Tony 'The Viking' Halme 1963-2010
Tony Halme, best known to mixed martial arts fans as the debut opponent for five-time UFC Champion Randy Couture, has passed away at the age of 47 according to The Baltimore Sun.
"The Viking" made his Octagon debut alongside "The Natural" way back at UFC 13: "The Ultimate Force" on May 30, 1997. Couture would make quick work of the pugilist, tapping him out with a rear-naked choke at just 0:56 of the first round.
The loss would be Halme's fourth straight after an unsuccessful stint that saw him go 0-3 in Japan's RINGS promotion. Prior to that, the 6' 4" Finnish Heavyweight Boxing Champion enjoyed a wrestling career from 1990-1995.
UFC 111: Rodney Wallace vs Jared Hamman in the works for March 27
Who is the master? Hopefully "Sho'nuff."
Coming off a disappointing Octagon debut at last month's Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 10 Finale, Rodney Wallace (9-1) will try to get back to his winning ways against Jared Hamman (10-2) at UFC 111 on March 27 in Newark, NJ, according to MMA 4 Real.
"Shonuff the Master" was stymied on Dec. 5 by fellow Tar Heel Brian Stann after the "All American" outworked him en route to a unanimous decision win. The loss snapped Wallace's perfect record at nine wins.
Gray Maynard: I'm the bully -- not the blanket
"My last two (fights against Jim Miller and Roger Huerta) have been pretty much all stand-up. There's people that kind of get it in their head, and they don't let it go. You can't please everyone. I know my stand-up is at the top, so I'm not stressing it at all. I'm really working to improve my skills and to do it right and just not flail around ... I'm ready to go, whenever. But I need to get past Nate first."
Unstoppable UFC lightweight Gray Maynard is hoping to rid himself of the "lay-and-pray" label with a dominating performance against Nate Diaz in tonight's (Jan. 11) main event of UFC Fight Night 20.
Is UFC Fight Night 20 Chris Leben's last stand?
"I'm going to fight my heart out. I love to stand up and bang with guys. This is a make it or break it for me. I have to lay it all on the line. When it comes Monday night, I'm going to go out there with bad intentions, I'm going to go out there with the belief that if I don't win, I go home. I'm not in the UFC anymore and that's not what I want. I need to win. I have to win. Expect some fireworks Monday night."
Embattled Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 1 star Chris Leben hopes to get himself back into the win column against promotion sophomore Jay Silva at UFC Fight Night 20 after back-to-back losses inside the Octagon.
Spencer Fisher vs. "Bang" Ludwig scheduled for March 21
There's at least one bout with fireworks written all over it when the UFC returns to Denver on March 21 as hometown kid, Duane "Bang" Ludwig returns to action to face Spencer "The King" Fisher in a lightweight bout confirmed for the promotion's debut card on Versus.
The bout was confirmed to MMAWeekly.com by sources close to the fight on Monday.
Taking a fight on short notice to return to the UFC, Ludwig came up short in his comeback campaign as he lost to rising 155lb fighter, Jim Miller, by submission earlier this month. Never one to back down from a challenge, Ludwig will look to et back on track as he fights in his hometown, where he has done very well in the past.
Randy Couture Says Brock Lesnar Is Back in Training
Well look who's getting name-checked on "Inside MMA." Ron Kruck references our story on Brock Lesnar's ongoing health issues before cutting to Randy Couture, who says he's spoken with Lesnar and things are looking up for the big man. If we can believe Couture (and he doesn't seem the like the type to just make stuff up -- that's Tito Ortiz's game), Lesnar is already back in the gym and ought to be Octagon-ready by this spring. We should probably treat this with the same healthy skepticism we had for "Comprido" Medeiros' assurance that everything was going to be just fine, but at least it's encouraging news.
Jeremy Stephens vs. Sam Stout targeted for UFC 113
To borrow a phrase from Mike Goldberg, "This one's got 'Fireworks' written all over it.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that a lightweight scrap between sluggers Jeremy Stephens (16-5 MMA, 4-4 UFC) and Sam Stout (15-5-1 MMA, 4-4 UFC) is in the works for the as-yet-unannounced UFC 113 event in Montreal.
Both parties have verbally agreed to the contest, though bout agreements have yet to be signed.
MacDonald and Guymon Have Stories to Tell Ahead of UFC Debut
Rory (The Water Boy) MacDonald and Mike (The Joker) Guymon make their UFC debuts Monday night, having taken vastly different journeys to the cage where they will face off in Fairfax, Va.
The unbeaten MacDonald is a 20-year-old phenom from Kelowna, B.C., who got his parents to sign off on his mixed martial arts pro debut when he was just 16. Guymon is a 35-year-old veteran from California who has made it to the sport's premier promotion after a near suicide last summer when he found himself surrounded by police, willing them to shoot.
Sean Sherk avoiding Gray Maynard?
FiveOuncesofPain.com recently had the chance to catch up with Head Jiu-Jitsu Instructor over at Xtreme Couture, Neil Melanson, to gather his thoughts on the Xtreme Couture trained Gray Maynard’s UFC Fight Night showdown with Nate Diaz scheduled for January 11, and while we were able to gather quite a bit of insight into the Bully’s keys to victory in the upcoming rematch, 5 Oz. also learned of one UFC lightweight’s reported reluctancy to face a particular foe with an extremely similar style.
According to Melanson, Maynard has had an itch to throw down with former UFC lightweight title holder Sean Sherk for some time now, but as the saying goes: It takes two to tango.
“I know Gray has been wanting to fight Sean Sherk, and I know they tried to make that fight happen, but according to Gray’s people, they said that Sherk turned it down numerous times,” said Melanson during a recent conversation with FiveOuncesofPain. “I could see why, just because it’s not really a good fight for Sherk; going against another stud wrestler that can box.”
Marcus Davis vs. Jonathan Goulet Expected for UFC 113
A welterweight bout between Jonathan Goulet and Marcus Davis is in the works for UFC 113 in Montreal, QC, Canada. MMA Fighting has learned that bout agreements have not been signed, but both camps have verbally agreed to the fight.
Goulet, who hails from Victoriaville, QC, which is located outside of Montreal, hasn't competed since December 2008 when he lost via 33-second knockout to Mike Swick. He was scheduled to face Dong Hyun Kim at UFC 100 in July, but a dislocated shoulder suffered in training forced him out of the bout.
Brad Blackburn believes it's his time to shine
One of the UFC’s best kept secrets, Brad Blackburn, is making his return Monday night at UFC Fight Night 20 in Fairfax, Va.
Blackburn was last seen in action in a winning effort over fellow welterweight Edgar Garcia last June, where in his third appearance for the UFC he suffered what would be a debilitating injury that put a damper on the remainder of 2009.
Lightweight Kurt Pellegrino in for UFC 111
UFC lightweight contender and New Jersey native Kurt Pellegrino (14-4 MMA, 6-3 UFC) will fight in hid home state for the first time in more than four years.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned from sources close to the promotion that Pellegrino has committed to fight at UFC 111 at the Prudential Center in March.
An opponent for Pellegrino has yet to be determined.
The bout will be the 30-year-old's first since an August win over Josh Neer. Pellegrino was expected to face Frankie Edgar at The Ultimate Fighter 10 Finale in December, but herniated discs forced "Batman" off of the card.
Clay Guida & Sean Sherk Agree To UFN 21 Fight
The first UFC event on Versus-UFC FIght Night 21 in Match, continues to take shape, and a big fight is in the works between Clay Guida & Sean Sherk. Verbal agreements in place, paperwork pending. The fight may also be contingent on Guida being cleared to return early from a 180-day medical suspension following UFC 107.
Liddell Lands Role In Major Motion Picture
Former Ultimate Fighting Championship light heavyweight titleholder Chuck “The Iceman” Liddell has recently been on location in Santa Fe, New Mexico filming the feature film “Passion Play” starring 2009 Golden Globe award winner Mickey Rourke and actress Megan Fox.The 40-year-old mixed martial artist went through several auditions beating out other actors to get the role.
Nate Quarry vs. Jorge Rivera in the works for UFC Fight Night 22
A potential middleweight slugfest between veterans Nate Quarry (12-3 MMA, 7-2 UFC) and Jorge Rivera (17-7 MMA, 6-5 UFC) is in the works for the as-yet-unannounced UFC Fight Night 22 in March.MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) has learned that the organization is targeting the matchup for the March 31 event, and at least one fighter has verbally agreed to the contest.
Tavares: “I’m not thinking about the belt”
Recovered from injuries, Thiago Tavares will be back to the most famous octagon of the world on this Monday, and he’s prepared to one more challenge. Before the fight with Nik Lentz, the black belt talked to TATAME about the fight. “I was born ready”, Thiago guarantee. “I’m well prepared to hit him standing up.
UFC Quick Quote: Efrain Escudero just needs to keep winning
Evan and I haven't been hyping the fight like that -- we're not saying anything bad about each other. We don't even know each other but we're just looking forward to competing. In the Ultimate Fighter house I hated two guys when I fought them. I hated Junie Browning and I hated Shane Nelson when I fought them. Cole Miller is a very respectful guy, we talked before and after, and I think Evan Dunham is a very respectful guy too.
Hermes Franca Retires
Former UFC & WEC veteran Hermes Franca has called it a career. He retired following a TKO loss to Eric Wisely last night in Iowa, his 4th loss in his last 5 fights. His career peaked with a UFC Lightweight Title shot at UFC 77, but he lost then was suspended 1 year for a failed steroids test. He plans to rest then focus on training students at his gym in Syracuse, NY.