‘Jacare’ Souza: The DREAM middleweight title is coming home to Brazil
“I beat [Jason Miller] the first time, but I wasn’t satisfied with the result. This time I want to make a better fight. Impose my game and impose my rhythm. The most important thing to me is to put on a good fight. This time it’s for the belt. It’s going to come to Brazil. I’ve been training really hard since November. I had to stop last month to make sure I didn’t overtrain. I’m ready. If the fight were tomorrow, I’d be ready.”
Yoshida Works With Jackson's Camp For UFC 98
The education of a mixed martial artist never truly stops. For Japanese Judoka, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, the learning curve came at the expense of a knockout loss to Josh Koscheck in December 2008, but he believes he has learned from the mistakes he made, and is ready to return at UFC 98 this Saturday night.
For his last bout, Yoshida was expected to be a tough match-up for the former NCAA wrestling champion, but what many thought would be a ground war turned into a stand-up fight that the Japanese fighter lost in the first round.
Amade vs. Kikuno Added To DREAM 10
In what likely will be his first fight since recently winning the vacnant DEEP Lightweight Championship, Katsunori Kikuno will face Muay Thai fighter Andre Amade at DREAM 10 in July. Amade last fought in the K-1 World MAX Final 16, losing to Buakaw Pramuk.
Leites-Sakara Official, Completes UFC 101 Card
With the confirmation today of Thales Leites vs. Alessio Sakara for the card, the UFC 101 card is now final. The 11-fight card is headlined by BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian for the UFC Lightweight Title and Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Leites-Sakara will be a prelim.
Sean Sherk Would Like To See Shinya Aoki Take Off His (Stretchy) Pants
UFC Lightweight Sean Sherk thinks ranking systems like BloodyElbow's and others that rank fighters like Kenny Florian and Shinya Aoki ahead of him make no sense. As for Aoki, Sherk says he's got no boxing, no wrestling, nothing except those pants. So Sherk would like to see Aoki and others like him in UFC, where he can't wear the pants.
HDNet Changes DREAM 9 Start Time
HDNet has announced that their start time for the DREAM 9 broadcast has been pushed back 2 hours to 5 AM ET on May 26. It had been scheduled to start at the live event's start time, 3 AM ET. No reason given for the change.
Date Set For NY MMA Vote
On June 3, the New York State Assembly’s Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports will debate and vote on bill 2009-B, which would regulate the sport of mixed martial arts in the state.
Michael Kim, a representative from committee chair and bill sponsor Assemblyman Steve Englebright’s office, informed MMAWeekly.com of the news Wednesday morning.
“It will be a pretty significant first step,” said Kim.
221-pound Sonnen takes on Miller because Herman wouldn't
The politics of fighting has put Chael Sonnen in an interesting position. When Yushin Okami had to drop out of his UFC 98 fight against Dan Miller, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva gave a call to Team Quest and Matt Lindland looking for a replacement back on May 1st.
Lindland was asked about Ed Herman, who just saved his job with a win over David Loiseau back at UFC 97 on April 23rd. Lindland told Silva that Herman was a go.
When "The Law" finally tracked down Herman, "Short Fuse" said he didn't want the fight. Lindland then called Sonnen, who was driving to the gym, and told him now he was in a lerch. Sonnen took the fight not realizing that he was 221 pounds with only 22 days to cut the weight to reach the middleweight limit of 185.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker no longer in the Kimbo Slice business
“We had an option to exercise Kimbo’s contract from Pro Elite. Basically out of all those fighters we took, he was the only one that we didn’t grab –- it was an option to take [Slice’s contract.] With that option, there was an expiration date on it.
In the very beginning, we tried to have dialogue with them about trying to make the deal a little more realistic and we just couldn’t work it out. At the end of the day, if we would have worked it out, we would have exercised the option. I still think that we’ll continue the dialogue and at some point, if he really wants to fight in MMA, then we’ll let him fight for us. Why not? Why not put him back in the mix? We just need to talk about a different arrangement, that’s all.”
Phil Baroni hypes up his Strikeforce fight against Joe Rigg
“Really, there’s not much to say. Joe’s 25 years old and he’ll have his day. On June 6, I’m knocking him the (expletive) out. I’m going to (expletive) him up bad. I’m going to bust him up the whole (expletive) fight. It’s up to him how long he wants to last. Whether he wants to last one round or he wants to last three – I’m going to (expletive) him up. Never mind being in shape. I’m not thanking anybody for being here. Any promotion that has me, it’s lucky for them. No one’s kissing anyone’s asses. I’m just ready to fight and beat the (expletive) out of him.