Officials confirm Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko for UFC 133
As expected, light heavyweights Alexander Gustafsson (11-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5 MMA, 7-3 UFC) will meet at UFC 133.
This is what the card looks like so far:
•Champ Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes (for featherweight title)
•Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans
•Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Vitor Belfort
•Rich Franklin vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
•Johny Hendricks vs. Mike Pierce
•Alexander Gustafsson vs. Vladimir Matyushenko
•Jorge Rivera vs. Alessio Sakara
•Mike Brown vs. Nam Phan
•Michael McDonald vs. Nick Pace
•Brian Ebersole vs. Dennis Hallman
•Riki Fukuda vs. Rafael "Sapo" Natal
Pretty awesome card if you ask me.
Benson Henderson vs Jim Miller on top for next edition of UFC on Versus
Jim Miller's new lot in life may be testing the mettle of former WEC lightweights. After destroying Kamal Shalorus at UFC 128 many were calling for Miller to get a crack at the lightweight championship. After all, Miller had run off seven consecutive UFC wins and only Gray Maynard and Frankie Edgar hold wins over him.
With Edgar and Maynard injured and their third fight postponed, a title fight wasn't coming any time soon and it now appears that former WEC lightweight champion Ben Henderson is next.
Junior dos Santos Predicts a Knockout in UFC 131 Matchup With Shane Carwin
We've all heard the news by now - Brock Lesnar has pulled out of his UFC 131 fight with Junior dos Santos, and Shane Carwin has stepped up to face Cigano on June 11th in Vancouver. This new fight is still a number one contender's matchup, with the winner getting a shot at Cain Velasquez later this year. Sherdog was able to speak to dos Santos after the change was announced, and dos Santos was complimentary towards his new opponent:
"I got a little upset about this change, but I’m happy that the UFC got another opponent for me," Dos Santos told Sherdog.com Thursday evening. "Carwin is an excellent fighter and deserves all my respect."
UFC 131 Heavyweight Fight Card Reshuffled After Brock Lesnar Withdraws
The news came rather abruptly on Thursday that former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar is suffering from another bout with diverticulitis, causing him to withdraw from his UFC 131 main event bout with Junior dos Santos.
Shane Carwin immediately accepted Lesnar’s slot, giving him the opportunity to return to title contention. But that left Carwin’s UFC 131 opponent, Jon Olav Einemo without a fight.
UFC matchmaker Joe Silva moved swiftly, however, pulling Joey Beltran from his fight on the card, and slotting him to face Einemo. Just as quickly, he signed Strikeforce veteran Aaron Rosa to face Dave Herman, Beltran’s original opponent in Vancouver.
Poor Fighter Management Continues as UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Jon Jones Not Having Surgery on Hand
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones had originally pulled out of his UFC 133 bout with Rashad Evans due to a hand surgery. The move raised the ire of some MMA fans, especially when Jones explained the surgery. From his original statement:
(The torn tissue in my right hand in the area between my thumb and forefinger) is an injury that’s been recurring since I was a college wrestler, it doesn’t affect my punching or grappling, but I am taking the time and the proper measures to correct this now, so that it doesn’t happen again. I look forward to getting back to training and to my first title defense. As for Rashad, let’s see what happens with Phil Davis. I will be watching that fight with great interest.
Last chance for veteran fighter Jeff Curran
Imagine your career comes down to one night.
For Jeff Curran, that’s exactly what tonight’s three-round featherweight match represents.
Two years ago, after he lost four consecutive fights, the WEC cut him. In the meantime, the Crystal Lake fighter has won three of his last four fights as he attempts to claw his way back into the big time.
Tonight represents his final hurdle in his comeback. Curran (31-13-1) will fight Billy Vaughn (9-7) in the main event of XFO 39 at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.
“If I can finish this guy off, most likely, I’m going back to the UFC,” Curran told the Sun-Times. “That’s where I want to finish my career —whether I’m successful there or not. I don’t want to go back to the drawing board. I’ve done it too many times in my career.”
Jon Jones and Rashad Evans Nearly Came to Blows in a Vegas Club This Week
It looks like there’s no love lost between Jon Jones and Rashad Evans.
A pirate at the Las Vegas Review Journal is reporting that the former Team Jackson training partners came close to getting in a bar fight this week while in town for the Fighter Summit.
According to the story, Jones was sitting at a table at Surrender nightclub with Tito Ortiz and Evans was sitting at the next table with Georges St-Pierre when a verbal back-and-forth between the pair escalated to the point that the current and former UFC light heavyweight champions “got physical” with each other. Apparently St-Pierre had enough of the childish behavior and the UFC welterweight champ told the pair to take the argument outside.
There’s no word as to whether or not they resolved their issues, but they did continue the discussion elsewhere and Evans tweeted the following this morning, so it seems he’s implying that Jones was the scared homie:
UFC Quick Quote: Talk smack about Brock Lesnar and you'll answer to Pat Barry
"TOTALLY OUT OF CHARACTER FOR ME- BUT MY FRIEND HAD A RELAPSE OF SOMETHING THAT ALMOST KILLED HIM AND LEFT HIS WIFE A WIDOW AND KIDS FARHERLESS! AAAAAAANYBODY GOT SOMETHING SHITTY TO SAY ABOUT HIM DUCKING A FIGHT OR BEING SCARED, COME FIND ME AND I'LL HEAR YOU OUT EYE TO EYE!!! IF U GOT THE SAND!"
Don't let the diaper fool you, UFC heavyweight Pat Barry (via his official Facebook fan page) is mad as hell and he ain't gonna take it anymore. "HD" is ready to defend the name of Brock Lesnar after the former division champion was forced to withdraw from his UFC 131 main event against Junior dos Santos on June 11 in Vancouver following another flare-up of diverticulitis. It seems some of the haters have insinuated that Brock was scared to fight "Cigano" or perhaps lost his desire to compete to which Barry says COME FIND HIM. Anyone gonna start looking?
Maximo Blanco Leaves Sengoku, Eyes UFC and Strikeforce
Sengoku break-out star Maximo Blanco spoke to MMAWeekly.com recently, and there are some interesting bits of info here. The Venezuelen Lightweight fighter confirms that he has left Sengoku, and is now looking to make his name in the US. Blanco has signed with US based management company SuckerPunch Entertainment, and is hoping they can help him as he looks to make his stateside debut. SuckerPunch represents some quality, upper level fighters, including UFC names like Pat Barry and Donald Cerrone, plus fighters for Strikeforce, Bellator, and various other organizations.
If you have never seen Blanco fight, you are missing out. The man is a joy to watch, bringing a wild intensity to his fights...
Jon Olav Einemo's UFC debut uncertain following Shane Carwin's promotion at UFC 131
Jon Olav Einemo (6-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is without an opponent following Brock Lesnar's withdrawal from UFC 131 and Shane Carwin's promotion to headliner opposite Junior Dos Santos.
Einemo's trainer, Golden Glory's Martin De Jong, was unaware of the change when contacted today by MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) and began a scramble for answers with an expletive.
UFC president Dana White said today that Einemo's future is currently undetermined. Asked whether a replacement is on the way for the Norwegian fighter, he said, "Not yet."
Junior Dos Santos opens as -260 favorite for UFC 131 bout with Shane Carwin
Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar's career may be on temporary hold, but oddsmakers' work is never done.
With one-time heavyweight title challenger Shane Carwin announced as a replacement opponent for Lesnar in a UFC 131 main event with Junior Dos Santos, noted oddsmaker and frequent MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) guest Joey Oddessa opened the Brazilian slugger as a -260 favorite, meaning a bettor would need to wager $260 in order to earn $100 of the book's money.
Meanwhile, Carwin opened as a +200 underdog, meaning a $100 wager would return a bettor $200 of the book's money in addition to the original wager amount.
Brock Lesnar out of UFC 131, Junior Dos Santos now faces Shane Carwin
Diverticulitis has stricken Brock Lesnar again.
In a hastily called conference call, UFC president Dana White announced that the former heavyweight champion has been forced to withdraw from an expected UFC 131 matchup with Junior Dos Santos with a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Cain Velasquez on the line.
Despite Lesnar's withdrawal, Dos Santos will remain in the headlining slot of UFC 131, and former title challenger Shane Carwin will face him in the octagon.
Brock: "I'm not retiring... I believe there's a solution to every problem, I just gotta find the right solution... I love this sport."
Bob Reilly Questions Motives Behind Zuffa's Accident Insurance
Mixed martial arts' most vocal critic in New York acknowledges that Zuffa's new accident insurance for its fighters is a positive move but won't go as far as saying it will help get MMA legalized in the Empire State.
MMA Fighting contacted Assemblyman Bob Reilly to discuss whether Zuffa's new insurance policy could help pave the way for the legalization of MMA in New York, and while he at first admitted to not hearing the news, he offered -- for perhaps the first time -- a compliment to the MMA promoters.
"I certainly wouldn't disparage that," Reilly said. "I think that's a good thing."
Mike Dolce Not Working With Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson for UFC 130
Mike Dolce, one of the key members of Team Quinton "Rampage" Jackson for the last couple of years, has not been helping Jackson prepare for his UFC 130 fight against Matt Hamill.
Dolce, a fighter who was a cast member on the seventh season of The Ultimate Fighter but has gained notoriety as of late for his work as a nutritionist and strength and conditioning coach, had been working closely with Jackson since his UFC 92 fight against Wanderlei Silva.
The pair didn't have a falling out, however, Dolce was just already booked to work with Thiago Alves for his fight against Rick Story at the same event.
CSAC Suspends Sonnen Indefinitely Pending May 18 Hearing
The California State Athletic Commission has suspended Chael Sonnen’s license to fight in the state indefinitely.
Reportedly handed down in late April, news of Sonnen’s suspension was first reported Tuesday by MMAWeekly.com. Sherdog.com on Wednesday confirmed the suspension with CSAC Executive Officer George Dodd, who said that Sonnen requested to meet with the governing body once notified. A hearing has been set for May 18 in Los Angeles.
Alan Belcher targeting return at UFC Fight Night 25 in New Orleans
After 16 months away from the cage, UFC middleweight contender Alan Belcher is hoping to make a return in September at "UFC Fight Night 25: Battle on the Bayou."
His agent, Malki Kawa, today told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that Belcher's return fight soon should be finalized.
And the Mississippi native is aiming for a spot on the Sept. 17 card, which takes place in nearby New Orleans.
"He's from Mississippi and literally 25 minutes away," Kawa said of the Spike TV-televised event. "Hopefully (UFC matchmaker) Joe (Silva) can make it happen."
Belcher (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) was scheduled for a UFC Fight Night 22 bout with Demian Maia this past September. But he started to lose vision in his right eye a few months before the event. After consulting with physicians and learning he had a detached retina, the injury forced the 26-year-old to not only withdraw from the fight but also face the possibility of watching his career come to an abrupt end.
Rashad Evans: 'I Have More Respect for Rampage Than I Do for Jon Jones'
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Rashad Evans had a lot to say in an interview with ESPN radio last night at the UFC Fighter Summit. Most of the content was in regards to his beef with current champion Jon Jones, but he also touched on a variety of other subjects that he hasn't addressed in the media until today.
On his twitter war with Jones:
"Yeah I was gettin' into it. I like to talk, and I was gettin' real excited about it. There were a lot of things that made me mad about the whole situation so...I definitely wanted to address a few things."
On going back to Jackson's:
"No, I will not be going back to Jackson's. I'll never go back to Jackson's. Wait, because I don't want to go back there I'm not goin to say never, I'm just gonna say I'm not going back."