UFC 137's Cheick Kongo aiming for rematch with 'lucky' champ Cain Velasquez
Slow and steady wins the race, though fighting ugly does little to win fans.
Cheick Kongo knows Saturday's UFC 137 co-main-event win over Matt Mitrione wasn't a signature or highlight-reel win that dazzled fans, but it served its purpose.
It got him one step closer to a rematch with champ Cain Velasquez, whom Kongo said was "lucky" in their first meeting.
Kongo (17-6-2 MMA, 10-4-1 UFC) earned a unanimous-decision victory over the previously unbeaten Mitrione (5-1 MMA, 5-1 UFC) in the pay-per-view co-headliner of UFC 137, which took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. An action-light first round was showered in boos, though Kongo picked up the pace for an effective third round that led to the victory.
"Most of the time, when I win a fight, I can say it was exciting," Kongo told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) after the event. "But I was kind of slow.
"I was expecting to exchange more than I did tonight. I wanted to see what he would do specifically. The last round, I just decided to go for it."
Despite lopsided UFC 137 win, Diaz unhappy with performance, training, finances
While former Strikeforce champ Nick Diaz (26-7 MMA, 7-4 UFC) certainly didn't have the best first round of his professional career on Saturday night, he rebounded over the final 10 minutes in an epic beatdown of MMA legend B.J. Penn.
UFC president Dana White called the performance "awesome," and labeled both Diaz and Penn "warriors."
It's everything Diaz could have hoped for in his octagon return and yet it sounds as if it was nothing that he wanted. In fact, at Saturday night's post-event press conference, Diaz admitted he simply wasn't happy – about just about anything, really.
"I'm not happy with my performance at all," Diaz said of his win over Penn, which served as the main event of Saturday's UFC 137 event in Las Vegas. "I wasn't 100 percent today. I felt good, but just leading up to this fight, I went through a lot of hard times."
UFC boss complimentary of 'Cro Cop,' uncertain if Penn's retirement will stick
Saturday night's UFC 137 event may very well have marked the final fights in the careers of two MMA legends.
That said, UFC president Dana White isn't 100 percent certain both Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (27-10-2 MMA, 4-6 UFC) and B.J. Penn (16-8-2 MMA, 12-7-2 UFC) have entered the cage for the final time.
"B.J. is a warrior," White said. "What happened to him tonight has never happened to him in his entire career. What he's thinking tonight he might not think eight weeks from now."
A battered Penn told UFC broadcaster Joe Rogan he was done fighting after being demolished in the final two rounds of his main-event contest with Nick Diaz at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. A CompuStrike report pegged the final striking tally at 239-76 in Diaz's favor, and while his right eye bore the marks of a war, it paled in comparison to the damage on Penn's face.
White admitted he didn't speak to Penn following the fight, but he's not completely convinced that at just 32 years old, "The Prodigy" is done competing.
"They took B.J. right to the hospital," White told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Who knows. It might be or it might not be (Penn's last fight). That's up to him. I don't know."
UFC 137 bonuses: Diaz, Penn, Palaszewski and Cerrone earn $75,000 awards
Nick Diaz, B.J. Penn, Bart Palaszewski and Donald Cerrone each earned $75,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC 137 event.
Palaszewski earned the night's "Knockout of the Night" award, Cerrone picked up the "Submission of the Night" bonus, and Diaz and Penn took home "Fight of the Night" honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and award amounts at UFC 137's post-fight press conference.
UFC 137 took place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The night's main card aired on pay-per-view, and Facebook and Spike TV carried portions of the preliminary card.
When GSP scratched, Chris Lytle briefly considered post-retirement UFC 137 return
Let's make it perfectly clear: Chris Lytle has no plans to come out of retirement.
After a recent storybook ending to a memorable UFC career, Lytle is focused on an Indiana State Senate run and spending more time with his family.
But admittedly, when he heard UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre had scratched from this weekend's UFC 137 event and that Carlos Condit might be without an opponent, he briefly entertained the idea of a comeback.
So there's still that itch to get back in the cage?
"Actually there is," Lytle recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I really didn't realize it that much until a few weeks ago. I heard Carlos Condit was going to fight GSP and GSP got injured, and I was thinking, "Hmmm, I'm not doing anything that day.'
"But I haven't been training or anything. I've been running for state Senate. That's keeping me really busy. I've been disappointed with how little I've been able to get into the gym. I've been able to get in there a little bit but not as much as I like."
UFC 137 weigh-in results
MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)
•Nick Diaz (170) vs. B.J. Penn (169)
•Cheick Kongo (234) vs. Matt Mitrione (255)
•Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic (235) vs. Roy Nelson (252)
•Jeff Curran (134) vs. Scott Jorgensen (135)
•Hatsu Hioki (145) vs. George Roop (145)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)
•Donald Cerrone (156) vs. Dennis Siver (155)
•Tyson Griffin (149)* vs. Bart Palaszewski (146)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook)
•Eliot Marshall (204) vs. Brandon Vera (205)
•Danny Downes (155) vs. Ramsey Nijem (155)
•Chris Camozzi (185) vs. Francis Carmont (185)
•Dustin Jacoby (185) vs. Clifford Starks (186)
* - Bout to be contested at catchweight of 148 pounds; Griffin fined 25 percent of "show" money
UFC Smartly Nixes Plans for UFC Japan to Lead Into U.S. Pay-Per-View
According to a report from MMAFighting.com's Daniel Herbertson, the UFC has finally wised up to the realities of promoting an event in Japan. It was originally suggested by UFC President Dana White that the UFC Japan card, scheduled to take place at Saitama Super Arena on February 26, would act as a prelude to a stateside pay-per-view, but sources have confirmed that the UFC has nixed that approach:
The UFC's long-awaited return to Japan on Feb. 26, 2012 will be a full pay-per-view level event, sources have confirmed to MMA Fighting as initially reported by Dave Meltzer. Zuffa has thus abandoned its controversial plan to have the UFC Japan event act as a free-to-air lead-in to a Las Vegas PPV event.
Officials detail Jon Anik's new duties with UFC broadcasting team
Following Thursday's announcement that veteran ESPN broadcaster Jon Anik has joined the UFC broadcasting team, officials today detailed some of his new duties with the promotion.
Anik, the longtime host of "MMA Live" on ESPN2 and ESPN.com, has officially joined the UFC as a play-by-play man.
The duties include broadcasts on both FX and FUEL TV.
FX and FUEL TV are both owned by FOX, which recently inked a landmark seven-year deal with the UFC. The partnership officially kicks off in 2012.
While the longtime broadcasting team of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan will remain intact and handle the usual pay-per-view events, Anik's duties will include a mix of cable events and highlights programs.
Anik will provide play-by-play commentary for shows that air on FX and FUEL TV, including UFC Fight Night and The Ultimate Fighter Finale events. He'll also handle the newly created host position for the revamped "TUF" reality series that moves from Spike TV to FX in 2012. He'll also host a new "Ultimate Insider" show that debuts January on FUEL TV.
Officials have not announced who may be paired with Anik as a color commentator.
UFC 142 booked for Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on Jan. 14
The Ultimate Fighting Championship won't wait long to return to spiritual home of mixed martial arts.
Following this past August's ultra-successful UFC 134 event, the UFC will return to Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena on Jan. 14 for an event expected to serve as UFC 142.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the booking with UFC officials.
The UFC has yet to make an official announcement regarding the event, and potential fight bookings for the card have yet to be revealed
FUEL TV debuts 'UFC Champions Roundtable' with Jay Glazer on Nov. 8
UFC president Dana White has promised FUEL TV is planning "must-have" programming for MMA fans, and the cable channel will soon debut a "UFC Champions Roundtable" special with host Jay Glazer.
Featuring current and former UFC champions Forrest Griffin, Chuck Liddell, Jon Jones and Frank Mir, the special debuts on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).
The channel also plans frequent replays leading up to that week's UFC on FOX 1 event.
FX and FUEL TV are both owned by FOX, which recently inked a landmark seven-year deal with the UFC. The partnership officially kicks off in 2012.
Additionally, FUEL TV has announced plans for both a pre- and post-fight show for the Nov. 12 UFC on FOX 1 event, which features a heavyweight title fight between current champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Junior Dos Santos. Th event takes place at Anaheim, Calif.'s Honda Center.
Charles Oliveira making transition to UFC's featherweight division
Brazilian youngster Charles Oliveira (14-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) is dropping to 145 pounds.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today learned from Oliveira's manager, Wade Hampel, that Oliveira has informed UFC brass he would like for his next fight to take place in the company's featherweight division.
"Charles hopes to return to action before the end of the year, if possible," Hampel said. "We're extremely excited to see what he can achieve at 145 pounds."
White says 'TUF: Brazil' a done deal, will hold 'as many events as possible' in country
LAS VEGAS – Canada and the Philippines' loss will apparently be Brazil's gain.
UFC president Dana White, who has long teased an international version of "The Ultimate Fighter" today said a Brazilian edition of the long-running reality series is "a done deal" and will debut in the near future.
And while White insists the company has not yet confirmed when it will return to Brazil for a live event, he said the UFC is actively working on booking "as many (events) as we possibly can."
NSAC says UFC 137 headliner Nick Diaz passed required pre-fight drug test
The shuffling deck of UFC 137 squashed the Nevada State Athletic Commission's plans for out-of-competition testing of the headliners.
However, one competitor did not and could not escape a pre-fight drug test: Nick Diaz. And as it turned out, he took headliner status.
Thankfully, the NSAC received notice on Wednesday that Diaz passed a test for drugs of abuse and is cleared to fight, NSAC executive director Keith Kizer told MMAjunkie.com.
B.J. Penn Challenges Cesar Gracie, Admits to Being 'Hookwinked' By Him
B.J. Penn is an mature adult now and doesn't want to talk smack. That's fine, and I applaud that decision. Penn is usually a pretty honest guy though, and in an interview with Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting, he aims his honesty in the direction of a guy that he thinks might have 'hoodwinked' him - Cesar Gracie, manager of Nick Diaz and a guy B.J. has trained with in the past. He even offers to go five rounds with him. Here's the telling quote:
"Dana called us...it's a funny story actually. Dana called us and said 'Cesar just called me and said they would love that they would love to fight Nick Diaz. I mean, that him and Nick Diaz would love to fight you, and that's the fight they want. So I texted Cesar. I said 'Dana just said you would love to fight us, and this and that's the fight you want'. And I guess, I don't know, maybe Cesar didn't wanna say that he said that. He texted me back and said 'Laugh out loud, Dana just told us the same thing'. So I ended up thinking Dana's trying to set me up and make it into a personal thing, but it was really Cesar. Cesar was...Cesar hoodwinked me, I guess."
UFC on FOX 1 undercard streams free on Facebook and FOX.com
The entire undercard for next month's landmark UFC on FOX 1 event will stream live and for free on Facebook and FOX.com.
UFC president Dana White today announced the plans following a pre-UFC 137 press conference.
The full UFC on FOX 1 card includes:
MAIN CARD (FOX)
Champ Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos (for heavyweight title)
PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook and FOX.com)
Clay Guida vs. Ben Henderson
Pablo Garza vs. Dustin Poirier
Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto vs. Darren Uyenoyama
Ricardo Lamas vs. Cub Swanson
Clay Harvsion vs. DaMarques Johnson
Robert Peralta vs. Mackens Semerzier
Paul Bradley vs. Mike Pierce
Matt Lucas vs. Aaron Rosa
Alex Caceres vs. Cole Escovedo
ESPN's Jon Anik joins UFC broadcasting team
Jon Anik has joined the UFC family.
UFC president Dana White today announced that the veteran broadcaster, who's been the longtime host and anchor of the weekly "MMA Live" show on ESPN2, has joined the UFC broadcasting team.
Anik will commentate UFC Fight Night and The Ultimate Fighter Finale events on FX, and he'll also call the action for the live "TUF" episodes that begin airing on the cable station in 2012.
"We're very happy to have Jon as part of the team," White said during today's UFC 137 pre-event press conference in Las Vegas.
Anik, 33, is taking a full-time position with the UFC. There's no word on his possible "MMA Live" replacement.
Nick Diaz Wishes He'd Stuck to Boxing Plans
Nick Diaz's chance to come to the UFC was a move made seemingly as much to provide Georges St. Pierre with a new, marketable challenger as it was to prevent him from following through on his Strikeforce contract which allowed him to take a pro boxing match. Diaz had a deal worked out with the well faded (and frankly never all that good) Jeff Lacy which was being shopped to different pay-per-view distributors but the UFC brought him in and gave him the shot at GSP's title.
Diaz no-showed press events and got bumped down to the co-main event to fight B.J. Penn.
Nick is now telling MMA Fighting that he regrets his decision to skip out on his boxing opportunity:
"I would have gone back to boxing," Diaz said. "If I had my chance to do it over again, I would go back to the boxing contract. It would have paid me more money, and I would have took my punches win or lose, and just do my job, fight and get paid."
Though content with career, UFC 137's 'Cro Cop' says another loss would be a 'disaster'
A softer side – in fact, a jovial and even comedic side – has come out of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic ahead of Saturday's UFC 137 fight with Roy Nelson.
The heavyweight fighter's UFC career long has been identified by unrivaled stoicism, but lately, the dangerous Croatian striker has loosened up.
Even with a two-fight losing streak staring him in the face, Filipovic told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) he's got every reason be proud of his once-illustrious career. But admittedly, another loss would be a personal disaster, he said.
Filipovic (27-9-2 MMA, 4-5 UFC) and Nelson (15-6 MMA, 2-2 UFC) clash on Saturday's pay-per-view main card at Las Vegas' Mandalay Bay Events Center. Both notables are stuck in two-fight losing skids, and Saturday's loser could be forced to pack his bags.