UFC 133: Rashad Evans Working With Kickboxing World Champions to Prepare for Tito Ortiz
Interesting photo here as Rashad Evans prepares for next weekend's UFC 133 main event against Tito Ortiz. To prepare for the fight, Evans has spent some time training with top ranked kickboxers Tyrone Spong and Cosmo Alexandre at Imperial MMA in Florida. For those unfamiliar with the names, both Spong and Alexandre are among the elite in kickboxing and Muay Thai, claiming multiple world title between them. Spong may be best known to MMA fans as Alistair Overeem's opponent at last year's K-1 Grand Prix, where he gave The Reem his toughest challenge of 2010.
I'll be very interested to see how this work impacts Evans, as in my eyes, it is a fantastic choice of training partners for him. Rashad's greatest strengths in MMA have always been his wrestling and his hands. His striking game is solid from the waist up, but has some gaps elsewhere, as he does not use many kicks, and could still improve his footwork at times. Working with two kickboxing experts may help tighten up that footwork, while expanding his striking repertoire to include kicks and knees. Meanwhile, both Spong and Cosmo are looking at making a transition to MMA, and working with a wrestler and excellent all around fighter like Evans will greatly benefit them.
Rory MacDonald Talks About Training With Georges St. Pierre
UFC welterweight Rory MacDonald has been writing a series of blogs for sportsnet.ca leading up to his fight with Mike Pyle at UFC 133 on August 6th. The first one dealt with his childhood and his entry into MMA. This one deals with his training at Tri-Star gym with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre. He talks at first about how Mike Pyle has said that his experience edge will be a factor, and believes that he will beat Pyle and take some of that experience. He then moves onto talking about GSP.
Mike Easton vs. Jeff Hougland at UFC on Versus 6
More good news for the bantamweight division today. Mike Easton will make his long-awaited UFC debut at UFC on Versus 6 on October 1st when he takes on Jeff Hougland. UFC.com shares the news:
Winner of five in a row, bantamweight prospect Mike "The Hulk" Easton will return to competition for the first time since 2009 and he will do it in the UFC Octagon as he makes his debut in the organization against Jeff Hougland on October 1st's UFC Live on Versus card in Washington D.C. Easton, a stablemate of 135-pound champ Dominick Cruz, will be in tough against Hougland, who was successful in his UFC debut in July, defeating Donny Walker.
Cung Le Will Only Return to MMA to Fight in the UFC
Former Strikeforce middleweight champion Cung Le might only have eight career MMA fights, but the former San Shou world champion is a popular figure in the sport and people want to see him fight. Le has been concentrating on a budding acting career of late and has only fought twice in the past three years though, and there doesn't appear to be much on the horizon for him. He's under contract to Strikeforce, but he told MMA Weekly that the only thing he want to do now is fight for the UFC:
"I know for a fact that if I do fight again, it’s going to be in the UFC. I’ve never fought in the UFC, but I would love to fight in the UFC. But right now because of my contract with Showtime and Strikeforce, hopefully things can work out because there is a show in San Jose that Cain Velasquez is the main event. I would love to fight in San Jose for the UFC and for Dana White and Lorenzo (Fertitta)," said Le.
Alessio Sakara Releases Statement About Injury
UFC middleweight Alessio Sakara released a statement to MMA Fighting earlier today regarding his withdrawal from UFC 133 on August 6th. He had been scheduled to fight Jorge Rivera, but suffered a knee injury and was replaced in the bout by Constantinos Philippou. Here's what he had to say:
"I tried to ignore the pain until now, thinking I had just sprained the knee," he said. "I kept training without using my legs. I wanted to get to the fight in a good condition somehow, but the MRI diagnosed that I broke my ligaments, and now I can't fight!"
Pat Barry vs. Stefan Struve added to UFC on Versus 6 lineup
The UFC's tallest heavyweight has a date with the promotion's shortest one.
UFC officials today announced that verbal agreements are in place for 6-foot-11 Stefan Struve (21-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) to meet 5-foot-11 Pat Barry (6-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC on Versus 6.
UFC on Versus 6 takes place Oct. 1 at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. The evening's main card airs on Versus.
Struve vs. Barry likely will be part of the broadcast.
Jeff Curran signs multi-fight deal with UFC
"Big Frog" is returning to the UFC.
More than seven years and exactly 26 fights since his lone trip to the octagon, 33-year-old bantamweight Jeff Curran (33-13-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has signed a multi-fight deal to return the UFC.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned of the signing from sources close to the fighter.
He's expected to fight at a fall UFC event.
'Axe Murderer' coach: Wanderlei Silva still has the potential to become champion again
"Nobody said it directly to Wanderlei, that he won't fight anymore. Wanderlei is in Brazil now, he'll return to the United States this week, and he's coming to train here. He wants to fight again. He trained his whole life and suffered many injuries as any other athlete, but they're all healed. He's with a good body, stronger than ever. He's Wanderlei, he'll never give up. That's the main thing about him. And there's no reasons for him to do that. He's reached what every athlete wants to. I'm not saying this as his coach, I'm saying this as a guy who watched him growing in the sport. He has the potential to become champion again, it's all about timing."
- Rafael Cordeiro
UFC 138 Leben vs Munoz to Air on Spike TV
The UFC returns to the United Kingdom on November 5th for UFC 138 at the LG Arena in Birmingham, England. The card is headlined by Chris Leben and Mark Munoz in what could be considered a title eliminator for the Middleweight belt. Chris Leben has bounced back from the devastating knockout loss at the hands of Brian Stann at UFC 125 with a sensational knockout of Wanderlei Silva at UFC 132. Mark Munoz is currently on a three fight win streak that includes wins over C.B. Dollaway and Demian Maia. Today, Spike TV made it official when they sent out a press release stating they'd be the outlet for airing the event.
Matt Riddle welcomes newcomer Lance Benoist at UFC Fight Night 25
It took a little while, but Lance Benoist finally has a date for his octagon debut.
After signing a multi-fight deal with the UFC this past month, Benoist (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is scheduled to fight Matt Riddle (5-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) at "UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou."
UFC officials today announced the bout, though its placement on the event's fight card was not made official.
Paul Bradley steps in to fight Rafael Natal at UFC 133
Paul Bradley (16-2 MMA, 0-0 UFC), who made a brief appearance on "The Ultimate Fighter 7" before doctors pulled him from the show with a contagious skin condition, has verbally agreed to fight Rafael "Sapo" Natal (12-3-1 MMA, 0-1-1 UFC) at UFC 133.
Natal was today left without an opponent when his originally scheduled charge, Constantinos Phillippou, was promoted to a main card fight with Jorge Rivera in the wake of a doomed bout with Alessio Sakara.
"UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami" official with 12 bouts
The fight card for next month's "UFC 134: Silva vs. Okami" event is now official with 12 bouts.
UFC officials recently confirmed a bout MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported between featherweight prospect Felipe Arantes (13-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Yuri Alcantara (24-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
All fights now have been announced for the Aug. 27 event.
UFC President Dana White: We Always Planned to Come Back to Denver
The Ultimate Fighting Championship began in Denver nearly 20 years ago, but the promotion hasn’t operated a pay-per-view event in the Mile High City since “The Ultimate Ultimate” in 1995. Zuffa, the UFC’s parent company, wasn’t even the owner back then.
UFC president Dana White, in an exclusive interview with MMAWeekly.com, says that the company he is part owner of, alongside Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta, has long been on a course to return to Denver, but they wanted to do it the right way.
Article includes video of Dana talking of the return to Denver.
Rampage irritated with everyone trying to wrestle him. Wants someone who will "come to fight"
Both sides of this issue are very understandable... Rampage wants someone to let him throw his hands because he sees this as a chance to entertain fans and have some fun, but if I was in a cage with that mad man I would try to hold him down for as long as I can.. anything to keep those cinderblocks he calls hands away from me.
"Jackson is also quite adamant that he feels Jones will execute the same game plan Evans had. He's already attempting to avoid that by engaging in a bit of psychological warfare in challenging "Bones'" manhood if he does, in fact, make it wrestlemania in Denver on Sept. 24 at UFC 135."
John Hathaway vs. Pascal Krauss set for UFC 138 in England
German UFC prospect Pascal Krauss (10-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will put his unblemished mark on the line against the once-beaten John Hathaway (15-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) at UFC 138.
Hathaway on Friday broke news of the matchup via his official Twitter account, and MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed that verbal agreements are in place.
UFC 138 takes place Nov. 5 at the 16,000-seat LG Arena at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England.