UFC 142's Ricardo Funch happy to replace fellow lawman, eyes octagon redemption
RIO DE JANEIRO – When Brazilian special-forces officer Paulo Thiago was forced to withdraw from this weekend's UFC 142 event, it only made sense that welterweight replacement Ricardo Funch (8-2 MMA, 0-2 UFC) stepped in to face Mike Pyle (21-8-1 MMA, 4-3 UFC).
Sure, Funch isn't quite as well-known as Thiago, but as a recently commissioned police officer in his current residence of Ludlow, Mass., he's capable of carrying the shield.
"I was in the right place at the right time," Funch recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) in his native Portuguese. "I had just won a fight, and Paulo Thiago got injured. Since I'm Brazilian and I have a passport and the UFC needed a quick replacement, it was this combination of factors that allowed me to come back."
You may remember Funch from his two previous UFC contests, a pair of losses to Claude Patrick and Johny Hendricks. If you don't, that's just fine, according to the 31-year-old. Funch now admits he probably wasn't ready for the UFC experience at the time he got the call.
UFC returns to Atlanta on April 21 for UFC 146
For the first time since 2008, the Ultimate Fighting Championship is headed to the Peach State.
It was announced on Tuesday's new edition of FUEL TV's "UFC Live" that Atlanta's Philips Arena will play host to UFC 146, which takes place April 21.
MMAjunkie.com has since confirmed with sources close to the event that the city's Philips Arena will host the card.
Stumpf injured, replacement Thompson meets Edwards at UFC 143
An undisclosed injury has forced Mike Stumpf (11-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) out of UFC 143.
In his place goes undefeated welterweight prospect Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who fights Justin Edwards (7-2 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at the Super Bowl weekend event, UFC officials today announced.
UFC 143 takes place Feb. 4 at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Thompson vs. Edwards is part of the event's preliminary card, which airs live on FX. Main-card action airs on pay-per-view.
UFC on FX 1 adds Easton vs. Papazian, Schilling vs. Pineda
As previously announced, Ken Stone (10-3 MMA, 1-1 UFC) has scratched from next week's UFC on FX 1 event.
In his place steps newcomer Jared Papazian (14-6 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who meets fellow bantamweight Mike Easton (11-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) in a main-card bout.
In addition to that fight, UFC officials today confirmed that Daniel Pineda (15-7 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet fellow featherweight newcomer Pat Schilling (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) on the night's preliminary card.
UFC on FX 1 takes place Jan. 20 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. In addition to the FX-televised main card, prelims air on FUEL TV.
UFC on FUEL TV 2 adds Gustafsson vs. Nogueira, Pickett vs. Page in Sweden
The UFC's first event in Sweden will feature a local in the night's headliner.
UFC officials today announced that fast-rising light-heavyweight contender Alexander Gustafsson (13-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) will meet veteran Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (20-5 MMA, 3-2 UFC) in April's UFC on FUEL TV 2 headliner.
Additionally, Brad Pickett (20-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will meet fellow bantamweight Damacio Page (12-6 MMA, 0-1 UFC) on the card.
UFC on FUEL TV 2's main card airs on FUEL TV (live on Saturday afternoon in the U.S.), and as MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported, some prelims are expected to stream on Facebook.
The latest UFC on FUEL TV 2 card now includes:
Alexander Gustafsson vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Alessio Sakara vs. Brian Stann
Siyar Bahadurzada vs. Paulo Thiago
Damacio Page vs. Brad Pickett
DaMarques Johnson vs. John Maguire
Cyrille Diabate vs. Jorgen Kruth
Simeon Thoresen vs. Besam Yousef
Francis Carmont vs. Magnus Cedenblad
Papy Abedi vs. James Head
Dana White: Rashad Evans Wins and Remains Injury Free, He Gets Bones Jones Next
Speculation began to swirl last week after UFC president Dana White said in an interview that Jones was already done with his vacation and looking to get back in action sooner rather than later. He mentioned that Jones could potentially face former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson next, with most pointing at the UFC 145 fight card in Montreal as a possible landing spot.
While anything is still possible, on Tuesday when speaking with the Jim Rome Show, White said that Jones is indeed ready to get back in the cage, but if Evans wins on Jan. 28 and comes out unscathed, he’ll get his chance to face the champion.
“We’re working on it now. We’re going to obviously see what happens in this Rashad fight at the end of the month. The next fight on Fox, Rashad is fighting (Phil) Davis, so we’ll see what happens there,” White said on Tuesday.
“If Rashad wins, if Rashad comes out injury free, we’ll get the Jon ‘Bones’ Jones/Rashad Evans fight going.”
White: Silva vs. Sonnen II would likely take place in Brazilian soccer stadium
If Chael Sonnen gets by Mark Munoz later this month at UFC on FOX 2, his next bout could be a huge one.
UFC president Dana White recently joined "UFC Tonight" on FUEL TV to discuss potential plans for a long-awaited rematch.
In the segment, which ultimately didn't make it to air, White said that if Sonnen gets his rematch with UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, it'll likely take place in Silva's home country of Brazil – in a soccer stadium.
That means the fight could headline the UFC's second-ever stadium show (the first, UFC 129, took place this past April in Toronto) and its first-ever outdoor event. UFC officials previously have talked about using a Brazilian venue that could accommodate up to 100,000 spectators for a future event...
Ex-champ Sean Sherk aims for spring UFC return, wants to solidify HOF credentials
Inactive since a September 2010 win over Evan Dunham, the oft-injured Sherk (36-4-1 MMA, 8-4 UFC) now is planning for a spring or early-summer return to the octagon.
"I wanted to fight [in 2011]," Sherk told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) on Monday. "But I had the same issues that held me out of the octagon for 18 months. It's just injuries. It's injuries piling up.
"I fought too many times in the last five or six years with serious injuries. I don't feel the need at this point to fight injured. When you're fighting and not 100 percent, it's not a fun thing. It's not something fun to go through. It's not fun going through training camp when you need surgery."
At 38 years old, Sherk knows he's in the twilight of his career. He still trains five to six days per week, one or two times per day. He's there with the likes of UFC fighters Jacob Volkmann, Paul Bradley and Nik Lentz putting in the work. But for Sherk, he also has to worry getting healthy so he can reach his ultimate goal of getting back into the cage.
"I want to fight again," he said. "I'm a fighter. At this point in time, do I plan on fighting five or six more times? Probably not, to be honest with you. That's why I want big fights. I want co-main-event or main-event type fights that are going to cement my place in the UFC Hall of Fame. Absolutely, I think at this point in time, I've done enough to be a hall of famer, but I'd like a few more fights to make my mark."
"I fought for the world title in two different weight classes," he said. "I was No. 1 or No. 2 in two different weight classes in the world. I won a world title. I defended a world title. I think I've done enough to cement my place in the UFC Hall of Fame
"Most guys in the Hall of Fame right now didn't accomplish what I've accomplished. So I feel like I deserve that."
UFC 142's Sam Stout doubtful that Thiago Tavares will trade punches
Sam Stout now finds his own openings.
Five months after the untimely death of his trainer and brother-in-law, Shawn Tompkins, the 27-year-old fighter listens to several voices as he engages a sparring partner.
Before, he had to rely on only one.
"As much as I wish he was here every day, it's been a good camp," Stout recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I've really found a strength inside myself to be a little more self-motivated and be a little more independent, as opposed to relying on Shawn to tell me what to do."
Stout (17-6-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) plans to bring longtime teammate Mark Hominick and a jiu-jitsu coach to his fight with Thiago Tavares (16-4-1 MMA, 6-4-1 UFC) at UFC 142, which takes place Saturday at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro. The main card airs on pay-per-view, and the prelims, including Stout's bout, air on FX.
UFC 141 drug tests come back clean
All 21 fighters who underwent drug testing at this past month's UFC 141 event tested clean for performance-enhancing drugs and recreational/drugs of abuse.
Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer today e-mailed the drug-testing results to MMAjunkie.com.
UFC 141 took place Dec. 30 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with an Alistair Overeem vs. Brock Lesnar pay-per-view headliner.
Brandon Vera Calls Out Recently-Returned Thiago Silva
It seems that Brandon Vera wants another shot at Thiago Silva. Silva beat Vera down at UFC 125 and initially won a lopsided decision, but the fight was switched to a no-contest after Silva knowingly submitted a fake urine sample. Silva's suspension recently ended, and it didn't take The Truth long to get wind of it.
'The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil' expected to air on FUEL TV
The first international edition of "The Ultimate Fighter" reality series appears to have a broadcast home in the U.S.
"The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil," an upcoming version of the show that features Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort as coaches, is expected to air on the FOX-owned FUEL TV.
UFC president Dana White recently shared news of the plans.
Ed Herman calls Bisping "over-rated" - wants Maia and Belcher
“I’d love to fight Alan Belcher or Demian Maia. I’d love to rematch any of the guys I’ve lost to but they’re probably the top two guys on my list. They’re in the top 10 and that’s where I want to be and I feel I can beat those guys. I’d love to fight someone like Michael Bisping or someone like that who I think is over-rated.”
Report: Fabio Maldonado Injured, Out Of Brazil's UFC 142
Tatame is reporting that UFC light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado is out of Saturday's UFC 142 in Rio, Brazil, due to a rib injury. Maldonado was scheduled to face Caio Magalhaes on the undercard, himself an injury replacement for original Maldonado opponent Stanislav Nedkov.
As of this writing, neither the UFC or Maldonado have confirmed the report.
The Rio event has been plagued with injuries as this is the fifth time a bout has been affected by someone getting hurt. The 31-year-old Maldonado was looking to rebound from a decision loss to Kyle Kingsbury in June that evened his Octagon record to 1-1. Before the defeat, he had won 11 straight.
Jon Jones tells the UFC he’s ready to fight ASAP
After his dominant win at UFC 140, Jon Jones talked about taking a break from fighting and treating his parents to a vacation.
Jones' inactivity lasted just three weeks before he began to get the itch again.
"[Jones] called about four days ago and said 'okay let's go, I'm done with vacation.'" UFC president Dana White said on "The MMA Insiders" on ESPN1100/98.9 FM in Las Vegas (12:37 mark). "He said he wanted to take all this time off and then they were calling me four days ago saying he wants to fight as soon as possible. He's ready to go."
Ed Herman was offered UFC contract before TUF
In an interview with Angrymarks "Glove Up or Shut Up" podcast, Ed Herman revealed that before making the TUF TV show, he was offered a contract to fight in the UFC, but instead he chose the TUF route.
Ed's interview on the podcast is in the first 10 minutes of the show