AFTER UFC 111 WIN, PELLEGRINO FOCUSES ON GOLD
With four wins in a row, it would be difficult to deny Kurt Pellegrino has developed into a legitimate title contender.
Since returning to his native New Jersey and hooking up with fellow UFC lightweight Kenny Florian, Pellegrino has flourished and now has his sights set on goals he once thought unobtainable.
Shortly after his recent win at UFC 111, Pellegrino told MMAWeekly.com, “I had set my goals in the middle. I just told people I wanted to fight in the UFC. I believed that was the highest I could set my goals, and I have to reset everything.
Thiago Alves targeting UFC 114 return; still wants Jon Fitch rematch
We prefer 114, but not for sure yet. Nothing is set in stone. Thiago wants to get into the cage as soon as possible. If UFC 114 means fighting someone [other than Fitch] then he’ll fight someone else ... He wants to fight anybody that is willing to fight him, as soon as possible. UFC 114 is the target date, but if he has no choice then he’s going to do UFC 115."
UFN 21: 1.6 Million Viewers
Spike TV executives today announced that Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 21 drew an average of 1.6 million viewers over the broadcast, peaking at 2 million for the Kenny Florian-Takanori Gomi main event. It won the program's timeslots in men 18-34 & men 18-49, but the average audience was down very slightly from UFN 20, which averaged 1.7 million viewers.
Dan Hardy: I May Have Lost Saturday Night But I Wasn't Beaten
And no, he was not impressed with GSP's performance either. In fact, Hardy, who was in North Carolina visiting teammates Ross Pearson & Andre Winner ahead of UFN 21, said "[St-Pierre] just convinced me that he can keep me on the floor for 25 minutes." "When I fight him again, I'll be able to step into the octagon with a lot more confidence," he said. "Not that I didn't go into this fight with confidence, but I'm convinced now I can beat him. With a couple more months of training and a bit of work in a couple of areas, I can get the job done.
"I may have lost on Saturday night, but I wasn't beaten." He believes that if he keeps winning, he'll get his rematch within a year.
Paul Buentello not officially cut from UFC, but camp anticipates release
Paul Buentello (27-12 MMA, 3-3 UFC) has not received his official UFC release, but his representative is preparing for the worst.
"We've had discussions with the UFC about moving forward with Paul," Ellis Pacheco, Buentello's manager and lawyer, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today. "Have we received any paperwork? No."
Buentello dropped his second consecutive UFC fight when he met Cheick Kongo at UFC on Versus 1 in March.
In a one-sided affair, Kongo dominated the fight on the ground before Buentello submitted unexpectedly in the third round. His cornerman, Trevor Wittman, later confirmed the former heavyweight contender had suffered a dislocated finger in the fight's first round and was unable to continue due to the pain of the injury.
"It was very frustrating because of how well Paul had done in training camp with takedown defense and wrestling," Pacheco said. "He had lost 26 pounds for the fight."
The UFC's official Web site still lists Buentello on its heavyweight roster.
Wittman said medical personnel shot Buentello's hand with Novocaine backstage to help deal with the pain from the dislocated finger.
Afterward, Buentello said he wanted to quit fighting.
"I told him to not make any rash decisions," Wittman told MMAjunkie.com. "He was like, 'Oh, the UFC's going to cut me.' Honestly, from my perspective – and I try to keep it as real as I can because I love Paul, and I think he's a great fighter – I think he's got to have more dimensions at this high level of the game."
But Pacheco said a likely scenario for Buentello's future involves taking a few fights outside the UFC and to return at a later date.
"Do they want to drop Paul? No," Pacheco said. "But he's got two [losses], so it's possible that he might have to fight a few times outside the UFC and pick up a couple of wins and come back.
"I got a very nice email from (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) saying if they have to do that, they'd very much like to have Paul back."
Retirement does not appear to be on the table, at least for now.
Buentello fought Andrei Arlovski for the UFC heavyweight title at UFC 55 and lost via knockout. Despite a subsequent win over Gilbert Aldana at UFC 57, he was released from the promotion in 2006 and fought for Strikeforce and Affliction before re-signing with the UFC in the wake of Affliction's collapse this past August. He suffered a loss to Stefan Struve in December and is now 0-2 since his return.
TUF 12 Tryouts Draw 300+...And Jason Guida
Yes, that Jason Guida. The older brother of popular UFC fighter Clay Guida, who was a contestant on TUF 8 but kicked off before his first fight due to not making weight, was one of over 300 who showed up at today's TUF 12 open trouts in North Carolina. Other notable names who showed up included recent WEC fighter Mike Budnik & PRIDE veteran Charles Bennett. TUF 12 will feature Lightweights & Light Heavyweights.
UFC Cuts Paul Buentello
The Paul Buentello Taco Shop is once again out of business. The heavyweight has reportedly been cut by UFC following his most recent fight, a submission loss to Cheick Kongo, which has Buentello on the Losing Streak Of Doom-2 in a row. Strikeforce is considered an unlikely destination, he turned down a 6-figure deal for a Fedor fight in September '09 and "didn't really fit" in their plans at the time.
UFC Fight Night 21 bonuses: Florian, Nelson, Pearson, Siver earn $30K awards
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Kenny Florian, Roy Nelson, Ross Pearson and Denis Siver each earned $30,000 bonuses for their performances at Wednesday's UFC Fight Night 21 event.
Florian earned the "Submission of the Night" award, Nelson picked up the "Knockout of the Night" bonus, and Ross Pearson and Dennis Siver each earned "Fight of the Night honors.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) learned of the bonus winners and amounts in the night's post-fight press conference.
UFC Fight Night 21 took place at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, N.C., and aired on Spike TV as a lead-in for the "The Ultimate Fighter 11" season debut.
Florian picked up his award after submitting former PRIDE Fighting Championship lightweight title-holder and Japanese superstar Takanori Gomi via third-round rear-naked choke. Florian used crisp striking through two rounds to set up the takedown and fight-ending choke in the third.
Nelson, meanwhile, made his case for heavyweight title contention by blasting 6-foot-10 Stefan Struve with a pair of brutal overhand rights in the co-main event. "The Ultimate Fighter 10" winner then followed the towering Dutch fighter to the mat and unloaded a barrage of punches to force the KO stoppage just 39 seconds into the heavyweight fight.
Pearson and Siver, meanwhile, opened the night's broadcast with a high-energy three-rounder . While the competitors kept a nice pace to the fight, Pearson left little doubt he deserved the victory and ultimately picked up the unanimous-decision win via scores of 30-27 on all three judges' cards.
UFC 115 to remain in Vancouver, event not heading to Cincinnati
UFC 115 is a go for Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Less than 24 hours after the promotion gave the city until the end of business today to resolve concerns over the legal liability of holding an event in the city, Vancouver officials have given the June 12 show the green light.
The Canadian Press first reported the event as a go-ahead. MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has since confirmed the plans with sources close to the event.
Sources close to the situation today told the Vancouver Sun that city officials reached an agreement to hold the event during a three-hour emergency council meeting late Tuesday night.
The impasse centered on the council's concern that a fighter or party could sue the city if an injury or mishap took place during an event.
Marc Ratner, vice president of UFC regulatory affairs, on Tuesday told MMAjunkie.com that he was not giving up on Vancouver as UFC 115's destination after reports surfaced that the regulatory snafu had forced the promotion to consider moving the show to Cincinnati, Ohio.
"We're certainly working hand in hand with the mayor's office and the city council, and hopefully we have what they want," Ratner said. "The fight is still going forward as we speak."
UFC 115 will be the fourth event to be held on Canadian soil and the first event held in the Canadian province of British Columbia...
Coach: Alves’ Procedure Successful
Former UFC welterweight title challenger Thiago Alves underwent a successful medical procedure to mend a malformation in the left hemisphere of his brain Wednesday in New York City, according to his American Top Team coach Ricardo Liborio.
Dana White “Working On Something” for Georges St-Pierre & Welterweight Division
With welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre on the verge of lapping the entire 170-pound division after running through Dan Hardy on Saturday night, Dana White believes he has an ace in the hole for the division to keep things interesting.
“I’m working on something right now that I can’t talk to you guys about cause I don’t have it done yet,” White said regarding his plans for the winner of Josh Koscheck vs. Paul Daley at UFC 113.
Jon Fitch stated his interest in challenging St-Pierre once again, but White has other plans for Fitch first.
“I’m not kidding when I say that I would like to see [Josh] Koscheck fight [Jon] Fitch,” White admitted. “[They] talk about how bad they want title shots, just like Jon Fitch tonight, ‘I want that title so bad,’ really? How bad do you want it? You wanna fight Koscheck? He’s in your division and he’s one of the best.”
NJ Commission Clarifies Why Pellegrino's Face Plant Was Legal
When Kurt Pellegrino freed himself of a rear-naked choke by face planting his opponent into the canvas at this past weekend's UFC 111 event, one question quickly came to mind: How in the hell did Fabricio Camoes survive that? A second question soon followed: Isn't head-spiking illegal in mixed martial arts? According to the New Jersey State Athletic Board's Nick Lembo, not entirely. As Lembo explains, the move was allowed because it didn't come in the form of an illegal "piledriver," a type of head spike in which a fighter has control over his opponent. In the lightweight contest, Camoes took his opponent's back, secured his hooks, and worked for the rear-naked choke, all while Pellegrino remained in a standing position. Unable to shake free from his fellow jiu-jitsu ace, Pellegrino, who was already hunched over, dove into the mat and sent Camoes' head and neck crashing into the canvas. The move knocked Camoes loose – and briefly knocked him out cold. He awoke quickly after getting tagged with a couple punches, and though the fight continued, Pellegrino ultimately ended the bout with his own rear-naked choke at the 4:20 mark of the second round. The fact that Camoes was the one initiating the submission is an important point. "It should be noted that when a fighter is placed into a submission hold by their opponent, if that fighter is capable of elevating their opponent, they may bring that opponent down in any fashion they desire because they are not in control of their opponent's body," Lembo wrote. "The fighter who is attempting the submission can either adjust their position or let go of the hold before being slammed to the canvas."
UFC 111 Prelims Ratings Slam-Dunked By Hoops
The ratings for the UFC 111 Prelims special on Spike are out, and the NCAA Tournament caused the ratings to take a big hit. Only 1.2 million watched the hour on Spike, down 37% from the series-high 1.9 million from the pre-109 edition and the lowest-rated edition yet. But it was up against college hoops this time, as a West Virginia-Kentucky overrun was up against UFC.
IT'S PERSONAL: Chuck Liddell plans 3rd KO of Tito Ortiz
The relationship between Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz could be described as volatile to even the most casual viewer that's ever heard the two former champions talk about each other. When things get personal though, that's when Liddell's anger rockets to a new level.
The former light heavyweight champion says he didn't take the bait when Ortiz's girlfriend, former adult actress Jenna Jameson, took to Twitter recently and bashed Liddell and UFC president Dana White. Liddell says he even told his followers to back off of Jameson when things got a little too heated.
"I just take the high road with that," Liddell said on Monday. "I even asked my people on Twitter to back off the stuff with his girlfriend. I've got nothing against his girlfriend. They were mostly just pot shots they were taking, cheap shots too."
Chuck Liddell: I Hope Jake Shields Signs With UFC
Chuck Liddell, who hand-picked Jake Shields to be an assistant coach on Team Liddell for this season's The Ultimate Fighter 11, wants to see the Strikeforce middleweight champion make the long-awaited jump to the UFC.
"I hope he comes over to the UFC, it'd be great" Liddell said Monday on a TUF 11 conference call. "He's got a fight coming up soon at 185. He moved up to 185 ... He really needs to come back to his weight class (at 170), come back to the UFC and make a run at it there."
Liddell and Shields have ties from almost eleven years ago. Before Shields joined Cesar Gracie in 2001, Shields turned to Liddell's SLO Kickboxing Academy two years prior for his start in MMA.
Brian Stann Strongly Considering Move to Middleweight Division
Brian Stann suffered a one-sided defeat to Phil Davis at UFC 109, which left the former WEC light heavyweight champion wondering whether he would best be served dropping down to middleweight. When MMA Fighting spoke to Stann last week in New York City, Stann said his next fight, which should take place this summer, will possibly be his debut as a middleweight.
Stann talked about dropping down to 185 and also about the evolution of his MMA skills. Check out the video interview below.
Roy Nelson Has an Eye on the Heavyweight Belt
Roy Nelson isn't like most Ultimate Fighter winners. Nelson, who won Season 10 of the UFC's reality show, has already been the heavyweight champion of an MMA promotion (the International Fight League), and at age 33 he doesn't plan on fighting much longer.
So Nelson, who's preparing for his first post-Ultimate Fighter bout on Wednesday night when he takes on Stefan Struve on Spike TV, doesn't want to be particularly patient about getting a shot at the UFC heavyweight belt. In an interview with MMAFighting.com, Nelson said he wants to test himself against the best heavyweights in the world, and he wants to do it sooner rather than later.
The full interview is below.
Nick Catone vs. John Salter preliminary bout completes May's UFC 113 lineup
A middleweight bout pitting Nick Catone (8-2 MMA, 2-2 UFC) vs. John Salter (4-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is official for May's UFC 113 preliminary card and completes the event's 11-bout lineup.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported the fight earlier this month, and UFC executives recently made it official.
UFC 113 takes place on May 8 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The main card, which includes a main event and rematch between UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and challenger Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, airs live on pay-per-view.
Chuck Liddell says 3rd fight with Tito Ortiz "...is still on"
UFC light heavyweight Chuck Liddell says he still expects to fight nemesis Tito Ortiz – he's earned it, after all.
Liddell (21-7 MMA, 16-6 UFC), who coaches opposite Ortiz (15-7-1 MMA, 14-7-1 UFC) on the upcoming 11th season of "The Ultimate Fighter," said it took exactly one week to get motivated for a third meeting with Ortiz at the show's conclusion.
While question marks surround Ortiz's participation on the show – not to mention the location of the traditional post-"TUF" coaches' showdown – the five-time UFC light heavyweight champion said as far as he knows, it's business as usual.
"I've heard the rumors, of course, but from what I understand, [Ortiz] is signed to fight, and he's still going to actually show up and get [the] beating he's supposed to get," Liddell said today during a conference call promoting the 11th season's debut, set for Wednesday at the conclusion of "UFC Fight Night 21: Gomi vs. Florian."