With Opponents Injured, Koch-Assuncao Tabbed for UFC 128
Erik Koch and Raphael Assuncao were both left without opponents this week when Cub Swanson and Manny Gamburyan pulled out of their respective bouts. Now, it appears Koch and Assuncao will instead square off against one another in their Octagon debuts at UFC 128 “Shogun vs. Jones.”
While not yet finalized, a source close to the matchup tells Sherdog.com that the featherweights have verbally agreed to meet at the event, which takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. The change in matchmaking was first reported on Saturday by MMAWeekly.com.
Opponent aside, there will be no change for Assuncao, who was to face Gamburyan on the undercard of UFC 128 before Gamburyan sustained a back injury in training. Koch will have his fight pushed back two weeks, as the Roufusport product was slated to meet Swanson, who suffered an undisclosed impairment, at UFC Live 3 on March 3.
UFC On Versus 3 Official With 11 Fights, Koch Now Off
UFC today announced that UFC On Versus 3 is again official, but this time with only 11 fights. With UFC unable to find a short-notice replacement for injured Cub Swanson, original opponent Erik Koch is now off as a result. Koch is expected to be added to an upcoming card.
UFC fighter Te Huna donates to Earthquake Appeal
Sydney based New Zealander James Te Huna will return to the cage this weekend and has generously offered all of his match earnings to go to victims of the New Zealand earthquake.
At UFC 110, Te Huna made his octagon debut in front of a parochial hometown crowd. After breaking his arm in the first round, blocking a head kick by opponent Igor Pokrajac, Te Huna powered on to win via TKO in the third round. That brave performance was followed by 12 months of arduous rehabilitation and this weekend he finally returns to the cage.
Outside of his generous sponsors that include PC Group and Boost Mobile, his fight against dangerous striker Alexander Gustaffson at UFC 127 also presents his first pay cheque for fighting in a year. Te Huna did not need to look to far on where to spend it.
Charlie Sheen Rants Leads Dana White To Invite Him To Fight Chuck Lorre At UFC 127
Seriously. "BJ Penn is fighting Jon Fitch on Saturday ... [Charlie and Chuck] are more than welcome to be the co-main event. I have Charlie Sheen by brutal knockout." For those who haven't heard yet, after Sheen's recent defamatory radio rant production on his top-rated sitcom "Two And A Half Men" was cancelled for the rest of the season. Supposedly there was a threat from one towards the other involving beating the guy up in the Octagon.
UFC 127: Kenny Florian Says Jon Fitch's New Vegan Diet Removed His Size Advantage Against BJ Penn
"I know you mentioned him walking around at 200lbs, that is definitely the case. However, I just was with him at the last UFC in Vegas [UFC 126] he's actually walking around at 176lbs," Florian stated. "He's a vegan now. He's 100 percent vegan. He's changed his whole lifestlye. And the first thing I said to him 'Man, you're looking pretty darn skinny' and he said, 'yeah, I'm a vegan now and I'm 176lbs right now'. That is actually I hear maybe even a concern with people in his own camp."
"Listen, I think B.J. Penn always has a chance. The guy's extremely dangerous on his feet. He's going to be a little bit tougher to take down than Jon Fitch thinks. I would give even more of a chance to Jon Fitch if it was a five-rounder. At three rounds, I give a little bit more of a chance to B.J [Penn] because I think a three-round B.J. [Penn] is different than a five-round B.J. [Penn]. A three-round B.J. [Penn] will go for it right from the outset. He'll be very aggressive. He'll kind of just let it loose for every single round. As soon as that bell starts. I noticed a five-round B.J. [Penn], he really paces himself, he's really unsure of the pace he needs to go at."
Featherweight Manny Gamburyan out at UFC 128 in New Jersey
Top featherweight contender Manny Gamburyan will have to wait a little longer to make his return to the octagon.
MMAjunkie.com has confirmed that a back injury has forced Gamburyan out of a planned UFC 128 contest with Raphael Assuncao.
Featuring a light heavyweight title fight between champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and rising star Jon Jones, UFC 128 takes place March 19 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
'Barao' and Johnson Expected to Meet at UFC's TUF 13 Finale
Two of the UFC’s most exciting 135-pound prospects are set to collide, as “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson and once-beaten Brazilian Renan “Barao” Pegado have agreed to square off at the UFC’s “Ultimate Fighter 13 Finale” on June 4 in Las Vegas at the The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort.
Sherdog.com confirmed the match-up with a source close to the fight on Thursday.
The 24-year-old Johnson notched the biggest win of his career in his Feb. 5 UFC debut, dominating Japanese star Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto in a one-sided unanimous decision at UFC 126. Prior to entering the Octagon, the Matt Hume pupil scored back-to-back wins in World Extreme Cagefighting, besting Damacio Page and Nick Pace. The lone defeat on Johnson’s 9-1 ledger came at the hands of Brad Pickett in his April 2010 WEC debut.
Cub Swanson Off UFC On Versus 3
The recent run of injuries continues to claim fighters on upcoming UFC events, the latest victim is Cub Swanson, who is now off UFC On Versus 3 due to an undisclosed injury suffered in training. He was to have faced Erik Koch. UFC is looking for a short-notice replacement.
Update: There will be no replacement.
Eliot Marshall returns, steps in to meet Luiz Cane at UFC 128
"The Ultimate Fighter 8" cast member Eliot Marshall will get a chance at redemption on short notice.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Marshall (8-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has verbally accepted a fight with Luiz Cane (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC 128 in the wake of Karlos Vemola's injury withdrawal. Tatame first reported the change.
UFC 128 is slated for March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newwark, N.J
Jorge Santiago's UFC deal official, meets Brian Stann at UFC 130
World Victory Road/ Sengoku middleweight champion Jorge Santiago officially has rejoined the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Officials from Authentic Sports Management, Santiago's management team, today announced the long-expected multi-fight contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Although not announced, as MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported, Santiago (23-8 MMA, 1-2 UFC) fights former WEC champ Brian Stann (10-3 MMA, 4-2 UFC) at UFC 130 in May
Sanchez Explains Why He Ditched ‘Nightmare’ Nickname, Makes Vague Reference to Getting Scammed Out of $175K
Diego Sanchez sort of unexpectedly dominated the action on Tuesday during the official media conference call for the Versus Network’s upcoming UFC Live broadcast. The newly nickname-free fighter talked openly about the hard times he suffered in the midst of back-to-back losses to BJ Penn and John Hathaway, said a return to lightweight is currently impossible (owing to a new weightlifting regimen courtesy of Olympic-wrestler-turned-Team-Jackson-middleweight Willie Parks) and explained why he recently decided to ditch his longtime moniker as “The Nightmare.” Turns out, it just wasn’t positive enough for him.
“I let the ‘Nightmare’ go,” Sanchez told reporters. “A nightmare is something that is negative and kind of evil. I don’t want to represent that. I want to represent positivity and I want to represent the good. I look back on my whole career (as) the ‘Nightmare’ (and) the nightmare was myself. I was my own nightmare. All the times I fell off track and got into drinking, got into smoking weed, the things that brought me down, the partying. That was my nightmare. I was my own nightmare. I’m grown up (now). I’m going to let that name go … I thought about changing it to ‘The Dream’ but I thought that would be a little bit out there, so I’m just going to stick with Diego Sanchez.”
Fukuda vs. Ring also part of ION Television's UFC 127 prelim-card broadcast
A middleweight bout between DEEP champion Riki Fukuda and "The Ultimate Fighter 11" contestant Nick Ring also will be part of ION Television's preliminary-card broadcast for this weekend's UFC 127 event.
MMAjunkie.com passed along news of the broadcast earlier today but mentioned just two bouts.
Since then, UFC officials have confirmed the broadcast but upped the number of total fights to three, including Fukuda vs. Ring.
Brandon Vera not cut by the UFC
Light heavyweight Brandon Vera is still a UFC fighter.
Vera was cut by the promotion this past month following his third consecutive loss, which came against Thiago Silva at UFC 125.
However, it has been learned that the result of that bout is expected to be changed to a "no contest" following additional scrutiny of Silva's post-fight drug test, and the promotion has rescinded Vera's release, sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com.
Karlos Vemola Off UFC 128 (Updated)
Unfortunately for UFC fans but perhaps fortunately for Luiz Cane, Karlos Vemola has been "Terminated" and is now off UFC 128. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, Vemola was recently diagnosed with a serious infection that has left him unable to train. Faced with the issue, he was forced to pull out of the fight. No replacement named yet.
Update: Eliot Marshall is the replacement.
Rich Franklin and Forrest Griffin’s Tattoo Bet Ends in Henna-Dragon Nightmare
Remember when Forrest Griffin and Rich Franklin tried to add some heat to their UFC 126 meeting by suggesting that the loser would have to get an embarrassing tattoo? As Griffin suggested, “I think the loser should have to get like a big, flaming dragon tattoo, or something just hideous.”
Franklin lost the fight by unanimous decision, and we quickly forgot about this silly business — except Franklin didn’t. An MMAFighting report came out Friday claiming that Ace had actually visited a tattoo shop to honor the bet that nobody thought was real.
Diego Sanchez Staying At Welterweight
One-time lightweight contender Diego Sanchez says his days in the lightweight division are over. After a three-fight stint at 155 pounds that culminated in a December 2009 title shot against then-champion B.J. Penn, Sanchez will stay in a welterweight division in which he spent the bulk of his professional career. "The options are closed for me to ever go down to 155 (pounds) again," Sanchez said during a conference call in support of his headlining fight with Martin Kampmann at "UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann."
‘UFC Prelims Live’ Specials Return to Spike TV with UFC 128
Spike TV will once again broadcast a “UFC Prelims Live” special, as the cable network will air two UFC 128 undercard contests one hour prior to the event’s pay-per-view broadcast.
Sherdog.com confirmed the news with a source close to the broadcast, which MMAJunkie.com first reported Tuesday morning. The free special will feature a light heavyweight duel between former heavyweight prospect Karlos Vemola and hard-hitting Brazilian Luis “Banha” Cane, as well as a lightweight shootout between strikers Anthony Njokuani and Edson Barboza.
UFC 128 will go down March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and will be headlined by a light heavyweight title clash between reigning champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and up-and-comer Jon Jones.
Vemola looks to capitalize on his successful light heavyweight debut, as the powerful Czech most recently pounded out Seth Petruzelli at UFC 122 in November. In his last bout at heavyweight, the London Shootfighters product was outpointed by powerful wrestler Jon Madsen at UFC 116. That loss marked the first and only defeat of Vemola’s career.
UFC Announces Prelim Streaming Plans For UFC 127 (Updated)
In addition to the night's pay-per-view main card, UFC 127 will feature four televised or streamed UFC 127 preliminary-card bouts. UFC officials recently announced that two bouts from this weekend's event stream on Facebook (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT), and then ION Television carries an additional pair of fights (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). The ION fights are scheduled to be Spencer Fisher vs. Ross Pearson and James Te Huna vs. Alexander Gustafsson. The Facebook fights are scheduled to be Jason Reinhardt vs. Zhang Tie Quan and Anthony Perosh vs. Tom Blackledge.
Update: Riki Fukuda vs. Nick Ring has been added to the ION fights, so they will now show 3 fights instead of 2.
Darren Elkins dropping to 145, likely meets Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 131
Darren Elkins is dropping a weight class and is expected to make his featherweight debut against Michihiro Omigawa at UFC 131.
MMAjunkie.com today confirmed the planned bout with sources close to the event, who said verbal agreements are in place but bout agreements not signed.
Although not officially announced, UFC 131 is expected to take place June 11 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Jason Brilz Slated for UFC 129 in Toronto
A light-heavyweight bout between Vladimir Matyushenko and Jason Brilz is being finalized for April's UFC 129 event in Toronto.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com that verbal agreements are in place and that bout agreements are being finalized.
Brilz was expected to meet Matyushenko this past November at UFC 122 before a back injury forced him to pull out of the overseas show.