AFTER ALL-STAR CAMP, FLORIAN "READY FOR HELL"
For the biggest fight in his mixed martial arts career, top UFC lightweight contender Kenny Florian spared no expense in bringing in some of the top fighters in the world to help him prepare for his championship bout against B.J. Penn at UFC 101 in Philadelphia. The Massachusetts native also made a trip north of the border to work with one of the pound-for-pound best in the world.
Knowing what a tough challenge Penn will be in the 155-pound title fight, Florian twice packed his bags, and left home for Canada to work with the last fighter to face the Hawaiian, UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre, who is the only fighter to actually defeat Penn twice in his career.
UFC 106 and The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale dates now official for Las Vegas
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has officially granted two previously rumored dates to the UFC, as the organization will return to Las Vegas on Nov. 21 and Dec. 5.
While not yet officially announced by the organization, the November date will see UFC 106 take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, while the December slot has been reserved for The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale at The Palms Casino Resort.
Injury forces Matt Wiman out of UFC 103, Rob Emerson expected to face Rafael dos Anjos
UFC lightweight Matt Wiman (10-5 MMA, 4-3 UFC) will have to put on hold his attempt to break back into the win column; a knee injury has forced the 25-year-old out of a proposed contest at UFC 103.
Wiman was expected to face Rafael dos Anjos (11-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) at the Sept. 19 event, but MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned "The Ultimate Fighter 5" contestant has bowed out of the event.
Headlined by a rematch between Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin, UFC 103 takes place at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Cut forces Rob Emerson out of UFC 101 bout; George Roop reported as replacement
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that "The Ultimate Fighter 5" cast member Rob Emerson (9-7 MMA, 2-1 UFC) has been forced to withdraw from his UFC 101 contest after suffering a cut requiring stitches while preparing for the event.
Emerson had been scheduled to face "The Ultimate Fighter 6" veteran George Sotiropoulos (9-2 MMA, 2-0 UFC) on the preliminary card of the pay-per-view event.
Featuring a lightweight title fight between current champ B.J. Penn and challenger Kenny Florian, "UFC 101: Declaration" takes place on Aug. 8 in Philadephia.
Kongo-Mir on tap for UFC 107
A source close to Kongo informed Sportsnet that the French striker is tentatively scheduled to face Frank Mir at UFC 107 in Memphis, TN.
The timing works great for Kongo as fellow Wolfslair training partner, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, is set to headline the UFC 107 show against his Ultimate Fighter 10 coaching counterpart, Sugar Rashad Evans.
Mir's camp has stated they have yet to hear of this fight request, but have stated they are definitely interested in fighting Kongo.
Nova Uniao Supplants Brazil's Old Guard
When Pride Fighting Championships met its end, the value of mixed martial arts teams seemed to diminish, too, as athletes were emphasized more for their own value, independent of the team they represented.
This trend has increased even more in Brazil, as Brazilian Top Team and the Chute Boxe Academy suffered several cuts and stars such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Paulo Filho, Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua left their respective training camps. The only team not to suffer any major losses during this period was Nova Uniao. Names like Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Thales Leites, Wagnney Fabiano and Jose Aldo -- born and raised on a team led by Andre Pederneiras -- continue to shine in international events.
According to Pederneiras, Nova Uniao has about 50 professional athletes on its roster, including Ribeiro and the young Eduardo Dantas, who fought Masakatsu Ueda for the Shooto 132-pound championship last weekend.
Made famous in the 1990s by the brilliant showings of its lighter weight athletes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions, the team made a seamless transition to MMA, winning titles in major events like Shooto (Ribeiro), Cage Rage (Ribeiro), the International Fight League (Fabiano) and Pancrase (Marlon Sandro).
“Our team went from BJJ to MMA,” Pederneiras said. “As we already had a very strong team in the lighter weights, basically my BJJ team migrated with the same success to MMA, so we just continued the work. But we’ve also proven that we can do it with heavier guys. Thales Leites is an example. The more that come here, the more we’ll do it.”
Although the recognition has come only in recent years, the team began to take its first steps more than a decade ago, with Pederneiras himself fighting in international events and Rafael Carino emerging victorious at UFC 9 in 1996.
“Rafael Carino was my first athlete who fought in MMA, then Joao Roque and some others,” Pederneiras said. “Even when I fought, I did not have an MMA team. I called some people for training, but most of them had never fought MMA before. Only when Shaolin began fighting MMA could I bring in more people. Then we really had a team.”
UFC 105 - Michael Bisping set to take on Wanderlei Silva (unconfirmed)
MMABay can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the main event is all set for the UFC’s next visit to the UK on November 14th as Wolfslair trained middleweight, Michael “The Count” Bisping will take on Brazilian MMA legend, Wanderlei Silva in Manchester, England.
News of the fight was passed along to MMABay by a source at the Wand Fight Team in Las Vegas, Nevada who revealed that the Brazilian would be putting pen to paper very soon after returning from receiving the key to the city in Pensacola, Florida. It will be the first fight of his career to be competed at 185 pounds.
JARDINE CONFIDENT AS SILVA SHOWDOWN NEARS
It’s been more than four months since Keith Jardine hit a bump on the road in his journey to the UFC light heavyweight championship. That bump is named Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Jardine fought Jackson to the full term of their 15-minute bout at UFC 96, but it was Jackson that had just enough of a burst late in the third round to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Franklin Signs New UFC Deal, Possibly His Last
Rich Franklin may be playing his final "Ace" card in MMA. He recently signed a new 6-fight deal with the promotion, but also said that, depending on "the pace of the fights", it could be his final UFC deal as he mentioned possible retirement when it's done.
Kimo Leopoldo Update: NOT DEAD
Despite earlier reports that he had died, Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole has confirmed that former UFC fighter Kimo Leopoldo is alive and well. Iole spoke to Kimo's attorney who said that "Kimo has surfaced" and that erroneous reports of Kimo's death were posted on the internet and quickly removed.
Mirko Cro Cop: Brock Lesnar Winning the UFC Title Is a Defeat for MMA
It's been fascinating to see the reaction to Brock Lesnar becoming the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion by defeating Frank Mir at UFC 100: The response is just about evenly split between those who think Lesnar's larger-than-life persona is great for the sport, and those who think he has tarnished MMA.
Count Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic as part of the latter camp.
UFC 100 officially nets second-largest gate in company history with $5.13 million
UFC 100 officially drew 10,871 attendees (9,793 paid) for a live gate of $5,128,490, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer today confirmed in an email to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The UFC's historic July 11 show now ranks as the second-largest gate in UFC history and fell just $268,810 short of UFC 66's record $5,397,300 gate, which resulted from the heavily hyped Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz rematch in late 2006.
Rich Franklin "assuming" UFC 103 fight with Dan Henderson at 205 pounds
A recently announced UFC 103 main event between Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson, two fighters who have bounced between the middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions, will likely be contested at 205 pounds.
While a guest on today's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Franklin said he hasn't been told definitely but that he's "assuming" the fight will be at light heavyweight.
On Monday the UFC announced the surprise booking, which is a rematch from the first Franklin vs. Henderson fight that took place in January at UFC 93, but didn't specify the weight for the bout.
UFC ‘Fights of the Year’ for 2009 … so far
Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 Finale
Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99
Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo at UFC 99
Martin Kampmann vs. Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 18
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 100
Honorable mention included Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin, Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle, Frankie Edgar vs. Sean Sherk, and Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra, among others. Agree or disagree with the “highly unofficial” list from the promotion? Have other memorable fights in mind outside of the UFC that are even better than those mentioned above?
Ask the Doc: Can groin injuries like Georges St-Pierre's severely hinder a fighting career?
Ever since Georges St-Pierre completed the third round of his UFC 100 bout and complained of a groin injury (and trainer Greg Jackson humorously told GSP to hit opponent Thiago Alves with it), message-board MDs have been diagnosing and predicting the fighter's future.
Although St. Pierre's manager, Shari Spencer, announced that no surgery will be needed, some fans still think the injury could have lasting effects.
In his latest "Ask the Doc" column, MMAjunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin discusses some typical groin injuries and why a finely tuned athlete such as St-Pierre probably doesn't have much to worry about.
Diego Sanchez Guaranteed Shot at UFC Title
According to lightweight Diego Sanchez, UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White have told him that he will be meeting the winner of the lightweight title bout between champion BJ Penn and Kenny Florian at UFC 101.
“Guaranteed,” Sanchez told Ron Kruck on the latest edition of Inside MMA. “It’s guaranteed. After August 2nd, it’s on. I get the winner.”
A few weeks back, Sanchez took exception to the fact that the division’s top contender, Florian – who he dominated to capture the “TUF 1? crown, will be getting his second shot at UFC gold while Diego has never seen a 25-minute title fight.
Justin McCully vs. Mike Russo and Tim Hague vs. Todd Duffee complete UFC 102 card
With the addition of two heavyweights bout on the preliminary card, the lineup for UFC 102 is now complete with a total of 11 fights.
"UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira" takes place at the Rose Center in Portland, Ore., and airs on pay-per-view.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported last week, UFC 102 has two new bouts: Mike Russo (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Justin McCully (9-4-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Todd Duffee (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Tim Hague (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).