Ortiz: 'Going to be tough,' but Santos might make UFC's 135-pound limit
With his own fighting career over, UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz is instead focused on his management career and first client, who could soon be heading to the UFC's 135-pound women's division.
Ortiz recently signed embattled ex-Strikeforce featherweight champion Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos (10-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who recently served a one-year suspension due to a failed drug test for an anabolic steroid.
However, while the former 145-pound champion initially dismissed the idea of getting down to 135 pounds for a potential superfight with newly crowned UFC champ Ronda Rousey (6-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), Ortiz breathed some new life into the possibility – but there are conditions...
UFC announces list of Strikeforce fighters added to its roster (so far)
The confirmed list of Strikeforce fighters signed to UFC (so far) courtesy of UFC Tonight on FUEL TV:
Daniel Cormier (11-0)
Gegard Mousasi (33-3-2)
Gian Villante (10-3)
Roger Gracie (6-1)
Tim Kennedy (15-4)
Lorenz Larkin (13-0)
Luke Rockhold (10-1)
Ronaldo Souza (17-3)
Roger Bowling (11-3)
Jason High (16-3)
Nate Marquardt (32-11-2)
Tarec Saffiedine (14-3)
Bobby Voelker (24-8)
Ryan Couture (6-1)
Pat Healy (29-16)
Kurt Holobaugh (8-1)
Adriano Martins (24-6)
Gilbert Melendez (21-2)
K.J. Noons (11-6)
Josh Thomson (19-5)
Free agent Josh Barnett: The right deal is needed to make me exclusive to the UFC
Entering into a free-agency period before his next contract, Josh Barnett wants to mix fighting with other pursuits.
"It would take the right kind of deal to get me to be locked into some place entirely and exclusively," he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
While battling the flu, Barnett (32-6 MMA, 3-1 SF) closed out a two-fight deal with a first-round submission over Nandor Guelmino (11-4 MMA, 0-1 SF) at "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" this past Saturday.
Already better a day later, he said it feels good to be "a healthy guy able to fight wherever he wants."
Despite Strikeforce loss to Pat Healy, Kurt Holobaugh headed to UFC
Kurt Holobaugh may have come out on the short end of a decision loss to Pat Healy on Saturday in his major-promotion debut, but it won't keep him out of the UFC.
Holobaugh (8-1 MMA, 0-1 SF) dropped a unanimous decision to Pat Healy (29-16 MMA, 7-1 SF) on the preliminary card of "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" in Oklahoma City, falling with a pair of 30-27 scores and a 29-28.
But Holobaugh apparently did enough to impress the UFC brass that he should get a shot there now that Strikeforce is no more. The Louisiana native has signed a UFC deal, sources close to him on Tuesday confirmed to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com)
The Forward Roll - Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine edition
Over the last few days, there has been some confusion about whether all of the Strikeforce fighters will be transferred over to the UFC. Many of them will. Strikeforce contracts were owned by the same parent company as the UFC, so they are legally transferrable. Others won't make it, either because they are victims of losses that will see them cut, or have become free agents with price tags that Zuffa does not want to meet.
Josh Barnett right now seems in danger of falling into the last category. Barnett's fight deal expired with his Saturday night win, and the UFC hasn't tipped their hand regarding their interest in bringing him into the fold...
Josh Barnett Takes Home Largest Payday at Strikeforce ‘Marquardt vs. Saffiedine’
Tarec Saffiedine: $39,000 (includes $19,500 win bonus)
Nate Marquardt: $40,000
Daniel Cormier: $120,000 (includes $60,000 win bonus)
Dion Staring: $8,000
Josh Barnett: $250,000 (no win bonus)
Nandor Guelmino: $12,000
Gegard Mousasi: $175,000 (no win bonus)
Mike Kyle: $25,000
Ronaldo Souza: $100,500 (includes $28,000 win bonus)
Ed Herman: $34,000
Ryan Couture: $22,000 (includes $7,000 win bonus)
KJ Noons: $41,000
Tim Kennedy: $80,000 (includes $25,000 win bonus)
Trevor Smith: $8,000
Pat Healy: $42,000 (includes $15,000 win bonus)
Kurt Holobaugh: $9,000
Roger Gracie: $94,000 (includes $47,000 win bonus)
Anthony Smith: $10,000
Adriano Martins: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
Jorge Gurgel: $10,000
Estevan Payan: $12,000 (includes $6,000 win bonus)
Michael Bravo: $6,000
Ed Herman, Kurt Holobaugh Receive Indefinite Medical Suspensions Following Strikeforce Finale
Strikeforce “Marquardt vs. Saffiedine” Medical Suspensions:
Dion Staring: Suspended 30 days for precautionary reasons following TKO defeat
Ed Herman: Suspended indefinitely; must provide commission with medical clearance on right shoulder, hand and elbow
Kurt Holobaugh: Suspended indefinitely; must provide commission with medical clearance on right hand
Anthony Smith: Suspended 30 days for cuts over left eye
Mike Bravo: Suspended 30 days for precautionary reasons following TKO defeat
Saffiedine Steals the Show: Strikeforce Main Card Results
The final Strikeforce event in history took place in Oklahoma City on Saturday night. As most oddsmakers and fans expected, the main card chugged along with a series of four fast finishes by the bout favorites. Yet MMA relies on the unexpected, and the main event delivered as a 170-pound Strikeforce Challengers graduate used strategy and precision to neutralize the strength of a former UFC middleweight contender, wresting away the welterweight title.
Gracie, Couture Carry on Legacies: Strikeforce Prelim Results
Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena played host to the Strikeforce promotion's swan song, an event rich with MMA bold names, as evidenced by a pedigreed undercard boasting names such as Gracie, Kennedy and Couture. Over the course of six fights, fans saw finishes, grinding wins, adrenaline-inducing wars -- in other words, the best of MMA.
Nate Marquardt's Rebirth at Welterweight Continues
Nate Marquardt can win his fight with Tarec Saffiedine this Saturday in Oklahoma, defending his Strikeforce welterweight title for the first and last time in the process, move back to the UFC, race through the division and win the championship there, make 20 defenses, and still, when people put together his defining moment in the sport, it will point back to February 21, 2009 and the finish of his fight with Wilson Gouveia.
Official Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine Weigh In Results
Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine, which is headlined by the Strikeforce welterweight championship bout between Nate Marquardt and Tarec Saffiedine, and the heavyweight bout between Daniel Cormier and Dion Staring, airs on Showtime from the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma at 10pm ET / PT. Fans can also tune in to Showtime Extreme at 8pm ET / PT to see prelim bouts.
RON KRUCK NAMED PLAY-BY-PLAY MAN FOR 'STRIKEFORCE: MARQUARDT VS. SAFFIEDINE'
Veteran broadcaster and AXS TV's "Inside MMA" reporter Ron Kruck will serve as the play-by-play man for Saturday's "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" event, MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed with Showtime officials.
He joins Showtime's usual color commentators, Frank Shamrock and Pat Miletich, as they broadcast the organization's final show.
UFC FUTURE UNCERTAIN, ROGER GRACIE FOCUSED ON IMPRESSIVE STRIKEFORCE WIN
If all goes well, Roger Gracie (5-1 MMA, 3-1 SF) will soon become the fourth member of MMA's first family to compete in the famed UFC octagon. But like every fighter on the Strikeforce roster, he knows there are no guarantees.
"Since it's the last Strikeforce card, it's a historical event,' Gracie told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "After the fact, I don't know exactly what will happen.
"Now is not the time to think about that. I'm just concentrating on the preparations for my bout."
Gracie fights underdog Anthony Smith (17-8 MMA, 2-1 SF) on the Showtime Extreme-broadcast preliminary card of Saturday's "Strikeforce: Marquardt vs. Saffiedine" event, which takes place at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena and precedes the night's Showtime-broadcast main card.
His opponent is a relatively unknown fighter to most casual MMA fans, but Smith earned the bout by calling out Gracie and has promised an impressive win. Gracie said he's not taking the challenge lightly.
"I have been studying him, so I'll be ready," Gracie said. "The fact that he's never gone to decision shows that he's a very intense fighter, win or lose. We've put together our strategy. We'll see how it goes."
Part of that strategy will be to remain offensive throughout the fight. The famed submission artist admits it was a lapse in focus and intensity that led to his lone career loss, a first-round knockout result at the hands of Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal in September 2011.
"What happened on that fight contributed to very many valuable lessons for me; my main lesson was to strike less and grapple more," Gracie joked. "All kidding aside, there were many factors. Psychologically, the way I approached that fight, I became way too comfortable when I heard we had a minute and a half until the end of the round. I relaxed since I knew I couldn't get much grappling accomplished in a minute and a half. As I was relaxing and saving energy for the next round, that's when [Lawal] started increasing his attack. It was that lapse on my part that cost me the fight. Ultimately it's a learning experience."
Gracie insists there will be no such lapse in this bout. The third-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt spent a month training in Rio de Janeiro with Team Nogueira and then another two weeks in Los Angeles to work at Black House with Lyoto Machida and Glover Teixeira. On fight night, he'll have Machida, Rilion Gracie and Renzo Gracie in his corner.
Gracie said he's prepared to compete wherever Smith takes the fight, but he knows it's imperative to stick with his bread and butter.
"I have to be ready for whatever comes," Gracie said. "Since my ground game tends to be much better than that of most of my opponents, if I try too hard to find a knockout, I'm simply playing with bad luck. If I see an opening for a knockout, I'll take it, but the more I hunt for it, the more chances I give my opponent to catch me.
"I don't want to be on the defensive throughout the fight. I'll put my game into action instead. If all goes well, he'll remain without a decision on his record."
Gegard Mousasi: ‘I see a lot of fighters getting knocked out and they still get more praise than me’
According to the "underestimated" Mousasi, he's witnessed other fighters "lose very badly," yet receive much higher praise than him. But, after some much-needed experience, he now understands "how things work."
His words to MMA Fighting:
"Maybe [because I was overseas]. I don't know. I see some fighters lose very badly, but still they get more praise or they're not overrated. They're just good fighters in a lot of people's eyes. But I feel like one loss with King Mo, it made me a very bad fighter somehow. When I first fought in the U.S., there was a lot of attention. And then after that loss, there wasn't actually that much interest. I see now, it's experience. I get [more] mature. I understand now things how work. I felt I accomplished my goals, I won in DREAM. I got the belt in Strikeforce.You're a top contender, and [suddenly] you are just a fighter, basically fighting just to fight. I understand how things go. It can go very fast. It comes fast and it goes fast. I see a lot of fighters getting knocked out, but they still, they praise them a lot more than me. I haven't been beaten badly in any fight. I just lost one fight in, I don't know how many fights. I think people underestimate me. And I feel like now, with the good training I have, why shouldn't I be able to fight these UFC fighters?"
For Gegard, it's now or never, as he hopes an impressive performance coupled with a victory over Mike Kyle earns him an invite to the world's premiere MMA organization:
"This is the time. If I don't do it now, maybe I won't get a second chance. I feel like everything is falling into its place."
Tarec Saffiedine's Date with Destiny Approaches
One of the classiest gentlemen in the sport of mixed martial arts today, Tarec Saffiedine has never been someone seeking the spotlight all for himself. Case in point, ask him the highlight of his Strikeforce career and he’ll talk about his July 2011 win over Scott Smith because it was the same night his teammate Dan Henderson beat Fedor Emelianenko.