The Blueprint: Bisping vs. Belfort
Do you love standup-only fights?
If so, the main event on FX this Saturday night is must-see TV. Vitor Belfort versus Michael Bisping pits two of the UFC’s best 185-pound strikers (not named Anderson Silva) against each other in a championship eliminator, of sorts.
Josh Janousek to make UFC debut against Michael Kuiper at UFC on FOX 6
The fight card for the UFC's second FOX show in Chicago, Ill. continues to fill out. NCAA Diviion II All-American Josh Janousek will make his Octagon debut against Michael Kuiper at the network television event. MMA Fighting's Ariel Helwani has confirmed that news with sources close to the signing.
A junior college national champion in wrestling, Janousek eventually moved on to the Minnesota State University, Mankota for his junior and senior years in 2004 and 2005 where he earned All-American honors.
Janousek, 32, is 8-1 in professional mixed martial arts and has moonlighted as a coach for various other fighters. Most notably, he helped Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira prepare for Brendan Schaub prior to UFC 134. He also prepped Junior dos Santos prior to his first meeting with Cain Velasquez at the first UFC on FOX.
Lightweight Champ Ben Henderson signs new eight-fight UFC contract extension
UFC lightweight champion, Benson "Smooth" Henderson, was one of the WEC's top lightweights before getting placed into the UFC. He proved the WEC doubters wrong, as he became the UFC lightweight champion and has since defended it twice. With that, he has now signed an eight fight deal with the UFC, likely for a pretty good amount of money.
Ben Henderson, the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion, is coming off a terrific win over Nate Diaz at UFC on Fox 5 in Dec. 2012, defending his 155-pound title for the second time in a row.
"Smooth" has made it to the highest point in the mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion's most talent-laden division, and now it looks like he'll be getting the pay that comes with it, inking a brand new eight fight deal with the UFC.
Michael Bisping - A Career Just Hitting Its Peak
There was a time when Michael Bisping - who fights Vitor Belfort on January 19th in the main event of UFC on FX 7 in Sao Paulo, Brazil - didn’t know what to do with his life. He’d dropped out of an electrical engineering course and worked a series of blue-collar jobs. But when he committed to MMA in 2003, the working-class kid from Manchester, England found some much needed direction. In 2006 he reflected on his humble beginnings, saying, “You always think you’re going to be great and you’re going to do things, but then I got in my early 20s and I was quite disappointed. And if I was being realistic, my life was going nowhere really. And it was going nowhere fast and I wasn’t getting any younger.”
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."
Cub Swanson told that Dennis Siver fight is for #1 contender
It's been some turnaround for Cub Swanson. The exciting featherweight was the victim of the Jose Aldo double flying knee back in the WEC, and it looked like his career was stagnating following just a 2-2 record by the end of 2011. Swanson instead reeled off a memorable 2012, knocking out George Roop, Ross Pearson, and Charles Oliveira (winning KOTN in the latter two). He starts 2013 with a co-main event fight against Dennis Siver at UFC on FUEL 7 in London on February 16th. According to Swanson, he was told that this fight is for the #1 contender.
Beltran and Pahlares both test positive for UFC on FX 6
Zuffa, LLC, owner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship®, released a statement today regarding UFC middleweight Rousimar Palhares and light heavyweight Joey Beltran:
“Rousimar Palhares tested positive for elevated testosterone and Joey Beltran tested positive for nandrolone, following their respective bouts at UFC on FX 6 in Australia. The UFC organization has a strict, consistent policy against the use of any illegal and/or performance-enhancing drugs, stimulants or masking agents. Both athletes have agreed to serve a nine-month suspension retroactive to December 14. They must pass a drug test upon completion of the suspension before receiving clearance to compete again.”
Josh Barnett - The Warmaster Takes to The Cage Again
Ronin. The Japanese term came to define a samurai with no lord or master. The word literally means “wave man” or a wanderer; someone who is adrift, socially speaking. For the past 16 years, perennial top 10 heavyweight Josh Barnett has been a fighter for hire with no specific ties to any one organization or even a particular region of the world. With no anchor in place and Strikeforce setting sail to the great beyond, MMA’s global fanbase is huddled together eager to see where “The Warmaster” will battle next.
UFC on FX 7 tickets moving slowly in Sao Paulo
Dave Meltzer via Wrestling Observer (subscription required):
We don’t have a number for 1/19 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, but it’s not close to sold out nor very big. That surprises me since it’s the first time UFC has been in that city, and even though it’s a weak card (Michael Bisping vs. Vitor Belfort on top with nothing else star power wise on the show other than Daniel Sarafian who came off TUF Brazil), I’d have thought first time in Sao Paulo would be an immediate sellout. The 11,000-seat arena is less than half sold with less than two weeks to go.
Mike Ricci Calls Out Fellow TUF Runner-Up Al Iaquinta For UFC 158 Fight In Montreal
Fresh off a fairly successful season on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 16, Mike Ricci will be looking to bounce back quickly from his loss in the finals to Colton Smith. He's taken to twitter to call out the runner up of TUF's preceding season, Al Iaquinta, for a lightweight fight at UFC 158, which is set to take place in Montreal this March.
Up until the finals of their respective seasons on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), Mike Ricci and Al Iaquinta were having a lot of success, pushing through their competition. Both came in as favorites for the finale, but neither was able to perform to expectations, as they both came up short once fight time came.
Now, just one month removed from his defeat at the hands of Colton Smith at the TUF 16 Finale, Mike Ricci has taken to twitter to call out his fellow TUF runner-up
Its a family affair
On this weeks MMA Mental Podcast we were joined by TUF Smashes runner up Colin 'The Freakshow' Fletcher. When we asked him if he knew Ross Pearson before going into the house he told us that he had grown up with Ross and that they were actually cousins.