BACK IN UFC; COUTURE QUESTIONS AFFLICTION CEO
Spending more than a year away from the sport, UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture is ready to return on Nov. 15 to face Brock Lesnar at UFC 91. It was a long, strange trip through lawsuits, courtrooms, and other various legal battles, but the champ is ready to get back to his office in the Octagon.
“Fighting in the cage is what I do best. Courtrooms and depositions and crap like that, it’s not really up my alley,” Couture said during a recent appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “Realistically, I’ve got a short window of opportunity to continue to compete at this level, so I need to take advantage of that while the window’s still open.”
During his time away from the UFC, Couture was focused on making a fight happen with top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko, and the Affliction promotion seemed to be the place leading the charge to make it happen.
JUNIE BROWNING REFORMS AT XTREME COUTURE
Junie Browning, who has become this season’s public enemy No. 1 on "The Ultimate Fighter” reality show, has decided to pick up his training schedule and work with Xtreme Couture. Representatives of the gym confirmed the news to MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday.
Kimbo/Petruzelli II Rumored for K-1 NYE Show
So, the South Florida Sun Suntinel has this story about how EliteXC’s collapse affects South Floridians (thanks for the tip, Fight Opinion), and it contains this rather amazing quote:
Rookie MMA fighter Kimbo Slice is already back in a local gym after his 14-second loss to last-minute replacement and UFC light heavyweight washout Seth Petruzelli in Sunrise.
Slice, who spent Thursday at one of his children’s school career day, is weighing his options with his agent Mike Imber. He may fight on the DREAM K-1 New Year’s Eve show in Japan, possibly a rematch with Petruzelli.
Rodriguez and Fickett part of RITC's 10-year anniversary event
Former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez and UFC veteran Drew Fickett will both compete at Rage in the Cage's RITC 117 event, a special 10-year anniversary show for the Arizona-based competition.
In the Nov. 8 event's headline bout, Rodriguez (33-9) takes on Robert Beraun (7-5) in a rematch from their initial meeting at RITC 78, and Fickett (35-7) meets Jose Cortez (4-1) in a co-main event scheduled for a catch-weight of 175 pounds.
RITC 117 takes place at Phoenix's US Airways Center, a 22,000-seat arena that's home to the NBA's Phoenix Suns.
The Rodriguez-Beraun fight will give Rodriguez the chance to avenge one of the four losses he's suffered in his past 19 fights. From May 2003 to January 2006, Beraun went 7-1 and ended the remarkable stretch with a unanimous-decision win over Rodriguez at RITC 78.
Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii signs with FEG
Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii was set to make his mixed martial arts debut on New Year’s Eve at the FieLDS Dynamite show at the end of this year. However it now looks as though he will just be making a brief cameo appearance like Fedor Emelianenko did back at DREAM 6 in September according to our friends at Nightmare of Battle.
While fans may be disappointed that he won’t be competing, the good news is he’s officially signed with Japan’s Fighting & Entertainment Group (FEG) and is expected to compete in an upcoming DREAM event sometime in Spring 2009.
I’m sure he’ll elaborate when his fan club holds a celebration party on November 3, but for now he is remaining tight-lipped about the details.
The December 31 Dynamite card features a plethora of top-tier fighters and fan favorites such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinya Aoki, Hayato Sakurai, Joachim Hansen, Yoshihiro Sato and many more.
One of the names being kicked around for Ishii’s debut according to Tokyo-Sports is fellow Judo gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida (8-6-1). Nothing is certain yet, but both athletes rank very high in the court of public opinion and a fight between them would no doubt be a huge draw.
Scott Smith offers a fighter’s perspective on the fall of EliteXC
Former EliteXC middleweight contender Scott “Hands of Steel” Smith was set to face Cuban Judo Olympian Hector “Shango” Lombard at Elite XC “Night of Champions” on November 8 live on Showtime from the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.
It was supposed to be the last event for Elite XC in 2008 … and it was shaping up to be perhaps the promotion’s best offering to date. Two world title fights were on the line, including a 185-pound showdown between division champion Robbie Lawler and Joey Villasenor and a 160-pound dream match up between Nick Diaz and Eddie Alvarez for the vacant lightweight crown.
Smith had trained hard and was prepared to make the most of the opportunity, until a late night phone call changed his career forever.
“I was hearing rumors and I actually got a call from a guy that works for the UFC and he was like ‘Hey, what’s going on?’ and I was like I don’t know, you probably know more than I do. Then my manager called and said it was pretty much a done deal.”
Little more than two weeks after its biggest star, Kimbo Slice, lost in just 14 seconds to replacement journeyman Seth Petruzelli in front of 4.5 million people on CBS, Elite XC was forced to close its doors forever.
PALASZEWSKI VS KARALEXIS IN WEC 37 ON DEC. 3
As World Extreme Cagefighting gets ready to close out 2008 with its Dec. 3 show in Las Vegas, MMAWeekly.com has confirmed that Bart Palaszewski is set to make his promotional debut against former “Ultimate Fighter” season 1 cast member Alex Karalexis.
The fight was confirmed by sources close to the situation.
Palaszewski makes his move to the WEC after spending the last couple of years fighting for the now defunct International Fight League, amassing a record of 8-4 with the promotion, 29-11 overall. By the time of the fighter, it will have been nearly six months since he last saw action, defeating UFC veteran Jeff Cox by TKO at the inaugural Adrenaline MMA event.
CURRAN OUT OF BANTAMWEIGHT DEBUT AT WEC 37
Jeff Curran, who is currently ranked at No. 7 in the featherweight division by MMAWeekly.com, had been planning move to bantamweight on Dec. 3 at WEC 37 in Las Vegas.
Sometimes the best-laid plans go awry, however, as have Curran's. Walking around UFC 90 in Chicago this past weekend with his hand bandaged, a source close to the fighter's camp has confirmed that Curran's injured hand has forced him to withdraw from his planned 135-pound debut.
He will now sit out the rest of 2008, looking to bounce back as soon as possible in 2009.
Always a small lightweight fighter, where Curran had to spend much of his career due to the economics of the fight game, he signed with the WEC where the focus has been on the lighter weight classes. He immediately emerged as a contender to current 145-pound champion Urijah Faber, but lost to him and a subsequent bout to Mike Brown, who faces Faber on Nov. 5.
Nate Diaz Done For '08, Maybe Back At UFC 94
Although there were earlier reports that Nate Diaz likely would fight at the upcoming UFN in December, Diaz is now off and likely is done for the year. Nate's opponent-to-have-been, Clay Guida, is off due to a foot injury and so Nate won't fight at all. He may return at UFC 94 according to GracieFighter.com.
Filho Ready For UFC MW Title Run When Silva Retires
After his final WEC Middleweight Title defense next week, Paulo Filho is looking forward to moving to UFC and making a run at the UFC Middleweight Title...but not until current champion Anderson Silva is retired. Filho still says he doesn't want a Silva fight either.
Lesnar Didn't Want Mazzagatti As Ref For UFC 91 Fight
Although it was already announced that Mario Yamazaki would referee the Randy Couture-Brock Lesnar fight at UFC 91, it's now been revealed that part of that choice was because of Lesnar. He specifically asked the NSAC not to choose Steve Mazzagatti to ref the fight partly because he reffed Lesnar's fight against Frank Mir. Wish granted.
Chris Horodecki heads to Japan for 'S-Cup'
Chris Horodecki will enter the Shootboxing “S-Cup 2008” same-night eight-man tournament on November 24 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Horodecki will take on Shoot boxing-trained Hiroki Shishido in the quarterfinals of the biennial tournament, which will also feature PRIDE Bushido veteran Luiz Azeredo – the first man to beat Anderson Silva-- and 2-time K-1 MAX and 2-time S-Cup champion Andy Souwer.
Shoot boxing, also referred to as standing vale tudo, is similar to kickboxing except that throws and standing submissions are allowed.
After this fight Horodecki will fight on January 24, 2009 at Affliction 2 “Day of Reckoning” in Anaheim, California.
Murilo “Ninja” Rua heading back to Japan
Fighting for five years in Japan, at Pride and Shooto, Murilo “Ninja” Rua now can be back to the Rising Sun Land, after EliteXC’s bankrupt. Training hard and looking for another show to fight, Ninja spoke to TATAMA about his future. “I don’t have anything set yet, I had two more fights to do at Elite and now I’ll see what I’m gonna do. I’ll speak with my manager and look for another event, maybe in Japan. I don’t have anything right yet, but I believe Japan is a good opportunity”, said Rua, who was surprised with EliteXC’s end.
HERMES FRANCA REBOUNDS ONCE AGAIN
Hermes Franca knows what it’s like to have his back to the wall and in desperate need of a win.
After suffering five losses in seven bouts from 2004 to 2005, Franca was in danger of completely falling off the MMA radar, when he righted the ship and pulled off an impressive eight-fight winning streak, which earned him an Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweight title shot against Sean Sherk at UFC 73.
Unfortunately Franca lost the fight, and even worse, he served a year-long suspension handed down by the California State Athletic commission for violating the state’s anti-steroid policy.
A loss in his return fight to Frankie Edgar in July of this year placed him in a must-win situation at this past weekend’s UFC UFC 90 event against Marcus Aurelio, and Franca once again rebounded.
“When you fight and go home a winner, it’s great, it’s priceless,” he said of his victory over Aurelio.
Station Casinos Will Go out of Business Early Next Year
Interestingly enough, Affliction co-founder Todd Beard has recently surfaced to voice his displeasure with the UFC, most notably on a recent appearance on "The Scott Ferrall Show."
"They threaten us personally, which is hilarious," Beard said. "Dana White, Lorenzo Fertita, they are tough guys. They're old school mafia guys, or wannabe old school mafia guys that their grandfather built their business and they are nothing. They’re nothing."
When asked about Beard's comments, Atencio seemingly shrugged them off.
"I will always do my fighting in the ring but my partner has just had it with them," Atencio said.
During his interview with Ferrall, Beard mentioned that Zuffa co-founders, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, are experiencing some financial trouble with their Palace Station Casino properties.
"They put their business five billion dollars in debt," Beard said in the interview."They’re in big touble right now. They are going to go out of business in February. Guaranteed. Station Casinos will go out of business in February for sure."
Atencio did not refute this claim.
"They want to talk about us being done by January," Atencio said. "Well, I will guarantee you that their Statino Casinos will be out of business by February...I have all the proof I need."
Of course, there are two sides to every story but an effort to get a response from someone at Zuffa was unsuccessful.