Tony 'The Viking' Halme 1963-2010
Tony Halme, best known to mixed martial arts fans as the debut opponent for five-time UFC Champion Randy Couture, has passed away at the age of 47 according to The Baltimore Sun.
"The Viking" made his Octagon debut alongside "The Natural" way back at UFC 13: "The Ultimate Force" on May 30, 1997. Couture would make quick work of the pugilist, tapping him out with a rear-naked choke at just 0:56 of the first round.
The loss would be Halme's fourth straight after an unsuccessful stint that saw him go 0-3 in Japan's RINGS promotion. Prior to that, the 6' 4" Finnish Heavyweight Boxing Champion enjoyed a wrestling career from 1990-1995.
UFC 111: Rodney Wallace vs Jared Hamman in the works for March 27
Who is the master? Hopefully "Sho'nuff."
Coming off a disappointing Octagon debut at last month's Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Finale, Rodney Wallace (9-1) will try to get back to his winning ways against Jared Hamman (10-2) at UFC 111 on March 27 in Newark, NJ, according to MMA 4 Real.
"Shonuff the Master" was stymied on Dec. 5 by fellow Tar Heel Brian Stann after the "All American" outworked him en route to a unanimous decision win. The loss snapped Wallace's perfect record at nine wins.
Gray Maynard: I'm the bully -- not the blanket
"My last two (fights against Jim Miller and Roger Huerta) have been pretty much all stand-up. There's people that kind of get it in their head, and they don't let it go. You can't please everyone. I know my stand-up is at the top, so I'm not stressing it at all. I'm really working to improve my skills and to do it right and just not flail around ... I'm ready to go, whenever. But I need to get past Nate first."
Unstoppable UFC lightweight Gray Maynard is hoping to rid himself of the "lay-and-pray" label with a dominating performance against Nate Diaz in tonight's (Jan. 11) main event of UFC Fight Night 20.
Is UFC Fight Night 20 Chris Leben's last stand?
"I'm going to fight my heart out. I love to stand up and bang with guys. This is a make it or break it for me. I have to lay it all on the line. When it comes Monday night, I'm going to go out there with bad intentions, I'm going to go out there with the belief that if I don't win, I go home. I'm not in the UFC anymore and that's not what I want. I need to win. I have to win. Expect some fireworks Monday night."
Embattled Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 star Chris Leben hopes to get himself back into the win column against promotion sophomore Jay Silva at UFC Fight Night 20 after back-to-back losses inside the Octagon.
Spencer Fisher vs. "Bang" Ludwig scheduled for March 21
There's at least one bout with fireworks written all over it when the UFC returns to Denver on March 21 as hometown kid, Duane "Bang" Ludwig returns to action to face Spencer "The King" Fisher in a lightweight bout confirmed for the promotion's debut card on Versus.
The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight on Monday.
Taking a fight on short notice to return to the UFC, Ludwig came up short in his comeback campaign as he lost to rising 155lb fighter, Jim Miller, by submission earlier this month. Never one to back down from a challenge, Ludwig will look to et back on track as he fights in his hometown, where he has done very well in the past.
WEC Quick Quote: Varner's 'D' was trying to stop the run
Former WEC Lightweight Champion Jamie Varner talks during the WEC 46 post-fight press conference about the effective gamplan Ben Henderson used to unify the 155-pound title via third round submission. "C-4" was trying to explode on the up-and-comer but had no answer for the "Smooth" strategy and left his neck out for a quick tap out. Is Varner trying to take a little something away from the Henderson win with the constant "run" references -- or is it merely a matter of outlining his opponent's strategy and commending him for it?
Randy Couture Says Brock Lesnar Is Back in Training
Well look who's getting name-checked on "Inside MMA." Ron Kruck references our story on Brock Lesnar's ongoing health issues before cutting to Randy Couture, who says he's spoken with Lesnar and things are looking up for the big man. If we can believe Couture (and he doesn't seem the like the type to just make stuff up -- that's Tito Ortiz's game), Lesnar is already back in the gym and ought to be Octagon-ready by this spring. We should probably treat this with the same healthy skepticism we had for "Comprido" Medeiros' assurance that everything was going to be just fine, but at least it's encouraging news.
"WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson" draws reported 10,027 attendees for $550K gate
SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Initial reports from WEC officials indicate the WEC's third trip to ARCO Arena in Sacrmento, Calif., earned another solid live gate.
At the evening's post-event press conference, WEC general manager Reed Harris reported that Sunday's "WEC 46: Varner vs. Henderson" event drew 10,027 fans for a live gate of $550,000.
Official live gate numbers will be released by the California State Athletic Commission later in the week.
Brown pleased with WEC 46 win, wants to remain active while waiting for title shot
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – With the sting of a November 2009 loss still fresh in his mind, former WEC featherweight champ Mike Brown (23-5 MMA, 5-1 WEC) begged the promotion's brass to let him fight at Sunday's WEC 46 event.
The WEC granted his wish, and Brown made quick work of newcomer Anthony Morrison (15-8 MMA, 0-1 WEC) on the evening's Versus-televised main card.
At the evening's post-fight press conference, Brown told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he viewed the fight as a return to peak form.
MMA Quick Quote: Murilo Bustamante wants to return to fighting in 2010
“Surely it cheers me up. I have got plans of fighting in 2010 and let’s see how it will work. I’m preparing myself, I’m in Brazil also to train and get into the pace. We’re studying proposals and let’s see what happens. There’s nothing set but I have been training to fight whereas last year I didn’t have the time to prepare properly, just training with kimono and giving classes.”
-- Former UFC champion Murilo Bustamante is back in Brazil from United States where he has expanded the Brazilian Top Team headquarters.
Urijah Faber vs. Jose Aldo coming soon ... possibly WEC on PPV?
Urijah Faber rolled into Sacramento on Sunday night and proceeded to roll through Raphael Assuncao at WEC 46: "Varner vs. Henderson," finishing the super talented Brazilian with a third round rear naked choke.
Not only did "The California Kid" pick up a "must" win and a $10,000 bonus check, but he also earned an opportunity to fight WEC Featherweight Champion, Jose Aldo, in the very near future.
WEC General Manager Reed Harris made the announcement during the WEC 46 post-fight press conference.
It's an opportunity, as Faber put it, "to get his belt back." And he may get the chance to do it in front of a pay-per-view (PPV) audience, which would mark the first foray for the promotion into the paid arena after a successful run on the Versus network.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Sam Stout targeted for UFC 113
To borrow a phrase from Mike Goldberg, "This one's got 'Fireworks' written all over it.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that a lightweight scrap between sluggers Jeremy Stephens (16-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Sam Stout (15-5-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) is in the works for the as-yet-unannounced UFC 113 event in Montreal.
Both parties have verbally agreed to the contest, though bout agreements have yet to be signed.
MacDonald and Guymon Have Stories to Tell Ahead of UFC Debut
Rory (The Water Boy) MacDonald and Mike (The Joker) Guymon make their UFC debuts Monday night, having taken vastly different journeys to the cage where they will face off in Fairfax, Va.
The unbeaten MacDonald is a 20-year-old phenom from Kelowna, B.C., who got his parents to sign off on his mixed martial arts pro debut when he was just 16. Guymon is a 35-year-old veteran from California who has made it to the sport's premier promotion after a near suicide last summer when he found himself surrounded by police, willing them to shoot.
Sean Sherk avoiding Gray Maynard?
FiveOuncesofPain.com recently had the chance to catch up with Head Jiu-Jitsu Instructor over at Xtreme Couture, Neil Melanson, to gather his thoughts on the Xtreme Couture trained Gray Maynard’s UFC Fight Night showdown with Nate Diaz scheduled for January 11, and while we were able to gather quite a bit of insight into the Bully’s keys to victory in the upcoming rematch, 5 Oz. also learned of one UFC lightweight’s reported reluctancy to face a particular foe with an extremely similar style.
According to Melanson, Maynard has had an itch to throw down with former UFC lightweight title holder Sean Sherk for some time now, but as the saying goes: It takes two to tango.
“I know Gray has been wanting to fight Sean Sherk, and I know they tried to make that fight happen, but according to Gray’s people, they said that Sherk turned it down numerous times,” said Melanson during a recent conversation with FiveOuncesofPain. “I could see why, just because it’s not really a good fight for Sherk; going against another stud wrestler that can box.”
After Losing Seven-Year-Old Son, WEC Fighter George Roop Carries On
George Roop can still remember the time in the hospital. Hours stretching to days, days stretching to weeks. He can remember his infant son's body going limp, Julian dying in his arms; the doctors frantically breathing life back into him.
It was then that those same doctors told him that his child wouldn't live long, that he might not ever make it out of that hospital.
Julian Blaze Roop proved them wrong, made it seven years on this earth, through scores of tests and countless appointments with baffled doctors who couldn't understand how he continued to grow. His heart finally gave out in Oct. 2009, his dad's heart breaking with it
Shinya Aoki Relieved of Teaching Duties
Shinya Aoki has been removed as an instructor at the Paraestra Tokyo in Japan for his antics following his win on New Year's Eve at Dynamite!! 2009.
Yuki Nakai, the general manager of Paraestra, announced Aoki's dismissal on the gym's website and apologized on behalf of the camp for anyone's discomfort from watching Aoki's "inappropriate behavior."
Marcus Davis vs. Jonathan Goulet Expected for UFC 113
A welterweight bout between Jonathan Goulet and Marcus Davis is in the works for UFC 113 in Montreal, QC, Canada. MMA Fighting has learned that bout agreements have not been signed, but both camps have verbally agreed to the fight.
Goulet, who hails from Victoriaville, QC, which is located outside of Montreal, hasn't competed since December 2008 when he lost via 33-second knockout to Mike Swick. He was scheduled to face Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 100 in July, but a dislocated shoulder suffered in training forced him out of the bout.