As Strikeforce nixes heavyweights, recovering Antonio Silva eyes move to UFC
With consecutive wins over Fedor Emelianenko, Mike Kyle and Andrei Arlovski, former EliteXC champ Antonio Silva (16-3 MMA, 3-2 UFC) looked well on his way to establishing himself as one of MMA's top heavyweights.
Then he ran into Daniel Cormier, who booted Silva out of Strikeforce's heavyweight grand prix with a surprising first-round knockout.
As it turns out, the loss provided Silva with a valuable lesson he promises to carry with him for the remainder of his career – a career that looks as if may now play out in the UFC.
"Cormier is a good person and a great fighter, but he should have also payed the lotto that day," the Brazilian recently told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "The first punch he landed took me out, and I was unable to fight after it.
"I am from Paraiba, and we always come to fight and let it all hang out. But I learned a lesson: We should not fight for the money but for the love of fighting. After Alistair Overeem dropped out of the tournament, I wanted out of the grand prix, as well, but I continued for the money and God punished me. Money should never be the priority."
UFC 145 official for Montreal in March, gets MacDonald vs. Mills
As expected, the Ultimate Fighting Championship will return to Montreal in March for UFC 145.
And while the fight card is expected to take place on March 24 at Bell Centre, UFC executives have to confirm all of the details.
That said, the night's first fight was made official, as Rory MacDonald will meet fellow welterweight prospect Che Mills.
Spike Counter-Programming UFC, Bellator With Friday TUF Marathons
The UFC/Spike relationship continued its jilted lover getting revenge feel as the network announced Tuesday they will air marathons of The Ultimate Fighter on Friday nights starting on Friday, March 2nd.
The three-hour weekly block -- called "The Ultimate Fighter Fridays" -- will feature some of the best episodes from the 14 seasons TUF ran on the male-focused cable network. Spike also said in a press release they will air special-themed editions of TUF based on social media feedback.
When the UFC announced they had signed a deal with Fox, part of the seven year contract was moving the popular reality show to FX on Friday nights with live fights as opposed to taped. The next season of TUF begins on Friday, March 9th with UFC Bantamweight Champion Dominick Cruz and Urijah Faber as coaches of teams of welterweights and lightweights.
However, Spike will also be counter-programming their future asset Bellator Fighting Championships, which comes to Spike in 2013. Bellator recently announced a move to Fridays on MTV2, making for a busy night of MMA to start the weekend. They also begin their new night on Friday, March 2nd with Spike.com airing the prelim fights.
2012 marks the final year of Spike's deal with the UFC, enabling them access to archive footage they have been using to counter-program UFC events on Fox and Versus.
Strikeforce import Lavar Johnson meets Joey Beltran at UFC on FOX 2
The Strikeforce heavyweights are coming.
Less than one week after UFC president Dana White announced that Strikeforce would no longer be promoting heavyweight contests, UFC executives today announced Lavar Johnson (15-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) has been imported to the UFC and will meet Joey Beltran (13-6 MMA, 3-2 UFC).
The two heavyweights will clash at UFC on FOX 2, which takes place Jan. 28 at Chicago's United Center.
The night's main card airs on FOX, but Beltran vs. Johnson is expected to take place on the evening's preliminary card.
Koch Out of UFC 143 Showdown with Poirier Due to Injury
Erik Koch has suffered an unspecified injury and will be unable to compete at UFC 143, promotion officials announced Tuesday.
Koch was scheduled to lock horns with fellow featherweight prospect Dustin Poirier at the Feb. 4 event, which will be headlined by an interim welterweight title bout between Nick Diaz and Carlos Condit. The search for Koch’s replacement is currently underway.
UFC 141's Alistair Overeem passes drug test, cleared for PPV headliner
Next week's UFC 141 main event will remain intact.
After issues with a recent Nevada State Athletic Commission-mandated drug test, Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC) finally has taken and passed a test and been cleared to compete against Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC).
UFC president Dana White first hinted at the news today via Twitter, and an official later confirmed the passed test with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"Overeem is ready to go!!!" White tweeted. "Lesnar vs Overeem is on!"
Brock: I've had the same PED accusations as Overeem my whole life
As a massive heavyweight who cuts weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit, Brock Lesnar is no stranger to questions regarding performance-enhancing substance use.
But as he prepares for his UFC 141 contest with former Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem, all the question marks have been centered around his chiseled Dutch opponent.
"I've been dealing with the same accusations my whole life," Lesnar said. "Being part of the spotlight and being I guess with the Internet and everything these days – and being social media and everybody knows everything – it's part of the lifestyle. It comes with the territory. I've been used to it for many years now."
"Obviously, it's kind of hard to get away, but I've pretty much centralized myself with pretty much just my family on my ranch, and so I really don't know what's going on in the outside scheme of things. Right now, I'm focused on the fight and my family and the holidays and trying to live a somewhat normal life, you know, other than being a UFC fighter. You've got to be able to manage everything and stay on top of what's most important, and that's the fight and my family and the holiday right now.
Herb Dean hoped Nogueira would submit before break
In professional mixed martial arts a referee is only trained to react after damage has been done, not to prevent it when a submission is being applied. The thought being that these two professionals are being paid a lot of money sometimes and can make their own decision on whether or not to submit.
That said, referees can still have opinions and thoughts on what they hope happens, and more often than not would prefer to see each combatant make it through a fight without serious injury.
UFC 141's Lesnar relates to Overeem's plight but unconcerned with potential distractions.
As a massive 6-foot-3 heavyweight who cuts weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit, former UFC champion Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) is no stranger to questions regarding performance-enhancing substance use.
But as he prepares for his UFC 141 contest with former Strikeforce titleholder Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC), all the question marks have been centered around his chiseled Dutch opponent.
Pay no mind, says Lesnar. When you're in the spotlight, you can expect some scrutiny. A shot at UFC heavyweight champ Junior Dos Santos hangs in the balance, and there's simply no time for distractions.
Overeem ready for UFC 141 'dream fight,' looks forward to future bout with Dos Santos
While much of the buildup for next week's year-end UFC 141 event has focused on the health of Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) and the licensing difficulties of Alistair Overeem (35-11 MMA, 0-0 UFC), the two massive heavyweights aren't really interested in addressing those topics.
Instead, both fighters insist their focus is entirely on what will happen when the cage door closes behind them
The intriguing clash of superstars is sure to have Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena abuzz, and Overeem promises to deliver a show. After all, he's happy to take part in this "dream fight," and he looks forward to meeting the champion, as well.
"I'm very happy with the opportunity I got fighting Brock," Overeem today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on a conference call promoting the event. "I think it's a dream match for not only myself but for the fans, as well."
Kenny Florian eager to make lightweight return in 2012, eyes one more run at UFC gold
"Dropping to the featherweight division was way too much for my body to handle. The Diego Nunes fight was the worst I've ever felt on a weigh-in day. Luckily, I felt better on fight day and was able to pull out a victory. But, against Aldo it was a brutal weight cut, and I really didn't feel too great heading into the fight. In result, I had some medical issues I had to deal with. I had a thyroid issue that was based on the drastic weight loss. Those are the things you kind of ignore as a fighter, but it became very real to me after the fight. I'll now be moving and staying at lightweight. I feel that I have all the skills to get it done. I've had different issues over the course of my career, but I'm capable of doing it. It's just going out there and getting it done. I have some injuries I'm going to let heal for the next two months. Once those things clear up, I'm looking forward to getting back on the race to the title. I'm hoping it would be a well-respected, top guy in the lightweight division. But, right now I don't have anyone in mind. I have a back injury that I'm letting heal up. As soon as that's cleared, I'll start talking to the UFC about possible opponents. I think my career has a few more great years and fights left."
- Kenny Florian
UFC Cuts Cole Escovedo
Lost amidst the Strikeforce/Showtime extension and busy weekend in combat sports was the news the UFC has cut bantamweight Cole Escovedo, confirmed by the fighter via Twitter.
He made his UFC debut in May, losing a unanimous decision to Renan Barao at UFC 130. He followed that up with a second round TKO loss to Takeya Mizugaki at September's UFC 135 and a unanimous decision defeat to Alex Caceres at November's UFC on Fox 1.
The 30-year-old is the answer to a minor MMA trivia question as he was the WEC's first featherweight champion, winning the belt back in October 2002 with a first round submission win over Philip Perez. He defended the title successfully once before losing the belt to some guy named Urijah Faber nearly four years later, the first WEC title reign for the "California Kid".
Gilbert Melendez Says He has Done More Than Ben Henderson to Earn Title Shot
"I don't feel like I shouldn't be in this position, I'm not crying about my position but I think I've done more than Ben Henderson," told Fighting Famous TV. "You know, these guys were on The Ultimate Fighter - I was already fighting in PRIDE and ranked top three in the world but some people just don't understand that.
"I'm not trying to be a cry baby again, but I just know my history and I've been there. I've already hit these bumps in the road and come back. Some of these guys haven't hit that bump in the road where they have to reinvent themselves and I've already hit that and they're still going to hit that."
- Gilbert Melendez
Frank Mir: Strikeforce heavyweights add much needed depth to UFC roster
Mir talks to ESPN 1100/98.9 FM's "MMA Insiders" show (via Yahoo Sports):
"We don't have the type of depth that the other weight classes have and I think it's only a benefit to move them (Strikeforce heavyweights) over to us. I guess I have a bad taste in my mouth because of what happened when I first started my career. I had to always hear about, 'Oh, you guys are good, but the PRIDE guys would kick your butt.' There is no comparison and then that frustration of not being able to get to them. And then when Nogueira came over and Mirko, ( I ) got a hold of them. 'Yeah, but there is still Fedor.' I don't want to hear that. I want to know that anybody that is in the division, it's like if you think you can beat me, 'Hey Joe Silva, is he clear?' Okay, cool, let's fight. Now we can solve it you know? That whole unattainable thing just drives me insane."
UFC 141: Brock Lesnar promises fans 'the same guy who beat Frank Mir to a pulp' against Alistair Overeem
Look, I've had a great camp. This is the best I have felt in years and lardy-lardy-da... I could go through all the clichés about how in shape I am but the fact is, I know myself and my own body and I know that I am back. I am 100%. I am as fast, as strong and as explosive as I've ever been and you're going to see the same guy who beat Frank Mir to a pulp at UFC 100. If I go in and execute my game-plan, then I am winning this fight. That’s the bottom line here. Overeem says he is knocking me out in two rounds. Well, I am glad he has the ability to see the future. That’s his dream. I have my own dreams of winning this fight and going on to get my belt back. And on Friday December 30 his dream will be over.The surgically repaired Lesnar (5-2) is coming off a first round shellacking at the hands of former division champion Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 back in October 2010. It was Brock's first loss inside the Octagon since serving up a ham-hock to Mir in his Octagon debut at UFC 81 way back in February 2008."
M-1 Global doesn't want Fedor Emelianenko to fight mediocre fighters ...
"At this moment, for us, the key thing is the level of the opponent, and not how much we get paid. I can say that if we were unable to agree with Ishii, we wouldn't participate in this tournament. We had concurrent offers with other DREAM fighters, but this is not for Fedor's level, and we didn't want to have a fight with mediocre fighters, taking a step backwards. We want to be taking steps forward and we will follow this in the future. We want to have three fights. One in Russia, one in Europe, and one in the USA. We really want to get a rematch with Werdum, but he is locked up in the prison called UFC, and because of that arranging for him to fight Fedor would be very difficult. Dana White is like a dog on hay -- he neither eats it himself, nor lets the others eat it. There are many other good fighters, whom we are considering. For instance, Josh Barnett. We need to wait for the Strikeforce heavyweight tournament to end and then we can see how likely it is that we can arrange a fight."
Replacement Caio Magalhaes meets Fabio Maldonado at UFC 142 in Brazil
UFC newcomer and replacement fighter Caio Magalhaes had been added to next month's UFC 142 event, UFC officials today announced.
Magalhaes (5-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) replaces previously scratched Stanislov Nedkov (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and now meets light heavyweight Fabio Maldonado (18-4 MMA, 1-1 UFC) at the show.
Featuring a featherweight title fight between current champion Jose Aldo and undefeated contender Chad Mendes, UFC 142 takes place Jan. 14 at Rio de Janeiro's HSBC Arena.
UFC 142's main card airs on pay-per-view, and the prelims, including Magalhaes vs. Maldonado, air on FX.
White hints at GSP or Jones farewell for Anderson Silva.
Dana White has hinted that he would like Anderson Silva's final fight to be against either Jon Jones or Georges St-Pierre.
Silva is widely recognised to be heading into the final fights of his career, with speculation over whether he has two, four or even more bouts left in his tank.
Ricardo Funch In To Face Mike Pyle at UFC 142
Ricardo Funch will get a second chance in the Octagon as he steps up on short notice to face Mike Pyle at UFC 142 in Brazil.
UFC officials announced the booking on Saturday.
Funch, a training partner of Gabriel Gonzaga, went 0-2 in his previous UFC stint dropping fights to both Johny Hendricks and Claude Patrick.
The Team Link fighter took some time off after the loss to Patrick in 2010, but returned to action just a couple of weeks ago and picked up a win over Ryan Quinn...
Carlo Prater fills in to fight Erick Silva
Almost as quickly as it was announced that Brazilian phenom Erick Silva was without an opponent for UFC Rio: Aldo vs. Mendes, another fighter has already stepped up to fill the void.
Silva was originally slated to face stand-up specialist Siyar Bahadurzada, but an injury knocked the Afghan out of the fight. Taking his place is Brazilian born Texas transplant Carlo Prater.