Henderson on Comeback Trail
Just a year ago, Dan Henderson was sitting on top of the MMA world. He was the only fighter to ever simultaneously hold two title belts, the PrideFC 185-pound and 205-pound crowns. In a short 12-month span, Henderson has since lost his last two bouts, as well as both of his titles in the process. Henderson now looks to get his career back on the winning track at the tender age of 38.
After the UFC officially purchased PrideFC nearly two years ago, they brought Henderson and his two titles over to unify the belts. Unfortunately for Henderson, instead of solidifying his status as the king in both divisions, he found himself searching for answers.
“I don’t think anyone else has had as tough a first two fights back in the UFC as I have, and that’s the way I prefer it,” Henderson stated. “I want to fight the best in the world, to test my skills and see how I am. You win some, you lose some—unfortunately, I’ve lost the last two. I’m definitely going out there this fight [with Palhares] to win and take nothing less than winning.”
Evans Ready for Battle with Iceman
Rashad Evans is spoiling for a fight. The unbeaten light-heavyweight has not seen action since November, with injuries to possible opponents playing havoc with his schedule.
Evans' wait will be over Sept. 6 in Atlanta, when the mixed martial arts fighter, winner of Season 2 ofThe Ultimate Fighterreality TV show, faces off against MMA icon and former champion Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell at UFC 88: Breakthrough.
"A lot of unfortunate circumstances happened. But it only makes you stronger as a fighter," Evans said of his recent bumpy road. "It tests your will.
"I've been training since, man, since the beginning of the year. I've been training for a while for this fight."
Initially, Evans was preparing for a May bout with Brazilian Thiago Silva. Then he was brought in to replace the injured Mauricio "Shogun" Rua against Liddell at UFC 85: bedlam in London on June 7. But that fell by the wayside when Liddell tore his hamstring training in April. James "Sandman" Irvin was brought in as a replacement opponent, but then broke his foot.
"Roller-coaster, man," Evans said. "It's just been crazy. It's kind of disheartening at times.
"You just have to constantly readjust your focus and keep your eyes on the prize and know that it's just a business. Sometimes it's like that."
Evans eventually dropped off the UFC 85: Bedlam bill totally, taking a two-week break to rest his body. Then it was back to training - and biding his time until Liddell was healthy again.
Joachim Hansen Living The DREAM
Fresh from winning the won the DREAM lightweight grand prix in Japan last month, Joachim ‘Hellboy’ Hansen was in a good mood when Fighters Only caught up with him earlier today.
The Norwegian first shot to fame when he beat Japanese standout Takanori Gomi at a Shooto fight in 2003, becoming both the first man to beat Gomi and the first Scandinavian fighter to hold a world title (the Shooto World Welterweight Championship).
“I think it was good for my career because Gomi was unbeaten till that point,” he says with typical understatement.
But his pleasure at being the first man to defeat the highly-regarded Gomi paled in comparison to the feeling of winning the DREAM grand prix. He smiles as he recalls the feeling of taking first place in a hard fought competition.
Hardy: ''I'll stop Gono In two Rounds
Dan Hardy expects to stop PRIDE FC veteran Akihiro Gono inside two rounds when they meet at UFC 89 in October.
Hardy will be making his UFC debut at the event, which will take place in Birmingham, around an hour’s drive from his home city of Nottingham.
Addressing Gono via his blog, Hardy wrote: “Birmingham is a long way to travel to from Japan just to get your backside kicked in two rounds!”
Hardy is not being disrespectful towards Gono – he knows that the Japanese fighter represents a tough test.
“That the UFC is putting me in the Octagon with a fighter as respected as Gono in my very first fight with them tells me that they know I've got the potential to go a long way,” he says.
Duarte vs. Rios signed for Affliction 2
Mexican up-and-comer Antonio Duarte will fight for his first time in the States when he tangles with California teacher Albert Rios at the Oct. 11 Affliction "Day of Reckoning" event in Las Vegas.
MMAFighting.com has confirmed the featherweight bout with a source close to Duarte.
Duarte, a Brown Belt under UFC veteran Dean Lister, holds a 10-1 record and is riding a 7-fight win streak, while Rios is 9-3 and undefeated in 3 fights since Sept. 2006.
Affliction 2: Day of Reckoning
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas
265 lbs. | Josh Barnett vs. Andre Arlovski
205 lbs. | Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
265 lbs. | Roy Nelson vs. Paul Buentello
170 lbs. | Mike Pyle vs. Jason High
185 lbs. | Matt Lindland vs. Trevor Prangley*
170 lbs. | Drew Fickett vs. Jay Hieron*
145 lbs. | Antonio Duarte vs. Albert Rios*
155 lbs. | Chris Horodecki vs. TBA
WEC To PPV in 2009
An article on Yahoo! Sports MMA discusses the Zuffa’s plans to cut some of the divisions in the WEC and in the discussion this little bit of info was dropped:
That’s particularly true given White’s plan to add pay-per-view shows to the WEC’s offerings, perhaps as early as May.
The ability for the WEC to draw on PPV will be more dependent on the company’s ability to sell the 135 and 145 divisions. Part of being able to draw successfully is convincing your customer they are receiving a world class product. That case can be easily made at the 135 and 145 levels, and would be next to impossible with the 185 and 205 weight classes. The 205 class isn’t worth much discussion at all, while the 185 class has a world class fighter in Paulo Filho, but a collection of journeymen, rookies, and never will be’s underneath him…not the most marketable of collections.
The WEC have the luxury of having two marketable stars in those lower divisions with champs Miguel Torres and Urijah Faber. Getting rid of the 185 and 205 divisions will allow them to concentrate and build up the fighters in the lower weight classes, boosting the profiles of the champs but also building up the other fighters in those divisions so that they are seen as plausible contenders. An example of this would be the upcoming Faber vs Mike Brown fight. If you are a hardcore fan, you know that Brown is a plausible contender, but the ability to sell him as such kind of gets lost in the shuffle when some of the WEC cards are being filled with non-starters at the 185 and 205 level on Versus.
Donald Cerrone reveals that a win at WEC 36 over Rob McCullough gets him a LW title shot
Hundreds of thousands of democrats have migrated West to Denver, Colorado this week for the Democratic National Convention. And relatively close by, 12 fighters from Greg Jackson’s MMA have flocked from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Vail, Colorado, in search of high altitude training to give them an additional edge for upcoming fights.
One of those fighters is none other than 8-0 WEC lightweight sensation Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who is quickly converging on lightweight title contender status following two victories in his first two fights with the promotion.
WEC’s Brian Bowles says he could be one win away from a shot at Miguel Torres
For many years now bantamweight fighters have performed under the shroud of almost total anonymity. Unless you were a hardcore fan who followed smaller Japanese promotions such as DEEP and Shooto, chances are that you didn’t really care about the 135 lbs. division in MMA.
But times care changing, thanks in large part to World Extreme Cagefighting, which has helped expose many U.S. fans to the tremendous talent that exists in the smaller weight classes. And thanks in large part to the exploits of WEC bantamweight king Miguel Torres, the interest in the 135 lbs. division in this country has never been greater.
With guaranteed title shot on line, Rob McCullough finalizing game plan
Eight months after losing his WEC lightweight title to Jamie Varner, "Razor" Rob McCullough (16-4) is finalizing preparations for his bout with undefeated up-and-comer Donald Cerrone (8-0).
And according to McCullough's recent comments to TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), the winner of the bout will be next in line for a title shot.
"That's the word around the campfire," McCullough said. "This is a No. 1 contender fight. Whoever gets this one goes for the belt."
McCullough and Cerrone are scheduled to meet on the main card of "WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown" on Sept. 10. Held at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla., the bout will air live on VERSUS.
"ShoXC: Hamman vs. Suganuma II" official fighters salaries
Main-card winners and EliteXC prospects Jared Hamman, Fabricio Camoes and Ray Lizama were the top earners at this month's ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series event.
The event, which aired on Showtime, took place at the Table Mountain Casino in Friant, Calif.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today received the list of salaries directly from the California State Athletic Commission.
ShoXC events are designed to showcase mostly prospects within the ProElite, Inc. organization and has served as a launching pad for many of EliteXC's now-established stars.
The total disclosed payroll for the Aug. 15 event was a modest $56,560.
The full list of salaries included:
* Jared Hamman ($8,000) def. Po'ai Suganuma ($5,000)
* Fabricio Camoes ($6,000) def. Sammy Morgan ($4,000)
* Rosi Sexton ($3,260) def. Debi Purcell ($4,000)
* Ray Lizama ($6,000) def. Keith Berry ($2,000)
* David Douglas ($3,000) def. William Jacobson ($800)
* Lucas Gamaza ($3,000) def. Kenny Johnson ($2,000)
* Jesse Brock ($3,000) def. Josh Rave ($1000)
* Robert Vargas ($2,000) def. Ralph Lopez ($1,000)
* Katrina Alendale ($1,500) def. Melanie La'Croix ($1,000)
Original "TUF" cast member Alex Schoenauer expects return to UFC
Xtreme Couture light heavyweight Alex Schoenauer (14-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a cast member on the original season of "The Ultimate Fighter," may soon be stepping back into the octagon.
The IFL veteran recently signed with the WEC as a late replacement for Mark Munoz in a Sept. 10 WEC 36 bout against Steve Steinbeiss.
Schoenauer today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that it is the first of several planned bouts under the Zuffa LLC banner.
"I believe it's a five-fight deal," Schoenauer said. "Only one is with the WEC and the rest are supposed to be with the UFC. [The WEC] is supposed to be moving all of the 205 (pounders) from the WEC to the UFC. This is supposedly their last 205 (pound) show."
Shinya Aoki Responds to Jake Shields
"Ah yea, I heard that the American, Jake Shields, is saying 'Aoki ran.' What the hell are you? A feudal lord? If you were some kinda genius like Michael Jackson, maybe I'd pay you some mind. But you? You can't say that."
-- Shinya Aoki, responding to claims by Jake Shields that Aoki had "no budo." More on budo (likely he means "bushido") here.
EliteXC To Strip KJ Noons Of The Lightweight Title
Stu Stone of The Stone Movement posted an interview with EliteXC Vice President Jared Shaw up on Youtube earlier and discussed such topics as Kimbo Slice, Gina Carano, and of course KJ Noons. However, when the Noon's name was brought up, things got a little heated:
However that's not the big part of the story. Stu Stone has informed me that EliteXC plans on stripping KJ Noons of the EliteXC lightweight title and Jared Shaw will release a statement on next week's episode.
Exclusive: Fedor Extends Deal With Affliction, Not Set For New Years
Forced out of a WAMMA Heavyweight title fight with Andrei Arlovski that was set for Affliction: Day Of Reckoning on Octocter 11th due to a hand injury, Champion Fedor Emelianenko has had his sights set on a New Year’s Eve fight in Japan against an unnamed opponent followed up by a date with the winner of the WAMMA heavyweight elimination bout on the October 11th card between Arlovski and Josh Barnett.
Tom Atencio, Vice President of Affliction, told MMANews.com this week that the company has just extended their current contract with Fedor and will look to have the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship fight in January or February when they intend on holding their 3rd show.
BloodyElbow.com Exclusive: Randy Couture Update
I've spoken with a lot of people about Randy Couture in the last day. Things are definitely happening.
First, I can say with 100% certainty that there are current negotiations for Randy Couture to return in November to main event, and that the current proposed opponent is Brock Lesnar. They can't get Fedor, too many issues to work out on short notice, and he has a US-only non compete with Affliction.
UFC 91 - Cheick Kongo ruled out with shoulder injury
French UFC heavyweight contender, Cheick Kongo, who was last seen in action at UFC 87, knocking out debutant Dan Evensen in the first round, has been ruled out of action for a number of months with a shoulder injury.
Kongo is said to have suffered the injury before his last outing and fought through the pain but will now go under the surgeons knife ruling him out for the rest of the year.
This was originally confirmed on ESPN's MMA Live
UFC 88: Martin Kampmann finds no weaknesses in Nate Marquardts game
“Most of the guys I’ve fought, I’ve been able to pinpoint a weakness in their game. Not with Nate. He is very well rounded, and one of best guys in the UFC. It’s going to be tough, but I am looking forward to it…. Before I was injured, I was supposed to fight in a main event. I got injured and was out for over a year, and people forgot about me. It was a long time out. Now, it’s time to fight my way back and remind people of who I am.”
Martin Kampmann heaps praise on his opponent, Nate Marquardt, at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6. The article has some great background on “The Hitman” and his journey from competing in small European shows to the Octagon. He also goes into great details about the catastrophic knee injury that nearly cost him his fighting career.