UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher earns Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt
While UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher generally enters the cage sporting a pair of Muay Thai trunks, he's also registered four submission wins in the octagon.
And now, he's a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt.
Belcher, who began training in the grappling art at just 14 years old, was recently granted the rank of black belt by his longtime instructor, Helio Soneca.
Josh Grispi Sidelined By Family Circumstances
UFC featherweight Josh Grispi hasn't had the best 2011 in the cage so far, but he's dealing with a lot more outside of it. After going 0-2 earlier in the year, he was scheduled to face Matt Grice at UFC 136 but withdrew from the fight. According to a Boston Herald article, it wasn't an injury that forced him out. There was a lot more to it than that:
On Aug.?12, Grispi's first child Josh Jr. was born. Two days later, Josh's father, Richard, was rushed to Tufts Medical Center for emergency surgery to remove a brain tumor the size of a hockey puck. Suffice to say, the two events didn't leave Josh much time to focus on fighting.
Firas Zahabi: 'I'd Want Georges St. Pierre to Move Down to 155'
Tri-Star trainer Firas Zahabi was a guest on Beatdown radio with T.J. De Santis and Jon Luther of Sherdog yesterday, and had some very interesting things regarding his star pupil Georges St. Pierre changing weight classes. They started off asking Firas about what would be required for GSP to move to middleweight, and he threw them for a loop with his answer. He said that he actually recommends that St. Pierre should move down to 155, not up to 185 (starts around the 88 minute mark):
"Well to be honest with you, I have recommended to Georges, you know...the only reason I don't recommend it now is because Frankie Edgar is the champion, but I'd want him to move down to 155 if Frankie was not the champion. Obviously we're part of the Renzo Gracie team and we'd never fight Frankie Edgar, because obviously we're all Renzo Gracie fighters. But if it wasn't the case, you know, I'd rather him go down to 155 because Georges is not a very big welterweight. People might think he is, he's actually not very big. And him making 170 is extremely easy for him.
MMAPlayground Interview Series - Vol. 11 (Pablo "The Scarecrow" Garza)
As with any successful professional, mixed martial artists eat, sleep and breathe their craft. They put everything on the line when they wake up, hit the gym and pour their blood, sweat and tears into the sport we all love. When they enter that cage, for the fan, it's all about the entertainment, but these athletes go through the daily rigors with more in mind. For some fighters, it's a paycheck. For others, it's the glitz and glamour, but for some it's a lifestyle fueled by a deep passion and connection to the sport of mixed martial arts.
In our newest site feature, MMAPlayground would like to introduce you to some of these men and women of MMA that you may not know much about.
Our mission? To introduce. To educate. To spread the word.
Pablo “The Scarecrow” Garza is a WEC and UFC veteran who has fought in both the lightweight and featherweight divisions. He was the first featherweight, along with Fredson Paixao, to compete under the UFC banner. He is also the first fighter in UFC history to pull off a flying triangle submission. He’s a versatile fighter, a humble man, and a closet nerd.
Garza is scheduled to take on fellow UFC featherweight Dustin Poirier on November 12 on UFC on Fox: Velasquez vs. Dos Santos.
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MMAPG: Pablo, thanks so much for taking time to answer some questions. You’re scheduled to take on fellow featherweight Dustin Poirier at UFC on Fox 1. How are you feeling right now? How’s your training going?
GARZA: My training is going good and I’m feeling great!
MMAPG: You’re coming off two of the most spectacular finishes in the UFC in the past year. You’ve received submission of the night and knockout of the night in back-to-back fights. Which one did you find to be more rewarding?
GARZA: I think the flying triangle was more rewarding. Some people thought that I just got lucky in landing a flying knee against Paixao. A lot of people questioned whether I belonged in the UFC at all. So after I landed the flying triangle in UFC129, I felt like people finally saw that I actually hold my own in the UFC.
Jacob Volkmann vs. T.J. Grant booked for UFC 141 in Las Vegas
Looking for his fifth straight UFC victory, lightweight Jacob Volkmann will meet T.J. Grant later this year at UFC 141.
UFC officials today announced the bout.
UFC 141 takes place Dec. 30 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The event, which takes place on a Friday to avoid Sin City's usual New Year's Eve congestion, features a pay-per-view main card.
Winklejohn: GSP's injury maybe a 'blessing in disguise' for Condit
Carlos Condit was disappointed last week when Georges St. Pierre had to pull out of their UFC 137 welterweight title fight due to a knee injury, but the bout’s postponement could benefit him, according to trainer Mike Winkeljohn.
“Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise,” Winkeljohn told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show. “We had a game plan. We felt real good with it, but Chris Luttrell and I were talking about some things we’d like to see Carlos do, but we figured it was too late to even try to implement those things because the fight’s coming up and you can only fill your fighter’s head with so much information. In a way, now we can come up with a couple of more things to put us in a couple of better positions for this fight.”
Nelson: I've been working out in cemetery
Ask Roy Nelson how he's been preparing for his fight against Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic at UFC 137, and you'll find that "Big Country's" sense of humor is still very much intact after two straight losses.
"I've just been working out in the cemetery a lot," he told MMA Fighting recently. "I've got to get ready for the left kick. I want to see what it's like."
Sanchez expects early 2012 return
“Diego’s hand, I want to say, is about 75 to 80-percent healed up. He’s lifting weights on it, he’s taking really good care of it, he’s rehabbing it hard. He’s really trying to get back as soon as possible,” Kawa told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I estimate him coming back either the first part of February or the later part of February.”
Like any injury, Kawa wants to make sure that Sanchez is back to full health before booking him in any fights, but there appear to be plenty of opportunities awaiting “The Dream” when he’s ready to come back.
UFC to Show Four Live 3D Pay-Per-Views in Theaters in 2012
The UFC has tried to keep pace with technology when it comes to broadcasting their events. Whether it was offering HD broadcasts of their pay-per-views or using social networking sites to offer undercard fights, it's hard to fault them for the commitment to offering what fans want. They've apparently taken this to the next level starting with their annual Super Bowl weekend card next February, where they will offer a live 3D airing of the pay-per-view in select theaters across the United States.
Kenny Florian vows to keep fighting, will return to lightweight in six months
"I still love this sport tremendously and still want to be a part of it. I know myself and it's not even just being competitive, but it's just being there learning and competing. There's still very much a fire burning there so I'm going to do it.... I didn't get in this to be second-best, of course. But at the same time, not everybody can be a champion. I'm just going to go back to 155, work my way up, take it one fight at a time and see where it puts me. I think there's exciting fights out there for me, there's still challenges out there for me, there's still things I'd like to try to improve on and that's the main thing. I don't necessarily have the title in my eyes, but I do have my own personal goals as far as the technical level that I want to get to."
- Kenny Florian
Terry Etim vs. Edward Faaloloto completes five-bout UFC 138 main card
A lightweight contest of Terry Etim (14-3 MMA, 5-3 UFC) vs. Edward Faaloloto (2-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) has been officially announced as the fifth and final contest of next month's Spike TV-broadcast UFC 138 main card.
The bout completes a lineup that already included Chris Leben (26-7 MMA, 12-6 UFC) vs. Mark Munoz (11-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC), Brad Pickett (20-5 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Renan Barao (26-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), Thiago Alves (18-8 MMA, 10-5 UFC) vs. Papy Abedi (8-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) and Anthony Njokuani (14-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) vs. Paul Taylor (11-6-1 MMA, 4-5 UFC).
The night's complete, 11-bout lineup now includes:
MAIN CARD (Spike TV)
Chris Leben vs. Mark Munoz
Renan Barao vs. Brad Pickett
Papy Abedi vs. Thiago Alves
Terry Etim vs. Edward Faaloloto
Anthony Njokuani vs. Paul Taylor
Cyrille Diabate vs. Anthony Perosh
Justin Edwards vs. John Maguire
Michihiro Omigawa vs. Jason Young
Rob Broughton vs. Philip De Fries
Chris Cope vs. Che Mills
Chris Cariaso vs. Vaughan Lee
UFC's Demetrious Johnson eyes 125-pounds but 'not afraid' of another bantamweight run
Three weeks ago, Demetrious Johnson (9-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) came up short in his bid to claim the UFC's bantamweight title from champion Dominick Cruz (19-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC).
With a little time to rest and reflect on the performance, Johnson believes he has only himself to blame for dropping a unanimous-decision to the bigger Cruz.
But while many MMA pundits believe Johnson is sure to drop to 125 pounds the minute the UFC officially adds the division, the 5-foot-3 "Mighty Mouse" is fine right where he is and isn't afraid to make another run to the top at 135 pounds.
"I still think I have a lot of fights there that are available for me," Johnson recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "The road back to the top doesn't scare me. It's only going to make me get better and evolve my skill and become a more mature martial artist."
Yves Edwards vs. Tony Ferguson added to December's The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale
The "Thugjitsu Master" meets "El Cucuy."
UFC officials today announced that longtime veteran Yves Edwards will face "The Ultimate Fighter 13" winner Tony Ferguson in a lightweight contest at The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale.
Featuring a headliner between "TUF 14" coaches Michael Bisping and Jason "Mayhem" Miller, The Ultimate Fighter 14 Finale takes place Dec. 3 at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.
Chael Sonnen to Host World MMA Awards, Will Air on Fox Sports and Fuel
Chael Sonnen has done an incredible job at becoming the best talker in MMA. His ability to cut a promo has become legendary and his post fight victory speech after defeating Brian Stann at UFC 136 was talked about for hours afterward by members of the press. It seems the year of Chael is continuing as he got the nod to host the World MMA Awards by Fighters Only Magazine. The World MMA Awards by Fighters Only Magazine are the MMA industry's equivalent of the Academy Awards or Grammy's.
The Fighters Only awards cover everything from Promotion of the Year to Journalist of the Year. There are also categories for apparel and ring card girls. This will be the fourth year the show as been held and will take place at the Pearl Theater at the Palms in Las Vegas. The date is November 30th and the event is open to the public. If you are in the Vegas area, you can pick up tickets on Friday at the Pearl ticket booth.
The news was broken by MMA Weekly earlier today. Sonnen will join Molly Qerim, who hosted last year's show with UFC legend Randy Couture. A change that no doubt has occurred due to the UFC's relationship with Fox, is that the show will air via delay on Fox's regional sports networks as well as Fuel TV. No word on when the show will air, but the schedule is expected to be released in the upcoming weeks.
UFC 137: Roy Nelson Working With Frank Mir to Prepare for Mirko Cro Cop
"This one actually just fell in place. He was a southie, (like) Cro Cop, and me being a good jiu-jitsu guy, like Nogueira, so it was just a perfect fit,"
"There's nothing strange about it. I think everybody in MMA, paths always cross, especially if you've been in this sport as long as we both have."
"My hair has grown out a little longer. My beard is a little longer. So definitely, we're going to see a different Roy Nelson," he said.
Bantamweights Yves Jabouin vs. Walel Watson added to UFC 140 in Toronto
Two bantamweight are looking to make it two in a row in December.
UFC officials today announced a 135-pound matchup pitting Canadian fighter Yves Jabouin (16-7 MMA, 1-1 UFC) against Texas native Walel Watson (9-2 MMA, 1-0 UFC) for the preliminary card of UFC 140.
UFC 140 takes place Dec. 10 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Main-card action, including a title fight between light-heavyweight Jon Jones and Lyoto Machida, airs live on pay-per-view. Broadcast plans for the prelims have yet to be announced.
UFC coming to 3D theaters, Super Bowl weekend tapped first show
Fans soon will be able to watch a handful of UFC events in 3D at select movie theaters.
UFC officials today announced the promotion has partnered with digital theatrical distribution company Cinedigm Digital Cinema to bring the 3D UFC events to 120 theaters across the U.S.
The UFC's next Super Bowl weekend show, which takes place Feb. 4, is the first of four annual events that is part of the agreement.
"By partnering with Cinedigm, we're taking the UFC viewing experience to a whole new level," UFC president Dana White stated. "For the first time ever, fight fans can watch a UFC pay-per-view card in 3D at theatres across the country. We want UFC fans to have the best viewing experience possible, and now they get a chance to experience major UFC pay-per-views in 3D."
No details have been announced for the Super Bowl Saturday show, though White recently said it'll take place in Las Vegas, likely at the Mandalay Bay Events Center...
Georges St. Pierre Shooting for Early 2012 Return
Earlier this week we were informed that UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre suffered a MCL sprain that forced him to withdraw from his UFC 137 bout with Carlos Condit. Mike Fagan explained a little more about the injury yesterday and explained that, given trainer Firas Zahabi's timeline, it appeared that we should see a GSP return to the cage some time in the first few months of 2012.
In an interview with Sportsnet, GSP confirmed that exact target for his return:
"The recovery I want to do it well, I don't want to do it too fast. Because now I had an injury and I tried to train on it and maybe made it a little bit worse. I need a good four weeks to do my physio and do it right.
"I would say maybe end of January, possibly the beginning of February (for my return) ... Super Bowl, around this time."
UFC 137: B.J. Penn Will Go Five Rounds if Paid by UFC or Cesar Gracie
With the injury to Georges St. Pierre forcing B.J. Penn and Nick Diaz into the main event slot at UFC 137, there was some curiosity from fans wondering if Penn vs. Diaz would now be a five round fight. UFC president Dana White was quick to say that the fight would remain a three rounder.
For me, that was a shame. In my mind one of the UFC's most accomplished champions and the current Strikeforce champion should not be fighting a three round fight.
Diaz's manager, Cesar Gracie, was quick to start goading Penn into turning it into a five rounder. This was a smart move on his part as the one place where Diaz has the edge is in his endurance.
Penn has now responded, and he's open to the late notice change. But he wants to get paid for it (via MMA Weekly):
"I want to be compensated accordingly and that's it. I'm more than willing to do a five-round fight," Penn told MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday. "If Dana wants a five-round fight, just give me a call and we can put it together right now.
"Or if Cesar wants to make it a five-round fight and he wants to compensate me personally, he can put his money where his mouth is, it's that easy. I've been training to fight. I'm ready to fight."