Vitor Belfort vs. Yushin Okami To Headline UFC 122
After they both won their last respective fights, it seemed either Vitor Belfort or Yushin Okami would get a UFC Middleweight Title shot in their next fight. Turns out neither will-they get each other. With an Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen rematch planned for next year, it now appears Belfort and Okami will face each other at UFC 122, and it will be the show's main event.
Gray Maynard Next For Edgar, Dana Says Fight Marketable
This time, there will be no question. After eight straight wins in the UFC, undefeated lightweight contender Gray Maynard will finally get his shot at the title in a rematch with current champion Frankie Edgar. And while their first encounter wasn't exactly a barnburner, UFC president Dana White says he has no concerns over the challenge of making the fight a financial success. The UFC boss made the upcoming bout official following Saturday night's UFC 118 event in Boston, where Maynard earned a three-round decision over top challenger Kenny Florian and Edgar successfully defended his belt against former champion B.J. Penn. "I said if Gray beats Kenny, Gray gets his shot," White said. "He absolutely beat Kenny." Maynard & Edgar first fought in April 2008 when Maynard won but Edgar got the first title shot afterwards.
UFC Claims 15,575 Attendance, $3 Million Gate For UFC 118
At the UFC 118 post-fight presser, Dana White announced UFC claimed 15,575 attendees for a $3 million live gate for the event. Official figures will be made available in the coming weeks, but it the preliminary numbers hold up, UFC 118 scored the fifth highest attendance of the UFC's 15 events this year. The gate total ranks just seventh in 2010 and trails every show from UFC 111 to UFC 116, which all topped the $3 million benchmark.
Dana: "We Won't Be Doing Any More Boxing" After Toney's UFC 118 Loss
You can call it the end of an era. Granted, that era lasted all of 3 minutes and 19 seconds, but it's still over. After James Toney was forced to tap out (or wave out, if you choose to be technical) in the first round of his UFC 118 contest with Randy Couture on Saturday night at Boston's TD Garden, White said he's done with boxers making their way to the organization – no matter who it is. "I thought we answered this question in 1993, but James came out and he picked a fight," White said. "We answered the question again in 2010. I don't think it needs to be answered again. I don't care if it's (Floyd) Mayweather or anybody else." It was in 1993 that a boxer appeared in the very first UFC event. Art Jimmerson's infamous one-gloved approach to the fight is an iconic image in the history of the sport.
UFC 118 Bonus Winners: Diaz, Davis, Lauzon
The UFC 118 Bonus Of The Night winners were announced at the post-event press conference last night. Nate Diaz & Marcus Davis earned Fight Of The Night while Joe Lauzon got Submission Of The Night, each gets $60,000 for their efforts. Since there were no KO/TKOs last night there was no Knockout Of The Night bonus awarded.
Abreu Outpoints Gracie At UFC Fan Expo
Undefeated Grapplers Quest champion Roberto Abreu capped off the UFC Fan Expo 2010 Boston "superfights" series with a dominating 9-2 win over UFC veteran Rolles Gracie. The Abreu-Gracie matchup, as well as three additional superfight contests, took place at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, which also housed the UFC Fan Expo 2010. Pablo Popovitch, the 2009 Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling world champion, on Saturday also edged out late replacement Lucas Lepri. Ryan Hall and Penny Thomas picked up wins in their respective Friday contests. While the final score indicated a fairly one-sided match, both Abreu and Gracie provided several entertaining moments in the most exciting contest of the weekend. While Gracie enjoyed a decided advantage in size, Abreu's blend of speed and power left the pair scrambling all over the mat. Three times the match had to be restarted as the action carried into the barriers around the contest surface. Abreu had Gracie in trouble in multiple occasions as he took the back briefly before threatening with a few serious triangle choke and armbar attempt. Abreu also looked close to ending the fight on a toehold, but Gracie survived the attempt and turned it into his own highlight by attacking his opponent's leg and nearly landing a submission. Abreu escaped from the attempt and moved to top position. An obviously frustrated Gracie settled onto his back, and Abreu cruised to the decisive win.
Wanderlei Silva Eyes February Return, Leben Top On Hitlist
Wanderlei Silva may have needed crutches to make his way around this weekend's 2010 UFC Fan Expo Boston, but that doesn't mean he's not already thinking about his next trip to the cage. "The Axe Murderer" on Friday told fans at a Fan Expo Q&A session that he was eyeing a return to action as soon as February. Silva said he's currently targeting a February return date, and he believes Chris Leben, who has openly lobbied to fight the Brazilian at the culmination of a season of "The Ultimate Fighter," would provide a suitable return opponent.
James Toney will earn an estimated $750,000 - $1,000,000 at UFC 118
A debate has raged over who would prevail if a boxer and a mixed martial artist fought since MMA was invented in the early 1990s. No one has been able to figure out how the old-school sweet science fits in with this new-age phenomenon. At UFC 1, a fighter competed wearing one boxing glove and one free hand. Ever since, the two sports have battled for fans, media attention and bragging rights.
The UFC, led by former boxer-turned-promoter Dana White, has flourished. “MMA is the king of the [expletive] right now,” Toney said, which is another reason he’s here. He’ll make an estimated $750,000 to $1 million Saturday. In boxing, “I can’t get no fights.”
Pat Audinwood vs. Thiago Tavares official; UFC 119 complete with 11 bouts
A lightweight matchup between Brazilian Thiago Tavares (14-3-1 MMA, 4-3-1 UFC) and promotional newcomer Pat Audinwood (9-0-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is now official for UFC 119.
UFC officials recently announced the matchup, which was previously reported by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The contest was created when Audinwood stepped in for Aaron Riley, who was nixed from the contest for undisclosed reasons.
Kimbo Slice To Leave MMA For Boxing
Boxers beware, Kimbo Slice wants his bread and he's coming for it. After being cut earlier this year by UFC after a 1-1 stint following a run on TUF 10, Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson is giving up MMA in favor of boxing. Slice via ESPN NY: "I feel like a baby all over again. I'm thinking about this at night. I'm gonna be a problem in the heavyweight division. I'm going to be coming in with a bad demeanor. I want to see what it's like to break some ribs, break a jaw with one punch. This is a career move. I love fighting. I like to knock people the [expletive] out. I love engaging. Maybe some people think I'm crazy."
Spencer Fisher Arrested On Minor Charges, Rep Expects Charges To Be Dropped
Spencer Fisher was arrested after a minor incident and has already been released after posting bail, but the UFC fighter's manager expects the charges will be dropped. Earlier this week, Fisher was arrested on a charge of interfering with an official's duties, and he immediately posted $300 bail and was released on his own recognizance. Mickey Dubberly of KO Dynasty today said the incident resulted from Fisher double-parking while picking up his daughters from school. The arrest took place Tuesday in Fisher's hometown of Bettendorf, Iowa. "Spencer went to pick up his daughters from school, and he doubled parked because there were no other parking spaces available," Dubberly stated. "The police asked Spencer to move his car, and Spencer stated he would only be a second. The police asked him again to move his car, and Spencer kept proceeding to pick up his daughters from school." That's when Fisher was arrested. He posted the $300 bail soon after. Dubberly doesn't expect any additional problems due to the incident.
UFC 118 Florian-Maynard Winner Guaranteed Title Shot
The winner of Saturday's UFC 118 co-headliner between Kenny Florian and Gray Maynard will, in fact, get a shot at the lightweight title. UFC president Dana White today confirmed the plans in today's pre-UFC 118 press conference at the Great Hall in Boston's historic Faneuil Hall. White, of course, hinted that Maynard could get a title shot if victorious at January's UFC Fight Night 20 event. Maynard edged Nate Diaz via split decision, but Edgar instead got the title shot and ended up upsetting Penn at April's UFC 112 event. "If Gray Maynard beats Kenny Florian, he deserve it, no doubt," said White, referencing that previous hint at a title shot. Is the same true of Florian? "Yeah, absolutely," he said.
Jason Brilz vs. Vladimir Matyushenko targeted for UFC 122 in Germany
Hot on the heels of a new four-fight deal with the UFC, Vladimir Matyushenko (24-4 MMA, 5-3 UFC) is expected to meet Jason Brilz (18-3-1 MMA, 3-2 UFC) at October's UFC 122 event.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that verbal agreements are in place and that both fighters are expected to finalize bout agreements shortly.
While not yet officially announced, UFC 122 is expected to take place Nov. 13 at Konig Pilsener Arena in Oberhausen, Germany.
UFC middleweight Ed Herman leaves Team Quest for new gym, eyes 2011 return
Following back-to-back knee injuries, Ed Herman is turning over a new leaf in Colorado.
The UFC middleweight today spoke to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and revealed he has left Team Quest and plans to open a new gym with teammate Ryan Schultz in Fort Collins, Colo., where he now resides.
Meanwhile, he is nursing his knee back to health and hopes to be able to train at full bore in November. If all goes well, he anticipates a return to the UFC octagon in the first quarter of 2011.
Dana White Hopes Randy Couture Smashes James Toney
Never one to hide his true feelings, UFC President Dana White tells 790 The Zone in Atlanta (via SportsRadioInterviews) that he is hoping James Toney not only gets beaten by Randy Couture at UFC 118 this coming weekend, but gets beat down bad. "Well, Toney has gotten in the best shape he's ever been in in about I don't know how many years. He's taken this a lot more seriously than he has his boxing career. One of the things with these boxers they have been doing it since they were little kids and how much can they learn? They start to get bored or lazy or whatever you wanna call it. So they don't train as hard. Toney has taken this serious. He's gotten in the best shape he's been in in years and this is going to be a very interesting fight. Anything can happen when two good guys go in there and start throwing punches, scrapping, and fighting. Anything can happen, but James Toney has knockout power in both hands, he's been one of the best and he's fought the best forever. Randy Couture has great wrestling and if you break down stats, James Toney doesn't have as many tools as Randy Couture has so Couture should win the fight. James Toney has talked so much smack I want to see him get smashed in this fight."
Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Rashad Evans UFC title fight on hold until mid-2011
The UFC's light-heavyweight championship will be on hold for a year.
Current champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua (19-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC), who won the title with a knockout of Lyoto Machida in May, will be out till the spring or summer of 2011.
As expected UFC president Dana White today told ESPN's "SportsCenter" he'll meet top contender and former champ Rashad Evans (15-1-1 MMA, 10-1-1 UFC) upon his return.
Demian Maia Evolves Each Fight
Previously scheduled to face Alan Belcher at UFN 22, Demian Maia had to set up a new camp and strategy for the upcoming fight at UFC 118 versus Mario Miranda on Saturday. The BJJ expert told SenseiSportTV he has trained with boxing coach Luis Dorea to improve his striking skills and become a more complete mixed martial artist. "The opponent and schedule changes affected me just a bit. I had to speed up the process a little. I was at Bahia and had excellent boxing preparation that couldn’t be better. At each fight I evolve more as a result of the training. I’m ready for everything. He has wrestling characteristics and owns just one loss. If he is in the UFC, that’s because he’s good and can face anyone. He is also tall for the division."
Silva vs. Sonnen Rematch Slated for NYE or Super Bowl Event
Lance Pugmire of The Los Angeles Times, one of the few in the media with UFC president Dana White’s direct cell number, is reporting that Chael Sonnen will be granted an immediate rematch against middleweight king Anderson Silva.
According to the report, the highly anticipated mulligan will either go down on the UFC’s New Year’s Eve or Super Bowl weekend card.
UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta told Pugmire that Silva’s bruised – NOT BROKEN – ribs will be the determining factor on when the scrap will take place. He added that it’s possible the champ may require a layoff until early February in order to get right, which would be pushing pigskin time.
Marcus Davis Has No Doubt He's A Better Boxer Than Nate Diaz
And "The Irish Hand Grenade" thinks it'll give him a clear advantage at UFC 118 this weekend when he faces Diaz. "He's similar to me as far as what he uses in his arsenal. I think that what Diaz does for his boxing, being long, throwing out his lead left hand a lot, he has some good things that he does. But I have more tools. I have better footwork. He moves forwards and backwards. I move side to side. I'm good at closing the gap quickly and getting my shots off and getting back out. I think that I'm the more powerful puncher. I don't think there is any question about that. I hit guys with one shot and they go out. As far as boxing skill goes, I think I have the advantage there."