Dustin Hazelett vs. Rick Story In The Works For UFC 117
UFC welterweight hopefuls Dustin Hazelett and Ricky Story have been pegged for a possible 170-pound showdown when the promotion heads to the Oracle Arena for UFC 117 on August 7 in Oakland, California. Bleacher Report sent word of the pending match-up late last night. Hazelett was Pearl Harbored by now-exiled British striker Paul "Semtex" Daley back at UFC 108: "Evans vs. Silva" earlier this year. It was the first loss for McLovin' inside the Octagon since Josh Koscheck pounded him out at UFC 82: "Pride of a Champion" in March 2008. Story lost his UFC debut last June but has since won 3 straight.
Dana Predicts 850K PPV Buys For UFC 114
Dana White today gave the estimate for PPV buys for Saturday's UFC 114, courtesy of his crack team of PPV scientists (seriously) and he likes the prediction: 850,000. According to independent estimates, the last PPV to reach 800K was UFC 101.
Rampage Jackson Weighed 251 Before Training Camp
Anyone who has followed Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's mixed martial arts career knows that he's never been a gym rat, and that if he takes more than a year off from fighting, he's going to allow himself to get out of shape. That's just who he is.
But even knowing that, I was surprised to learn just how fat Rampage was at the start of his training camp for Saturday night's fight with Rashad Evans: 251 pounds.
That's what Mike Dolce, Jackson's strength and conditioning coach, revealed on the latest episode of UFC Primetime.
"Day 1 of this camp, Quinton was 251 pounds," Dolce said. "Today he is 221 ripped pounds."
Alan Belcher pushing for fight with fellow UFC contender Demian Maia
Alan "The Talent" Belcher (16-6 MMA, 7-4 UFC) is both lucky and unlucky to be a UFC middleweight on a win streak.
He's lucky, of course, because he's risen to the top of the promotion's 185-pound division. (Hard work helped, too.) But he's unlucky because there aren't many fighters who share his streak, and as a result, he has to wait a little longer than most to stay active.
Belcher recently expressed frustration with his predicament, but he told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio) that he has plans for moving his career forward.
"Right now we're pushing for Demian Maia because I think [the UFC] has plans for everyone else," Belcher today said on the radio show. "I think that's an interesting fight. That will help me solidify the No. 1 contender spot.
Rampage Is Going To Knock Rashad's Head Off
That's the latest short bit of potential attention-seeking from Quinton Jackson's teammate, Michael Bisping. "Rampage is going to knock Rashad's head off. I wouldn't want to be Rashad when he gets in there. If he carries on talking s***, it could be an early night for Rashad."
Report: Alves Cleared For UFC 117
After undergoing minor surgery to correct a brain "irregularity" that prompted his withdrawal from UFC 111 last March, former welterweight number one contender Thiago Alves has reportedly been cleared to participate in his UFC 117 rematch with Jon Fitch scheduled for August 7 from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. TMZ, who seems to have the market cornered on "Pitbull" news, reports that Alves had a successful angiogram yesterday (May 25) and that his doctor "is sending a letter to the New Jersey Boxing Commission declaring him physically fit to fight."
Griffin sidelined until October
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin underwent minor surgery this month to repair a right-shoulder injury that forced him to pull out of a fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira scheduled for Saturday.
The procedure will keep him out of action for approximately 12 weeks and out of the octagon until late September at the earliest, according to his trainer Jimmy Gifford.
"He saw a specialist in Los Angeles and had it worked on," Gifford said. "It was minor surgery, nothing crazy. He'll start physical therapy in six weeks and be on the shelf for 12 weeks.
UFC champ Georges St-Pierre: "I fight safe, and I'm not going to hide it"
LOS ANGELES – Georges St-Pierre is grappling with UFC fans' expectations.
St-Pierre, one of MMA's most popular stars and a six-time UFC welterweight champion, said he's frustrated with the reaction to his most recent victory over Dan Hardy at UFC 111.
But the champion is more than willing to meet head-on the critics who say he plays it safe.
"That's true," St-Pierre (20-2 MMA, 15-2 UFC) told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Monday evening as he honed his mat moves with jiu-jitsu coach Shawn Williams at a Renzo Gracie Academy school in the Mid-Wilshire district. "I fight safe, and I'm not going to hide it."
Dana White: 'Rampage' Jackson made the right decision by doing A-Team
"I get guys all the time -- because the UFC is getting so big - doing movies, but they're usually movies that go straight to DVD, and you wouldn't even want to watch them on DVD, but Rampage made the right decision. The A-Team is the big summer hit this year, and from what I'm hearing from the guys in Hollywood, Rampage [nailed] it. He did an awesome job. Everything worked out. He and I made up, and the fight is still happening. It's definitely not a bad thing, but I don't know how many people will actually be going to see The A-Team movie knowing that Rampage Jackson is a UFC fighter. I don't know. We'll have to see how it works out."
Bruce Buffer To Handle WEC 49 Announcer Duties
Veteran UFC announcer Bruce Buffer has been tapped for a return trip to a World Extreme Cagefighting broadcast. Buffer has agreed to handle announcing duties at June's "WEC 49: Varner vs. Shalorus" event. While terms of the deal were not disclosed, Buffer's contract with the WEC does not appear to be long-term in nature at this time and instead applies only to the June event. Buffer's services were required following the recent departure of former WEC announcer Joe Martinez. Martinez originally said he resigned for family reasons but then revealed his contract with WEC had not been renewed and that he also had a contract to work boxing events for Golden Boy Promotions.
Does Joe Silva Think Alan Belcher Has No "Talent"?
According to the man himself, apparently. I don't know what [UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva's deal is. Through my career, I've pushed for certain fights, and I don't know if it's Joe's personality or what, but I think he's not an Alan Belcher fan ... [Joe Silva is] cool and everything; it's just ... I don't know. It seems like I'm sitting there screaming: ‘The fans want to see me fight big fights.' I've got a big following, and I've got not just a flashy style; I have an explosive striking style. The fans want to see it, but he's not hearing it, man. It doesn't matter."
Dana White Talks Rampage vs. Evans, Canada, UFC Undisputed 2010 and More
Often times, a fighter may not be 100 percent focused in a return to competition after a layoff in pursuit of Hollywood dreams, but UFC president Dana White says Quinton "Rampage" Jackson should be an exception to the rule due to the amount of animosity he holds towards opponent Rashad Evans.
"The one saving grace for Rampage in this whole thing is how much he hates Rashad Evans," White said Monday on The MMA Hour. "The motivation for him to train and how angry he is and fired up he is for this fight. I think the fact that he's fighting Rashad is probably the best thing in the world for him."
White touched on many other subjects, below.
Kimbo Slice Mulling Over Future Options, Boxing & MMA Possible
Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson is at home in Miami and will soon decide what his fighting future holds. "He has a lot of offers and opportunities on the table, so it's up to him," his manager, Mike Imber said via text message. Imber declined to elaborate on Slice's current opportunities but said they were in both boxing and MMA. The manager left up to Ferguson which to choose. "It's been his call from the beginning, and it's his call now," Imber said.
Anthony Johnson Considering Move To Middleweight
A persistent knee injury has Anthony Johnson considering moving up from Welterweight to Middleweight. Johnson, a welterweight who cuts as much as 50 pounds to make the 170-pound limit, was in February forced to withdraw from a bout with rival John Howard at UFC on Versus 1 because of the injury. He has struggled since to get his knee back to 100 percent. Johnson underwent knee surgery a month ago and has not fought since welterweight contender Josh Koscheck submitted him at UFC 106 this past November. The loss snapped a three-fight streak of wins by TKO or KO. Johnson hasn't agreed to the move and it likely would be temporary. UFC has no objections to the move if it happens.
UFC 113: Early Reports Suggest 520K PPV Buys
According to Wrestling Observer, early reports have UFC 113 doing an estimated 520,000 PPV buys. But some reports have it doing as many as 687,000, which would be within industry esimates of 600K-750K. More reliable reports, though, seem to lean towards the lower number, which would be a disappointment for UFC.
UFN 22 Slated For September 15, Miller vs. Tibau Featured
The next installment of the Ultimate Fighting Championship's Spike TV-televised event series, UFC Fight Night, takes place Sept. 15 and serves as a lead-in for the debut episode of "The Ultimate Fighter 12." No venue is set but it's expected to be on the east coast, with Jim Miller vs. Gleison (Graison) Tibau the first expected matchup.
Everyone Wants To Fight Anderson Silva After UFC 112
Michael Bisping does too, but apparently nobody's given him any attention ahead of his UFC 114 fight with Dan Miller this Saturday, and he doesn't like that. So to change that, "The Count" had some interesting things to say about the undisputed king of his division, Anderson Silva, and his performance at UFC 112.
Dos Santos Confirms Nelson Fight At UFC 117
A top contender match up in the form of Junior dos Santos vs. Roy Nelson is official for UFC 117, which is set to go down on August 7 from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The fight has been rumored for a bit, with "Big Country" even joining in the gossip recently, and has now been confirmed by JDS via Twitter.
UFC on Versus 2 officially announced with Jones vs. Matyushenko, Munoz vs. Okami
Ultimate Fighting Championship officials today officially announced a long-expected Aug. 1 UFC on Versus 2 event.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported in April, the Versus-televised event takes place at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.
A previously reported light-heavyweight bout between Jon Jones (10-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) and Vladimir Matyushenko (24-4 MMA, 5-2 UFC) takes the main-event slot, and a middleweight fight between Mark Munoz (8-1 MMA, 3-1 UFC) and Yushin Okami (24-5 MMA, 8-2 UFC) is the night's co-headliner.