Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament: Possible Pay-Per-View, Canadian Debut
"The tournament is going to deliver our biggest shows yet. At some point this year, we will be in the pay-per-view business and having this tournament out there is a big step in that direction."
Dates and venues for the semifinal and finale events have not been solidified. ... Coker said Strikeforce is exploring holding one of the events in Montreal or Toronto, which would mark the promotion’s debut on Canadian soil.
UFC Champ Cruz to Undergo Sidelining Surgery
Dominick Cruz will undergo long-delayed surgery on his left index finger this week in Chicago, the UFC bantamweight champion told ESPN.com Monday.
The top-ranked 135 pounder joins the list of sidelined UFC champions which includes featherweight ace Jose Aldo (neck injury) and top heavyweight Cain Velasquez (shoulder injury). Cruz outlined a time frame of 8-12 weeks before he is likely to return to training, with the possibility of a six month hiatus from competition.
“It could be six months, but I’m not planning on six months,” Cruz said.
The 25-year-old Alliance MMA product first sustained the injury last summer in training for his Aug. 18 rematch with Joseph Benavidez at WEC 50. Nonetheless, Cruz defended his WEC bantamweight title against the Urijah Faber pupil, earning a split decision after five rounds. Following the bout, Cruz was issued a 180-day medical suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission due to a potential fracture of his right hand.
Rep: UFC's Anthony Pettis not waiting for title shot, returns May or June
It's certainly a gamble putting Anthony Pettis' lightweight title shot at risk. But the alternative is far worse.
Officials from Pettis' support team today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that keeping the WEC-champion-turned UFC-contender on the shelf while UFC champ Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard collide a third time could would bring cage rust as detrimental as a possible loss.
That's why they're targeting Pettis (13-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) for a May or June fight, presumably UFC 130 or UFC 131, against an opponent to be announced shortly.
Mike Roberts, Pettis' manager, today said verbal agreements are in place for the bout, though he declined to reveal the matchup.
Shane Carwin Plans Return at UFC 131 in Vancouver
UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. ... UFC 131 is in the final planning stages and UFC officials are working this week to finalize the show and venue.
No bouts are rumored for UFC 131, but a source told MMAjunkie.com that former heavyweight title-challenger Shane Carwin could be featured prominently on the card, which would mark his first fight since back surgery.
UFC 130 Likely For Vegas, 131 For Vancouver
While neither event has been officially announced, UFC 130 & 131 are both taking shape and could be announced soon. 130 appears set for Las Vegas at the MGM Grand, while 131 will likely be held in Vancouver. The dates are to be May 28 and June 11, respectively.
Bellator signs veteran middleweight Joe Riggs
Bellator Fighting Championships' recent signing spree has netted veteran fighter Joe Riggs (34-12 MMA, 0-0 BFC).
Officials today announced they've signed the former WEC champion and UFC/Strikeforce veteran to its middleweight division.
Riggs enters the organization with six wins in his past seven fights, which have taken place between 170 and 185 pounds.
Officials did not announce if the 28-year-old fighter will be part of an expected season-four middleweight tournament, which kicks off in March on MTV2.
"The Ultimate Fighter 13" cast shifts to all welterweights, coaches named this week
While initially intended to feature welterweights and middleweights, the upcoming 13th season of "The Ultimate Fighter" instead now will be a welterweights-only season.
A source close to the long-running competition/reality series today confirmed the plans with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The show begins taping this month, and it debuts March 30 on Spike TV. Coaches are expected to be announced this week, a source said.
With the single weight class, "TUF 13" is expected to use the same 28-man, 32-slot tournament that has been employed in recent seasons. The initial 28 elimination-round fights, which air over the first episode or two of the show, will determine the initial cast of 14. The fighters then enter a 16-slot bracket, and two opening-round losers will get a second shot as "wild card" picks. ("TUF 11" wild-card pick Kris McCray eventually became the show's runner-up.)
White Out: UFC President Dana White Silent on Strikeforce Tourney
It's been more than a week and we haven't heard a peep. No statements have been issued through media favorites like Kevin Iole or Ariel Helwani. There have been no mean spirited video blogs. Strikeforce has announced the biggest tournament in the history of American MMA and the UFC has maintained complete silence. For MMA fans, that has to be a little disconcerting.
Traditionally when UFC President Dana White sees a competitor on the horizon he strikes quickly. White isn't one to work the jab and bide his time for an opening either. He comes in windmilling, much like his favored brand of toughman style MMA, with both hands tossing wild and crazy winging blows. Usually the other guy falls down.
Pat Barry: I don't know how anyone is going to stop Alistair 'The Monster' Overeem
"The dude is a monster. That’s what I think. Not only is he humongous, (but) he’s extremely experienced. That’s what makes him the most dangerous. Not just the size, but he has so much experience in MMA and in kickboxing, and he’s a Dutch trained kickboxer. I was in Amsterdam for five years. I know what the Dutch train like out there... He doesn’t seem to get tired. All he needs to do is hit you one time. He’s fast, he’s athletic, and he’s strong as hell. He’s everything you need all in one body... The dude is a monster. I don’t know how anyone is going to stop him any time soon."
Charles Oliveira Signs New UFC Deal
Despite coming off a loss to Jim Miller at the "St. Pierre vs Koscheck" event last December, UFC lightweight Charles Oliveira has signed a four fight extension with Zuffa, according to the Houston MMA Examiner. The dynamic young fighter commented on the new deal: "I am very happy about the extension. They have been cutting so many 155 pounders, I am very blessed to have a job for 2011."
Forrest Griffin Is Just As Good As Rich Franklin-At Everything
So says Forrest, at least when it comes to their fighting styles. "Since 2001, I haven't gone a year without a win, at least a win, you know in a year. Now I've gone a whole year without a fight. ... Me and Rich are kind of the same; we're jacks of all trades, master of none. One thing he's done better than me -- oftentimes he's put the fight where he's better than his opponent, whereas a lot of times I think, 'I'm pretty good at this, I can do this, I can do that,' so I just do whatever my opponent wants me to thinking, 'I'm good enough at this,' as opposed to taking them out of their strong suit. With Rich, it's not really... it doesn't really matter because we're both pretty good at everything."
Coker Wants to Match Melendez Against Kawajiri
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker wants lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez to defend his title next against Tatsuya Kawajiri.
“We’re definitely having that conversation,” Coker said Wednesday on the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “I’m going to try to work that out and get Kawajiri in there with Gilbert. I think that that’s a fight we’re interested in.”
Melendez outpointed Kawajiri in a December 2006 encounter in Pride. The Japanese fighter has lost just twice since, and last week he earned a unanimous decision over former Strikeforce lightweight champ Josh Thomson.
Former UFC champ Jens Pulver returns to action in March in Chicago
Twelve-year MMA veteran Jens Pulver (22-14-1) will soldier on.
The upstart Chicago Cagefighting Championship announced Pulver will serve in the main event of a March 5 fight card in suburban Chicago at The Odeum in Villa Park, Illinois.
Pulver will face an opponent yet to be named.
A former UFC lightweight champion and eight-time veteran of the world's largest MMA promotion, Pulver is currently mired in a six-fight losing streak, and five of the results have come in the first round.
Zhang Tie Quan vs. Jason Reinhardt Added To UFC 127
Get ready for some "Big Trouble from Little China." Tiequan Zhang will become the first Chinese born fighter to compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) when he takes on Jason Reinhardt at UFC 127 in Sydney, Australia on Feb. 27. Zhang had previously competed under the Zuffa umbrella for the WEC, defeating Pablo Garza with a guillotine choke in his debut before dropping a decision to Danny Downes, the first loss of his budding career. "The Mongolian Wolf" typically competes at lightweight but will drop to 145-pounds for his debut in the Octagon. Reinhardt hasn't fought since January of 2008, a submission win over Cody Larson at Iowa Challenge 46. The Illinois native boasts an impressive career record of 20-1; however, that one loss came in his lone appearance in the Octagon at UFC 78, a submission defeat at the hands of Joe Lauzon. While fans may not exactly be on a first name basis with these competitors, of the 34 fights among them, only one of which has gone to the judges.
Nick Diaz Talks Point Fighting - "They Play a Game to Win"
"(Nate Diaz) is a lot better than that guy (Dong Hyun Kim). You could see it in that fight. (Nate) won on damage. At the end of that fight, that guy was real banged up, you know? Taking some hard shots to the eye, to the face. My brother hadn't taken any shots."
"I used to come in running in a lot, and getting overly aggressive. You get that way, because you (get caught up in trying to) win on damage. You're fighting a different fight. One guy's trying to win the round, one guy's trying to win the fight."
Fabricio Werdum Isn't Happy About "Giving" Alistair Overeem a Rematch
Two-time BJJ world champion, two-time ADCC champion, and UFC and Pride veteran Fabricio Werdum shocked the world when he choked out Fedor Emelianenko in 2010. Now he'll challenge Alistair Overeem for the Strikeforce title in the first round of their heavyweight tournament.
Technically, your side of the key is stronger, is where the favorites are. Why do you think that Strikeforce matched the fights this way?
I believe they did it that way so that they can sell many pay-per-view subscriptions on the semifinals and on the finale. They're betting I'll beat Overeem and that Fedor beats Big Foot, because they know everybody wants that rematch. So, they want to guarantee a good semifinal so that they sell it out and they're betting on it. Who doesn't want to watch a rematch like this one?
Did Strikeforce Drop The Ball With Their Challengers Show On Showtime Free Preview Weekend?
In a recent post on his blog, veteran WWE announcer Jim Ross thinks so. "The Strikeforce broadcast produced by Showtime Friday night was embarrassingly mediocre. This statement is not a reflection on fighters phoning it in or the announcing soiling the bed. The fighters fought hard but none of them were household names and really needed pre-produced, personality profiles and more info on who they are from the announcers to let casual fans 'in' the process so that we could care more about the fights and the overall broadcast. On a free preview night on Showtime, the network really dropped the ball in making the fighters human as well as apparently forgetting that Showtime was going to have a much ballyhooed heavyweight tournament in 2011 on which they seem to be hanging their hat."