Yamamoto In Contract Talks With UFC
In its three-plus years under the umbrella of Zuffa LLC, the WEC aggressively has recruited talent from overseas, particularly among the ranks of Japanese fighters who've traditionally dominated the rankings in lighter weight classes. They've been partially successful in doing so, nabbing competitors such as Takeya Mizugaki, Yoshiro Maeda and Akitoshi Tamura, among others. One of the biggest prizes, Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto, seemed to elude their grasp even as posterboy Urijah Faber continued to call out the then-dominant fighter early in his featherweight title reign. But with a merger already in motion between the WEC and UFC, those doors have opened again, and Yamamoto is in active talks with the UFC. If signed, his debut could come as soon as February or March.
UFN 24 Set For March 26, TUF 13 Premieres March 30
March will be a big month for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Spike TV. While not yet finalized, UFC FIght Night 24 will take place on March 26, and the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter 13 will come 4 days later on March 30. No fights are rumored for UFC Fight Night 24, though as with past seasons, recent "TUF 12" winner Jonathan Brookins would appear a leading candidate. UFC Fight Night 24 takes place a week after UFC 129, scheduled for March 19. A city and location still are being finalized, but sources said the event will be hosted within the U.S. and likely air on pay-per-view. No word yet on TUF 13 coaches but Wanderlei Silva and Chael Sonnen are rumored to be under consideration.
UFC.com streams UFC 124's Hazelett vs. Bocek, Miller vs. Doerksen prelims live
With Spike TV unable to air a "UFC Prelims" special due to the 2010 Spike Video Game Awards, UFC.com is stepping up to plate.
On Saturday the UFC's official website provides live streams of two UFC 124 preliminary-card fights beginning at 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT).
They include bouts of lightweights Dustin Hazelett vs. Mark Bocek and middleweights Joe Doerksen vs. Dan Miller.
Mark Munoz Draws C.B. Dollaway In March For The Next UFC On Versus Card
Mark Munoz will try to keep his streak against former Arizona State All-Americans alive with his next fight. He will take on C.B. Dollaway in a middleweight bout on an as of yet unannounced card for March, set to be the first UFC on Versus for 2011.
The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the match-up, with verbal agreements in place from both competitors. No contracts have been issued at this point.
Diego Sanchez vs. Martin Kampmann likely UFC on Versus 3 main event
A bout between welterweight contenders Diego Sanchez (22-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC) and Martin Kampmann (17-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) is set for UFC on Versus 3 and likely will headline the show.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the booking with sources close to the fighter.
The Versus-televised event takes place Thursday, March 3, though a location and venue haven't been finalized.
It'll be the first UFC on Versus show of 2011. As part of the UFC-WEC merger, Zuffa LLC signed a deal with Versus to air four UFC shows on the all-sports cable station in 2011. Two aired this year as part of an inaugural deal between the two.
Has "Captain Canada" Become Predictable?
According to the man most hated by the GSP fanbase-Matt Serra-yes, and he knows how Josh Koscheck can stun the champion and the home crowd this weekend. "It is a brutal crowd if you're fighting Captain Canada in Canada. I thought the cage was shaking. It was brutal. Brutal. But I don’t think it’s going to effect Koscheck at all because he loves being the heel. If Koscheck can truly block out the crowd, or use it to fuel himself, he has a chance to beat St-Pierre. St-Pierre is predictable now. Everyone knows what he’s going to do. But now you gotta stop it."
TUF 11 competitor Nick Ring to make UFC debut at UFC 127 against fellow newcomer Riki Fukuda
Middleweight Nick Ring will finally make his UFC debut at UFC 127 in Australia, according to a report from CagePotato.com, when he takes on fellow UFC newcomer Riki Fukuda.
The undefeated Ring was a favorite to win the eleventh season of The Ultimate Fighter, but a lingering knee issue worsened after his decision win over eventual season 11 champ Court McGee, and Ring had to drop out of the competition. He ended up getting surgery in April to repair the torn ACL, and has been rehabbing from that procedure since then.
Fukuda is a 17-4 professional out of Japan, and he enters the UFC on a seven fight win streak and as the current DEEP Middleweight Champion.
I am pumped to see Nick Rings Debut!
Replacement Cody McKenzie meets Yves Edwards at UFC Fight Night 23
Fresh off his 10th consecutive victory by guillotine choke, Cody McKenzie (12-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) now meets Yves Edwards (38-16-1 MMA, 6-4 UFC) at "UFC Fight Night 23: Fight for the Troops 2."
Multiple sources close to the event today alerted MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the fight and said verbal agreements are in place for the lightweight bout.
UFC Fight Night 23 takes place Jan. 22 at Fort Hood in Killeen, Tex., and airs live on Spike TV.
Edwards, a longtime member of American Top Team, previously was scheduled to meet Melvin Guillard at the event. But when Kenny Florian was forced to withdraw from a headlining bout with Evan Dunham, Guillard took Florian's place, and that opened up an opportunity for McKenzie on the night's featured preliminary-card fight.
UFC to hold show in Toronto on April 30
The UFC will make its Ontario debut in April.
UFC president Dana White says UFC 131 will take place April 30 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
White says he expects the mixed martial arts show to be ''massive."
Ontario announced in August that it would allow mixed martial arts, starting in 2011.
Prior to that Premier Dalton McGuinty had always dismissed the idea of permitting the sport, saying it just wasn't a priority for Ontario families.
Ontario's change of heart came after successful UFC shows in Montreal and Vancouver, which both posted record sellouts for the MMA juggernaut.
Kizer "Shocked" With Phan-Garcia Scores But Takes Issue With Rogan Criticism
Keith Kizer plans to re-watch this past Saturday's fight between Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale, and if necessary, have a sitdown with the judges who rendered a controversial split decision in favor of Garcia. That's about the extent of what he can do other than relieve the judges of their positions, a call he believes is both premature, and, for now, unwarranted. Kizer, the Nevada State Athletic Commission's executive director, said that while he was "shocked" that only one of the fight's three judges ruled in favor of Phan, he does not believe he needs to "clean house" with current NSAC judges, as UFC commentator Joe Rogan suggested following the featherweight fight. "He may think some of the judges aren't as good as I do, and that's fine," Kizer on Monday said. "There's nothing wrong with him thinking that. "But I've gotten rid of several judges during my tenure, and every judge has to keep doing well if they want to stay a judge, so I don't disagree with cleaning house of officials that aren't worthy of it, and I've done so." Kizer said UFC actually does have a say in judges for fights-at least for some international events where MMA isn't regulated or there isn't enough staffing to do so.
Leonard Garcia Is "Pissed Off" About Joe Rogan's Criticism Of His "Fighting Style"
He also adds that he can't fight, as he calls it, Joe Rogan's fighting style. "It does piss me off, because I have nothing to do with the decision. ... it bothers me to hear him say some of that stuff he said. It's kind of a bad deal, but all it's going to do is fire me up for the next one. He talks about certain things that I do in the fight, but that's just my fighting style. I don't fight Joe Rogan's fighting style. I apologize to Joe Rogan, but I can't fight his style. That's not my style of fighting. What makes me who I am is my style of fighting, and people seem to enjoy it. I've won several Fight of the Night [bonuses] because of it, and I enjoy fighting that way. I think it's something the fans deserve, is to see two guys give it their all. And that's one thing I know about myself is I go out there and give it my all."
TUF 12 Finale fighters salaries: Demian Maia leads $398K payroll
UFC middleweight contender Demian Maia ($80,000) was the top earner at Saturday's The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) recently requested and today received the list of disclosed paydays from the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The total disclosed payroll for the Dec. 4 show was $398,000.
Other top earners from the evening include winners Stephan Bonnar ($62,000), Leonard Garcia ($32,000) and Rick Story ($26,000), as well as main-card losers Kendall Grove ($28,000) and Johny Hendrickcs ($22,000).
The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale took place at The Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas and aired live on Spike TV.
The full payouts included:
Jonathan Brookins: $16,000 (includes $8,000 win bonus)
def. Michael Johnson: $8,000
Stephan Bonnar: $62,000 ($31,000 win bonus)
def. Igor Pokrajac: $10,000
Demian Maia: $80,000 ($40,000 win bonus)
def. Kendall Grove: $28,000
Rick Story: $26,000 ($13,000 win bonus)
def. Johny Hendricks: $22,000
Kenny Florian injured, forced to withdraw from UFC Fight Night 23
A highly anticipated lightweight main event between top UFC contenders Kenny Florian (14-5 MMA, 11-4 UFC) and Evan Dunham (11-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will not take place as scheduled.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that Florian suffered an undisclosed injury while training for a planned matchup with Dunham and has been forced to withdraw from the bout.
The pair was expected to meet in the main event of "UFC Fight Night 23: UFC Fight for the Troops 2," which takes place Jan. 22 at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas.
The UFC has yet to announce the change, and it's currently unknown whether a replacement opponent will be found or if the matchup will be pushed back to a later date.
Florian's manager, Malki Kawa, declined to comment on the report when contacted by MMAjunkie.com.
Trainer: only top-10 opponents for UFC's Rick Story from here on out
Rick "The Horror" Story is quietly terrorizing the middle tier of the UFC welterweight division.
But his team says he's capable of much more. And after a decision win over Johny Hendricks (9-1 MMA, 4-1 UFC) this past Saturday at The Ultimate Fighter 12, Story (12-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) is looking for big things in 2011.
"I don't think he should be fighting anyone out of the top 10 now," Pat White, Story's longtime trainer, today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The 26-year-old Story turned in his fifth consecutive octagon victory by dominating Hendricks where he wasn't supposed to – the mat.
Following TUF 12 Finale loss, Michael Johnson says it's jiu-jitsu every day
LAS VEGAS – For Michael Johnson (8-5 MMA, 0-1 UFC), the difference between victory and defeat boiled down to one split-second decision.
Unfortunately, at this past Saturday's The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale event, Johnson made the wrong choice against Jonathan Brookins in the evening's main event.
"The opening round, I came out and I felt real good," Johnson told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "I hit him with some big shots. I looked up, and I noticed I dropped him a little bit late. I was thinking, 'Here is my time to finish.'
"He did a great job of recovering. I just made a mistake and took a backstep a little too much and let him recover from the knockdown."
Joe Rogan: You Should Be Able To Leave It In The Hands Of The Judges
And he made his feelings on the outrage following the Nam Phan-Leonard Garcia decision known during the Rick Story-Johny Hendricks fight. "I don't think the last fight was close and the decision went the wrong way. It puts a tremendous amount of pressure on fighters not knowing what kind of officiating you're getting. It's gross. You should be able to leave it in the hands of the judges. You should be able to just fight. And we should point out, that is the situation because of the Nevada State Athletic Commission. It has nothing to do with the UFC. People keep saying 'oh the UFC!' We have no say whatsoever. And (NSAC executive director) Keith Kizer has denied that there's an issue. I think (Kizer) needs to clean house. There's a few very good judges surrounded by a bunch of incompetent morons, who know nothing about the sport. They need to do something about that, because it's ruining MMA. It's making people think that this sport is corrupt. It has nothing to do with corruption. It's sheer and total incompetence."
The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale bonuses
LAS VEGAS – Pablo Garza, Cody McKenzie, Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan each earned $30,000 fight-night bonuses for their performances at The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale on Saturday.
Garza earned the "Knockout of the Night" award, McKenzie earned the "Submission of the Night bonus, and Garcia and Phan both earned "Fight of the Night" honors.
The Ultimate Fighter 12 Finale recap
LAS VEGAS – Michael Johnson was so close to winning the 12th season of "The Ultimate Fighter," he was probably considering exactly where he was going to display his trophy.
Then suddenly, it was all snatched away.
Mike Pierce Vs. Kenny Robertson Agreed For UFC 126 In February
Undefeated prospect Kenny Robertson will finally get his chance to debut in the Octagon in February when he faces a very tough challenge in Mike Pierce. The welterweights will lock horns at UFC 126.
The fight was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com on Friday by sources close to the match-up, with verbal agreements in place but no signed bout agreements at this time. The fight was originally reported by MMAJunkie.com.