UFC boss says Jake Shields "probably" in line for title shot with UFC 121 win
While UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre will next put his title on the line in December against fellow "The Ultimate Fighter 12" coach Josh Koscheck, the division's next top contender may be decided as early as next week.
At a press conference today in Montreal promoting December's "UFC 124: St-Pierre vs. Koscheck 2" event, UFC president Dana White said promotional newcomer Jake Shields (25-4-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will likely earn himself a title shot with a win in his upcoming octagon debut.
"If Jake Shields should win against Martin Kampmann, it will probably be him next," White said.
Is The Winner Of Martin Kampmann vs. Jake Shields The Perfect Matchup For Jon Fitch?
Fitch thinks so, and he probably wouldn't mind getting it before his next title shot. "The next time a title shot is coming around is probably going to be a while, so I'm kinda thinking I might wanna fight again before the title shot. The winner of Kampmann-Shields would be a perfect match-up. I've known Jake [Shields] for a long time. He's a good friend of mine. I'm all about fighting the best guys in the world and we've known for a long time that this day would probably come where we'd have to fight. So be it."
Stephan Bonnar "The Gym Rat" Is "Not Too Worried" About The Ground Game Of Igor Pokrajac
Apparently no submission losses means no sweat when it comes to the ground game, at least in Bonnar's mind. "I respect his ground, but I’m not too worried. I[have] never been submitted. I am a BJJ black belt under Sergio Penha, and was brought up in Jiu Jitsu under the legendary Carlson Gracie. Also, I’ve really improved my takedown defense. The only guys to ever take me down in a fight have been Rashad, Jon Jones, and Mark Coleman….and now I’m even harder to take down ... I’m a gym whore. For these last couple fights I’ve been with Sergio Penhas gym, One Kick Nicks gym, and PSI (Philippi Sports Institute) for strength and conditioning. I’m happy too. I love my coaches and my team. I don’t feel like anythings missing anymore."
Facing "tailor-made" opponent, James McSweeney predicts UFC 120 success
For British slugger James McSweeney (4-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC), things couldn't have worked out any better.
Sure, he admits, a late opponent change is never something you'd ask for, but as "The Hammer" finishes his prep for this weekend's UFC 120 bout with promotional newcomer Fabiano Maldonado (17-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC), McSweeney says he couldn't have hand-picked a better foe.
"The guy is very cocky and very sure of himself," McSweeney recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "I love fighting guys like that. It's tailor-made for me."
Phil Baroni vs. Brad Tavares targeted for UFC 125 on Jan. 1
"The Ultimate Fighter 11" semifinalist Brad Tavares (5-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) will put his perfect record on the line when he meets veteran fighter Phil Baroni (13-12 MMA, 3-6 UFC) at UFC 125.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that verbal agreements are in place for the fight, which is expected to take place at middleweight.
UFC 125 takes place Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the night's main card airs on pay-per-view.
It's not known if Tavares vs. Baroni will make the broadcast.
Report: No 1/29 UFC Event, 126 Expected To Be Super Bowl Card
Although a Jan. 29 show was under consideration at one point, the date no longer is expected to host an Ultimate Fighting Championship card. Multiple sources close to the organization say nothing is planned for pay-per-view or Spike TV for the January date. That means the Jan. 1 New Year's Day card will be UFC 125, and the star-studded Super Bowl weekend card on Feb. 5 is expected to be UFC 126. In recent years, UFC officials sometimes host an event just a week before the Super Bowl weekend show in an effort to build interest and spur pay-per-view buys. Traditionally, the Super Bowl events are some of the biggest of the year for the UFC. That led to a rumors of a potential UFC 126 event on Jan. 29, but that now appears unlikely, the sources said. 126 is expected to be in Vegas at either MGM Grand Garden Arena or Mandalay bay Events Center.
Lightweights Clay Guida vs. Takanori Gomi booked for UFC 125 on Jan. 1
Veteran lightweight Clay Guida (27-11 MMA, 7-5 UFC) got his wish and faces Japanese star Takanori Gomi (32-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC) on Jan. 1 at UFC 125.
Guida confirmed the bout during a Sunday appearance on ESPN Chicago's "MMA Tonight" program.
The first-of-the-year card takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, and the night's main card airs on pay-per-view.
It's not clear if Guida vs. Gomi will make the broadcast, but it's likely to air in some form.
Randy Couture Actively Seeking Movie Roles, Unsure Of Fighting Future
UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture isn't exactly hanging up the gloves just yet, but he admits fighting is no longer his primary focus. In fact, following his most recent cinematic role working alongside action-film luminaries Jet Li, Dolph Lundgren, Mickey Rourke, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis in "The Expendables," Couture says he realizes his future is brighter in Hollywood than it is in Las Vegas. "I think [acting] is certainly what my interest is right now," Couture said on this week's edition of the MMA:30 Radio Hour. "I've had an amazing year, and I think it's time to start looking at that, for sure. That's probably what's going to carry me through for the next 10 or 15 years." As for what's next, Couture says he's currently in a crossroads. Couture's lawyer, Sam Spira, in September told MMAFighting.com he considered the likelihood of Couture's return to the cage "a toss-up." Couture has 3 fights left on his current UFC contract.
Evan Dunham vs. Kenny Florian In The Works For UFC 127 (Updated)
Kenny Florian recently said he hopes to return to action in early 2011, and it looks like it'll come in February at UFC 127. While not yet announced he's expected to meet Evan Dunham at the event on February 5. Florian recently revealed on "MMA Live" that he's verbally agreed to the fight.
UPDATE Kenflo says yea, agent says nay. Dunham's camp says they have not agreed to the fight, verbally or otherwise, and no date is set. Sources did make it clear the fight could still happen, but despite what some sites say it is NOT official at this time.
UFC Re-signs Mario Miranda
UFC believes Mario Miranda can get back on the right track. Although he has a losing record in the promotion at 1-2, he was recently given a new 4-fight deal from the promotion and is hoping to return in early 2011. Miranda's last fight was a UFC 118 loss to Demian Maia, but that fight came together on short notice due to an Alan Belcher injury.
Dustin Hazelett vs. Mark Bocek Official For UFC 124
As expected, Dustin Hazelett is dropping from Welterweight to Lightweight and his first fight at Lightweight will come at UFC 124. UFC officials have confirmed that Hazelett will face Mark Bocek at the event. It's not known if the fight will be a prelim or PPV fight.
Miller vs. Oliveira Added To UFC 124
According to sources close to the fight, the other half of the "Miller Time" doubleheader at UFC 124 will feature Jim Miller taking on fast-rising prospect Charles Oliveira. While the UFC has made no announcement about the bout, it's like that Miller vs. Oliveira will make the televised broadcast of the UFC 124 show in some capacity. Jim's brother Dan also is scheduled for 124, he'll face Joe Doerksen.
Nate Diaz vs. Dong Hyun Kim in the Works for UFC 125
According to Korean news site mfight.co.kr:
Dong Hyun Kim will be fighting at January 1, 2011 at the MGM Arena in Las Vegas’ UFC 125 against Nate Diaz.
Kim Dong Hyun: "The most important thing for my next fight is to try to win in exciting fashion with a KO or submission finish."
The UFC Puts Money Down in the NY Governor's Race
The New York Post reported that Zuffa, the parent company of the UFC, has contributed $74,000 to Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Cuomo.
S.C. Michaelson commented:
As you know, MMA is in the middle of a 5-round war with the NY State Legislature over sanctioning of MMA. Their biggest opponent is Bob Reilly (who I have discussed in the past) who also has the ear of the Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (who is the key to keeping the bill from going to vote).
Current Governor David Paterson is a strong proponent for MMA but that has not helped the cause as it is still illegal. However Paterson was not elected and only ascended to the Governorship after David Spitzer resigned. Andrew Cuomo is a much more popular figure in the state of New York and thus could have more influence. According to the Post, Cuomo has not officially stated his position on the legalization of MMA. I'm sure that Zuffa has some knowledge of his position as they donated a substantial sum.
Ricardo Almeida vs. T.J. Grant targeted for UFC 124 in Montreal
A welterweight bout between Ricardo Almeida (12-4 MMA, 5-4 UFC) and Canadian T.J. Grant (16-4 MMA, 3-2 UFC) is being finalized for December's UFC 124 event.
Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that bout agreements have been distributed and are in the process of being finalized. Showdown.ca first reported the fight.
UFC 124 takes place Dec. 11 at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The night's main card airs on pay-per-view, though it's unclear if Almeida vs. Grant is part of the broadcast.
Jason MacDonald targeted for UFC 124 return, meets Rafael Natal in Montreal
Middleweights Jason MacDonald (24-14 MMA, 5-6 UFC) and Rafael Natal (12-3 MMA, 0-1 UFC) have been penciled in for a meeting at UFC 124.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the impending matchup with sources close to the event, who said verbal agreements are in place and contracts are on the way.
Natal's management, Dominance MMA, confirmed the fight earlier today via Twitter.
Jason Brilz Off UFC 122, New Signee Ferreira Likely Replacement
According to sources close to him, Jason Brilz is now off UFC 122 in Germany due to a back injury. He was to have faced Vladimir Matyushenko. Chute Boxe standout and Brazilian light heavyweight Alexandre Ferreira, who has now signed a multi-fight deal with UFC according to the TATAME, is the replacement. Ferreira is 18-6 career and mainly competes in World Vale Tudo Championships, an old-school style promotion in Brazil.
UFC 120 fight card again official with James McSweeney vs. Fabio Maldonado
The fight card for this month's "UFC 120: Bisping vs. Akiyama" event is again complete.
The 11-bout lineup is now finalized with the official addition of a light-heavyweight bout between "The Ultimate Fighter 10" cast member James McSweeney (4-5 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and UFC newcomer Fabio Maldonado (17-3 MMA, 0-0 UFC).
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) reported this past week, Maldonado replaced injured Tom Blackledge.
UFC 120 takes place Oct. 16 at The 02 in London. The event airs in the U.S. on Spike TV via same-day delay.