Perfect timing: Cain Velasquez on his new UFC 99 opponent, Cheick Kongo
Cain Velazquez: I feel good about my new opponent. At this stage, I think he is a tougher opponent. I thought he was in line for a title shot next so that makes me feel good. I will definitely have to change up my gameplan now.
He has a long reach and is very strong fighter. He has improved his take down defense. I will be really focused on my take downs and also working to sharpen my kickboxing skills. Overall, I want to be fast, explosive and just stay calm out there.
UFC 98 Press Conference Notes
Today the UFC held its press conference in anticipation for UFC 98 with UFC president Dana White leading the way with all four main event fighters joining him on stage.
White noted the historic significance of Saturday's fight, “The main event for the light heavyweight title on Saturday night, for the first time in UFC history, that two undefeated fighters have faced off for the title.”
The challenger Lyoto Machida was short and sweet with his thoughts on the fight, “I’m very excited and I’m looking forward to this fight. I will try to finish this fight before the end.”
This will be Rashad Evans first title defense and he hopes to keep the title for a long time as he mentioned in his comments for the fight.
Al-Turk Confident He Can Handle Cro Cop
Mostapha Al-Turk says he is confident he can take out Mirko 'CroCop' Filopovic in what will be the biggest fight of his career at UFC 99.
Al-Turk is coming off a loss to Cheick Kongo so could be forgiven for wanting a safer fight, but he told UK newspaper The Mirror that he is happy to fight Filopovic (pictured).
I feel good. I feel like I've got the tools and the know-how and the skill to deal with him and beat him,”
With Anthony Johnson out of TUF 9 Finale, Matt Brown follows suit
Just one day after Anthony Johnson (7-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) was forced to bow out of his June 20 fight, original opponent Matt Brown (9-7 MMA, 3-1 UFC) has done the same.
Sources close to the bout informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Brown has elected to rest and heal some nagging injuries rather than seek a replacement opponent.
Both fighters have been removed from the UFC's official listing of The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale, which airs live on Spike TV.
Medical Beat: Could the UFC benefit from having a medical director?
I was surprised to discover that the dominant brand in the fastest growing sport in the world does not have a medical director. Apparently the UFC does not appreciate the potential benefit of having in-house medical counsel.
For better or worse, physicians respect the opinion of other physicians when it comes to medical matters. Not to say that other individuals and professionals due not on occasion have valid medical opinions, but it is very difficult to get a doctor to entertain them.
Yoshida Works With Jackson's Camp For UFC 98
The education of a mixed martial artist never truly stops. For Japanese Judoka, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, the learning curve came at the expense of a knockout loss to Josh Koscheck in December 2008, but he believes he has learned from the mistakes he made, and is ready to return at UFC 98 this Saturday night.
For his last bout, Yoshida was expected to be a tough match-up for the former NCAA wrestling champion, but what many thought would be a ground war turned into a stand-up fight that the Japanese fighter lost in the first round.
Leites-Sakara Official, Completes UFC 101 Card
With the confirmation today of Thales Leites vs. Alessio Sakara for the card, the UFC 101 card is now final. The 11-fight card is headlined by BJ Penn vs. Kenny Florian for the UFC Lightweight Title and Anderson Silva vs. Forrest Griffin. Leites-Sakara will be a prelim.
Sean Sherk Would Like To See Shinya Aoki Take Off His (Stretchy) Pants
UFC Lightweight Sean Sherk thinks ranking systems like BloodyElbow's and others that rank fighters like Kenny Florian and Shinya Aoki ahead of him make no sense. As for Aoki, Sherk says he's got no boxing, no wrestling, nothing except those pants. So Sherk would like to see Aoki and others like him in UFC, where he can't wear the pants.
221-pound Sonnen takes on Miller because Herman wouldn't
The politics of fighting has put Chael Sonnen in an interesting position. When Yushin Okami had to drop out of his UFC 98 fight against Dan Miller, UFC matchmaker Joe Silva gave a call to Team Quest and Matt Lindland looking for a replacement back on May 1st.
Lindland was asked about Ed Herman, who just saved his job with a win over David Loiseau back at UFC 97 on April 23rd. Lindland told Silva that Herman was a go.
When "The Law" finally tracked down Herman, "Short Fuse" said he didn't want the fight. Lindland then called Sonnen, who was driving to the gym, and told him now he was in a lerch. Sonnen took the fight not realizing that he was 221 pounds with only 22 days to cut the weight to reach the middleweight limit of 185.
TUF 9 Finale: Martin Kampmann vs TJ Grant (UPDATED: Kampman Turns Fight Down)
Former top middleweight contender Martin Kampmann (15-2) is in talks to tangle with UFC sophomore TJ Grant (14-2) in a welterweight match up at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 Finale at “The Pearl” at the Palms Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, on June 20.
Grant announced the bout earlier today via his Facebook page and MMAmania.com was able to independently confirm the announcement with Grant’s camp.
Kampmann made his welterweight debut at UFC Fight Night 18: “Condit vs. Kampmann,” spoiling the Octagon debut of World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) Welterweight Champion and top-ranked 170-pound fighter Carlos Condit.
Matt Hughes Fans Should Be Encouraged
By news like this:
“I’ve switched things up a little bit,” he says. “I went to a lot of training camps, went out a lot to different places and didn’t stay home near as much.”
One of those outside camps visited by Hughes (42-7) was Greg Nelson’s Minnesota Martial Arts Academy, home to former and current UFC champions Sean Sherk, Dave Menne and Brock Lesnar.
Dana White's UFC 98 Video Blog - Episodes 1 and 2
Check out Dana White's video blogs as he meets up with fans during the midnight release of UFC 2009: Undisputed, and gets left an interesting message on the sidewalk.
In the second video, Dana makes an appearance on the Opie and Anthony show, hangs out with Jimmy Fallon, and more.
Kongo to step in for Heath
MMABay can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that Wolfslair MMA Academy trained heavyweight, Cheick Kongo, has agreed to step in for the injured Heath Herring at UFC 99 against Cain Velasquez.
UFC Adds Pyle As "Insurance" For 98
Apparently UFC has some concerns about Chris Wilson, who is supposed to fight Brock larson Saturday at UFC 98. The concerns aren't clear, but UFC has signed Mike Pyle to a contract and he's been told to be ready to fight Saturday as an "insurance policy".
Dana White: ESPN's E:60 was a peice of S&%#
Anyone who thought Dana White would soften his tone after the backlash from his recent controversial comments obviously doesn’t know the UFC president.
White drew widespread criticism for a video blog he posted on YouTube last month in which he attacked Sherdog.com writer Loretta Hunt for a story she wrote about the UFC’s credentialing policy. The low-point of the profanity-laced tirade was a homophobic slur White used to describe anonymous sources in Hunt’s story.
White later apologized to the *** community, but otherwise stood by his message and the manner in which he delivered it. In an interview with the Herald on Thursday, White explained that he has no intention of toning things down.
“I have a lot of attorneys that could write (expletive) speeches for me every time I talk,” White said. “I have three attorneys in the car right now. I can have them tell me everything they (expletive) want me to say. Is that what you want? Is that what the fans want? Is that what people want? I can do that. It would give me a lot less (expletive) headaches. Sure I could do that and be a phony like all the other guys, if that’s what everybody wants.”
The questions were obviously rhetorical, as White directed his ire at an ESPN feature on him that appeared on the network’s “E:60” program last week.
“The ‘E:60’ thing was a piece of (expletive),” White said. “Same old (expletive) story, same old (expletive).”
'Behind the Octagon' to Stream Backstage Video at UFC 98
The UFC has a special treat for those staying in to watch the fights on Saturday night. Starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, four live video streams will be available at UFC.com/BK, as part of a new Burger King-sponsored online feature called "Behind the Octagon." Viewers can switch between the red and blue corner dressing rooms, the fighter entryway, and a camera that will just be following Dana White as he makes his rounds. In other words, you'll be seeing a lot of behind-the-scenes action that's never been available before, aside from edited highlights in Danavlogs.
Specific details on "Behind the Octagon" are scarce at this point — we don't know if UFC.com will try to charge viewers for access, and we don't even know if the feeds will be available during the entire event. But if it comes together, BtO could be the most forward-thinking Internet feature the UFC has ever offered. Now all they have to do is give press credentials to bloggers and we'll have entered the Utopia...