"TUF 13" coach Junior Dos Santos: Weak-chinned Brock Lesnar can't take a punch
LAS VEGAS – Just a few short weeks ago, things really didn't seem to be working out for top UFC heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos (12-1 MMA, 6-0 UFC).
Despite earning a shot at the UFC's heavyweight title, Dos Santos openly expressed his frustration at having that bout delayed when Cain Velasquez was forced to the sidelines following surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff.
But things have quickly changed, and Dos Santos is elated to take a role as coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 13," which debuts in on Spike TV in March. And in fact, he's downright salivating at the looming showdown with his opposing coach, Brock Lesnar (5-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC), a man he thinks provides a very favorable matchup.
"When they told me to come and make 'The Ultimate Fighter 13,' I was very happy," Dos Santos told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "It's a new opportunity for me. I was supposed to fight for the title, but Cain got hurt. When the UFC told me to come [to Las Vegas] and make this show with Brock, I was very happy."
Spike TV announces four-fight main card for "UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira"
For the first time in more than four years, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will fight on Spike TV.
Now, his supporting cast is official, too.
In addition to the previously announced Ortiz vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira main event for March's "UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira" event, Spike TV officials today announced the evening's main card will also feature Dan Hardy vs. Anthony Johnson, Duane "Bang" Ludwig vs. Amir Sadollah and Leonard Garcia vs. Nam Phan.
"UFC Fight Night 24: Ortiz vs. Nogueira" takes place March 29 at Seattle's KeyArena and airs on Spike TV.
All four main-card fights had been previously announced by UFC brass, but the evening's bout order had yet to be officially confirmed.
Joe Schmoe Is Faster Than Kid Yamamoto
The Joe Schmoe being, in this case, Demetrious Johnson, who gets to welcome the former #1 Featherweight to UFC at UFC 126. "He’s one of the biggest stars in Japan. He’s like the Manny Pacquiao of Japan. He’s a good striker, very athletic. Everybody sees him as a legend of the sport – which he is – and I want to test myself against him. I’ll probably be the quickest person he’s ever come up against because he usually fights up a weight class at 145 or 155. I think he’ll find that I can match him in speed or maybe even be faster than he is. We’re both explosive so it’ll be fireworks when we’re in there together. I’ll just go out there and do my best," he said. "I love to fight. When I fight I don’t go in there for a paycheck, I go in there to have fun and just do my thing. I’m still just Joe Schmoe out on the streets just like everybody else and I like it like that."
UFC Officially Adds 3 Fights To UFC On Versus 3
The fight schedule for the UFC's first-ever event in Kentucky is nearly complete. UFC brass today officially added three more contests – including Rafael Natal vs. Alessio Sakara, Johny Hendricks vs. Paulo Thiago and Steve Cantwell vs. Cyrille Diabate – to the UFC on Versus 3 fight card. Sakara is an injury replacement for Natal's original for, Maiquel Falcao.
Going Through Brock Lesnar Is A Better Path For Junior Dos Santos
At least according to his manager, the one & only Ed Soares. "Our first choice, and he rightfully deserves it, was to fight for the title, but considering that couldn’t happen, I think this is the next best thing that could have happened for his career. And in the long run, it might be a better path. To get the exposure that they’re going to get on ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and then to fight a guy like Brock Lesnar, who is such a huge draw, I think it’s a pretty good solution to the problem.... You’ve got to fight to stay alive, he’s got to pay his bills. His last fight was in August and who knows when Cain would have been able to be back and fight. I think (Dos Santos) needs to stay sharp and he’s gotta not have any ring rust."
After Brock Lesnar Beats Junior Dos Santos He Plans On Taking His Title Back From Cain Velasquez
But he's also focused on his primary task ahead-TUF 13. "I have one thing in my mind for this whole thing, which is to help these kids and to improve their lives. More importantly, it's an opportunity for me to get down here and train and it's an opportunity for me to get my title back sooner rather than later. When I beat dos Santos, then I get a rematch with Velasquez and I get my f****n belt back. That's the way I'm looking at this."
Regardless of UFC Fight Night 24 outcome, Tito Ortiz not ready to retire
Tito Ortiz laughed it off at first. Then he realized they were serious.
Not long after Matt Hamill handed him his third consecutive loss at this past October's UFC 121 event, he got a call from UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta and UFC president Dana White.
They told him he should retire. After the initial surprise, he pleaded with them.
"I said, 'You guys have got to give me a chance, man,'" Ortiz told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "Look at my last fights. I fought Forrest Griffin last year with a ruptured disk in my neck, and I still fought to a split decision. I come back a year later after neck surgery, and I fight a guy who's on a five-fight win streak, and I lost a couple of takedowns.
"You guys think I should retire? It's just crazy."
He eventually convinced them to give him one last shot. White later called him back, and Ortiz (15-8-1 MMA, 14-8-1 UFC) asked for a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (19-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC), the twin brother of former PRIDE and UFC champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. "Little Nog" had most recently lost a unanimous decision to blue-chip prospect Ryan Bader.
Mike Guymon Confirms Retirement, Will Continue As Trainer
UFC welterweight Mike Guymon is officially retired from the sport, and he's "at peace" with that decision. After a tough loss to DaMarques Johnson at this past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2" event at Fort Hood in Texas, Guymon suggested in a UFC.com interview that his retirement was imminent. Today, Guymon, who's healing from rib and back injuries sustained in the fight, confirmed the decision but said he'll continue training other fighters. "It's too hard on my heart and mind," Guymon said. "That's when I knew it was time.
"I'm at peace with retirement. I accomplished all I wanted to accomplish in MMA." Guymon was 12-5-1 career but finished with a 1-3 mark in UFC over his last 4 fights.
UFC FFTT 2: 1.85 Million Viewers
This past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fights for the Troops 2" event scored a 1.3 household rating and an average of 1.85 million viewers. The event also peaked with 2.5 million viewers. The most recent "Fight Night" event, "UFC Fight Night 22: Marquardt vs. Palhares," scored an average audience of just 1.2 million viewers in September.
Jon Jones Is "Pissed Off" At Aaron Simpson
Apparently Simpson started a Twitter war with comments about Jones' next fight at UFC 126 against Ryan Bader. Naturally, Jones' fuse was lit. "Didn't you lose your last 2 fights? Please don't piss me off, I actually have respect for ryan. Don't you have a fight scheduled? Focus on yourself instead of whether I'm ready or not. Are you familiar with the strike policy in baseball?"
Don't "Axe" Me: Wanderlei Silva Doesn't Want To Fight Brian Stann
At least that's what Dana White said recently. "We were actually trying to hook [Silva] up with Brian Stann. He doesn't want to fight Brian Stann. He's like, 'F*** that; everybody is going to hate me if I fight Brian Stann. Everybody loves Brian Stann.' But that's the fight we're trying to make right now." Stann spoiled a planned Silva-Chris Leben fight by beating Leben at UFC 125, then he called out Silva.
Kenny Florian: If Melvin Guillard Thinks He Deserves A Title Shot Over Me, He Should Fight & Beat Me
That's what KenFlo had to say on Pro MMA Radio last night in response to recent comments on the show by Guillard. "It doesn't make sense. There's a lot of guys working hard. It's who the best fighter is. If Melvin thinks he deserves a shot over me, he should fight me and beat me. It's always about who the best fighter is. Who has he beaten? What has he done? That's great he's finally considered a top contender. Losing to Joe Stevenson in the first round isn't gonna get you that shot. You have to be consistent. He has to separate himself from the pack. I would take that fight."
Sources: No TUF 13 Elmination Round, Only 14 Cast Members
While the past three seasons have featured an initial elimination round of fights, "The Ultimate Fighter 13" will kick off with just 14 cast members. Beginning with "TUF 11," the UFC expanded its initial fighter group from the usual 16 to 28. To get into the house and become an official cast member, fighters had to win an elimination-round bout on the first day of taping. With the upcoming 13th season, the elimination round has been eliminated. But the "wild card" selections still are in play. "TUF 13" began production today in Las Vegas, and the shows debuts March 30 on Spike TV. Former champ Brock Lesnar and fellow heavyweight contender Junior Dos Santos serve as head coaches and each oversees a team on the show. Although initially expected to feature both welterweight and middleweight fighters, producers recently chose to go with a cast of all 170-pounders this season. It's not clear why the UFC and Spike TV nixed the elimination round for "TUF 13."
UFC FFTT 2 Medical Suspensions
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation has issued the medical suspensions from Saturday's UFC Fights For The Troops 2 event. As is commonplace in Texas all fighters received a mandatory suspension for precautionary reasons but most are only for 8-10 days. 3 fighters got 31 days and 2-Matt Mitrione and Willamy Friere (Chequerim)-are suspended indefinitely and must be cleared by doctors before they can return.
UFC Claims 3200 Attendance For FFTT 2
This past weekend's "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fights for the Troops 2" event drew an announced crowd of 3,200. There was no live gate for the event because the event was not only open to military personnel only (outside of some press) but all the tickets given out were free tickets. The totalproceeds raised for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund hasn't been announced yet, but will reportedly be in the millions once the totals are added up this week.
Spike Announced UFC Prelims For 2011, UFC 126 Next
As expected Spike TV will broadcast a dozen "UFC Prelims" broadcasts, which are one-hour preliminary-card specials that precede pay-per-view airings, this year. Spike announced the plans today, first up is UFC 126. The featured TV fights will be Donald Cerrone vs. Paul Kelly and Chad Mendes vs. Michihiro Omigawa. But the reported contract renewal to keep the specials going still hasn't been finalized, that would be needed for the specials to continue past 2011.
Inspired By Will Ribeiro's Plight, Jason Reinhardt Seeks Big-Stage Win At UFC 127
Jason Reinhardt has been granted a second chance to make a first impression. It is both a unique circumstance and a statement that implies his initial opportunity did not go as planned, which is affirmative. After accumulating a sparkling, unblemished record on the regional circuit fighting mostly in the Midwest, he got the call from the UFC to compete on the UFC 78 card in November 2007. Unfortunately, his night would last a mere 74 seconds. Then-hotshot prospect Joe Lauzon secured a body-lock takedown, worked to assume a dominant position, and forced Reinhardt to give up his back and tap to a perfectly executed rear-naked choke. It was a harsh reality to endure for a man who spent years trying to reach the sport's pinnacle. The loss forced him back to the regional circuit , where he promptly won back-to-back fights via first-round stoppage. It was enough to propel him back into the good graces of the Zuffa brass; Reinhardt was pegged to welcome Chinese import Zhang Tie Quan to the U.S. on the WEC 51 card this past September. The proposed bout, however, simply was not meant to be. Reinhardt failed a pre-fight medical exam conducted by the Colorado State Boxing Commission that halted the matchup in its tracks.
Post UFC-WEC merger, the same matchup with Quan again was given legs by management, only this time it will fall under the UFC banner. The pair finally squares off on the preliminary card of UFC 127, which takes place Feb. 27 in Sydney, Australia. A source of further inspiration for his impeding fight is the current situation of his friend Will Ribeiro. Ribeiro, once a promising WEC fighter, continues to struggle in many facets of his life following a devastating 2008 motorcycle crash that has relegated him to a wheelchair. "I talk to him all the time on e-mail," Reinhardt said. "He's hurting. He doesn't even have food in his apartment. The only person that stuck by him is his brother (Wladimir). He can walk a little bit with a walker. He can get up, but he'll never fight again, never. I am hoping one day he can teach and still be involved in the sport.
"When I get home, I am going to do a big-fight show promotion (under his co-owned Courage Fighting Championships), and if it makes money, I am going to get the proceeds and get him over here to the United States so he can get the rehab he deserves. The guy needs our help. We can't turn our back on one of our own."
You Can Thank Dominick Cruz For A Dominant Win By Matt Mitrione
That's basically what Mitrione said at the UFC FFTT 2 post-fight presser. "He's so elusive. He uses his athleticism to make everybody else have to change their game. I mean, Scotty Jorgensen is a tough, tough little fella and Dominick made him look like a child. You know what I mean, took him down at will, head strikes coming from every angle whatsoever, finised with beautiful leg kicks or head kicks, whatever it was. The way Dominick's gameplan is and the way that he makes everybody so uncomfortable with his movement because it's so herky-jerky and so unpredictable, then poof comes a right hand or left uppercut or whatever the hell is coming. I love the way he fights man. I respect it and I told him beforehand, 'this is, I'm going to try to fight like you.' Granted, like I said, I started out a little slower than I wanted to but I'm pretty damn athletic, the second most athletic heavyweight around. As a result, I need to make people fight my game."
UFC FFTT 3 Likely In 2012, $600K Raised So Far Via Broadcast
With another successful chapter of the event series in the books, it's a safe bet "UFC Fights for the Troops" will return in 2012. Following Saturday's second installment, which came in the form of UFC Fight Night 23 at Fort Hood in Texas, Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund trustee Marty Edelman said a third event likely will take place next year. And for Edelman, who's helped raise millions for one of the world's most effective military-based foundations, improving the lives of soldiers is paramount. And that's what made fight week so satisfying. The UFC first teamed up with the IFHF in 2008 for the first "Troops" event. Through online initiatives and the night's Spike TV broadcast, the event raised nearly $5 million to help complete the National Intrepid Center of Excellence, a research and treatment center for brain injuries that's located in Bethesda, Md. This year's take will help fund research that thus far has been sorely lacking. "We asked the government and Department of Defense what was needed, and it turned out traumatic brain injury is the signature wound of this war," said Edelman, who's also been involved in the IFHF's building of a center for amputees and accompanying family housing. "So we raised $65 million and built the traumatic brain injury center, and the UFC have been our partners in this endeavor from the beginning.
"They're devoted to America's troops, they come to these events, they help us create them, and we wouldn't be doing this without them today."
Immediately after Saturday's show, Edelman said more than $600,000 had been donated simply via phone lines during the Spike TV broadcast. Millions more are expected to come through online donations and other avenues, including a UFC-related auction, over the next few days. (Make a donation at www.fightforthetroops.com.)
Anthony Pettis vs. Clay Guida headlines Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale
Anthony Pettis will finally make his Octagon debut but, as expected, it will not come against the UFC Lightweight Champion. According to Dana White, the last man to hold WEC‘s 155-pound title will in fact take on Clay Guida rather than sitting on the sidelines to wait for his promised unification fight. The bout was rumored weeks ago following the UFC President’s announcement of Gray Maynard receiving an immediate rematch against Frankie Edgar after their UFC 125 title-fight ended in a draw.