UFC 88 AWARDS: FIGHTER BONUSES NET $60,000
Rashad Evans took the heat in “Hot-lanta” to a whole new level on Saturday night as the Ultimate Fighting Championship descended on Atlanta. He spent the first round being stalked by former UFC champion Chuck Liddell, but didn’t wait long to score the “Knockout of the Night” in round two
Exclusive Interview: Chuck Liddell
Chuck Liddell isn’t the easiest man to get on the phone. But our buddy Ben Zeidler pinned him down yesterday for a wide-ranging discussion on his impending title shot, Dana White’s trustworthiness, money, and tonight’s UFC 88 fight against Rashad Evans. (Quick prediction: “I’m gonna knock him out.”) So without further ado…
CAGEPOTATO: What’s the plan for Rashad Evans?
CHUCK LIDDELL: I’m gonna punch him until he falls down and then I’m gonna punch him a few more times until they stop me. Can’t give you more of a gameplan than that. Simple.
Can you handle Rashad’s wrestling? You wrestled at San Luis Obispo, but Evans is one of the top wrestlers in the sport.
I mean, that’s definitely one of his strengths and you have to worry about it, but you know, I was a Division I wrestler myself so I can handle him.
What do you see happening if the fight goes to the ground? Will you stay there or try to stand back up?
I’ll try to stand back up. The plan is to get back to the feet and make him work to keep me down. No matter where the fight is, he’ll have to work.
What from your strategy will you bring in from the Wanderlei fight and what will you leave out?
I’ll probably use just about everything.
Werdum still wants the heavyweight belt
Randy Couture’s back to UFC may have pushed a Brazilian fighter back in the title line. Pointed as the next contender with a new victory at UFC 90, against Junior Cigano, Fabrício Werdum maybe was forgotten by the Dana White, Ultimate president, that put Randy Couture to face Brock Lesnar, who only has one fight in the octagon, and the winner will face the winner of Nogueira-Mir bout. “Ultimate thinks about business, and Lesnar is more famous in United States. I don’t know how they’ll do it, because my new contract guarantees a title shot with a victory against Cigano”, said Werdum to TATAME.com.
Brock Lesnar and the road to Randy Couture
Quite frankly, it had gotten to the point where it didn’t seem as if there was any chance Randy “The Natural” Couture would ever fight in the UFC again. After all, he wanted a match with Fedor Emelianenko— who currently fights for Affliction— and had said some rather unsettling things about the UFC upon initiating his recent hiatus from the fight game. But then came the announcement that we were all waiting for—Randy Couture would be fighting again.
But it wouldn’t be against the guy we all thought it would be against. Forget Fedor for now; apparently those recent rumblings were true. That’s right, we’re talking about Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Couture at UFC 91 on November 15th.
“We aired out a lot of our differences, resolved a lot of things,” said Randy Couture on ESPN’s SportsCenter regarding his problems with the UFC.
Rousimar Palhares: “Henderson can say whatever he wants; the fight will be decided in the Octagon”
While Rousimar Palhares has yet to gain much traction with casual UFC fans, his outstanding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu credentials have caught the eyes of many hardcore fans. When it comes to Palhares and his recent entry in the UFC, there is a certain buzz going around as it pertains to him.
Palhares made his UFC debut at UFC 84 this past May thanks in large part to his impressive 3-0 record while competing for Brazil’s Fury Fighting Championships. Facing veteran Ivan Salaverry in his Octagon debut, Palhares did not disappoint after he notched a first round armbar submission.
While the fight with Salaverry was not featured during the live portion of the PPV broadcast, the performance was still strong enough to spark some fans to suggest that Palhares could be an eventual challenger for current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. Based on the UFC’s decision to match Palhares against former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson in just his second UFC match during tonight’s UFC 88 event, it’s safe to say that the promotion things highly of him as well.
Few pegged Rashad Evans’ main-event status
ATLANTA – On Rich Franklin's first day as a coach on Season 2 of "The Ultimate Fighter," he looked at Rashad Evans and immediately had a candidate to name the weakest link.
But a couple of days later, Franklin saw something during a workout from the one-time Michigan State University wrestler that convinced him that Evans was better than his first impression.
And so, when the former UFC middleweight champion and fellow coach Matt Hughes were divvying up the teams, Franklin tabbed Evans, causing Hughes to shoot him a sideways glance in surprise, for Hughes had also viewed Evans skeptically.
Three years later, Evans (11-0-1) has made Franklin look good as a talent evaluator. He's one of the few main-event fighters on the UFC roster with no losses and will meet Chuck Liddell (21-5) on Saturday at Philips Arena in a key light heavyweight bout at UFC 88.
Lyoto Machida's camp prepared to defer UFC title opportunity
With Friday's unfortunate revelation that UFC light-heavyweight Thiago Silva (13-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) would be forced to withdraw from a UFC 89 clash with fellow-undefeated-contender Lyoto Machida (13-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC), Machida's camp has been forced to re-evaluate its current position in the UFC's light-heavyweight division.
Machida'a manager Ed Soares recently spoke with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) about the camp's immediate reaction to the news.
"I guess [Silva] hurt his back pretty bad a few weeks ago, and he's been trying to work through it," Soares explained. "And then [Thursday], something during practice -- supposedly today he's not even able to walk. It's horrible. We were really looking forward to that fight. But hopefully he's able to heal up and be OK soon."
Soares said Machida was disappointed to lose the opportunity to face Silva.
UFC Quick Quote: Rousimar Palhares over Dan Henderson via heel hook
“I’m not as Las Vegas, but I put some money on him, there are people there to bet for me. MMA is an unpredictable sport, but I can say that Palhares’ game is perfect to fight Dan Henderson, and I believe Henderson’s only chance is to find a punch in the beginning. I truly believe this fight will be over with a heel hook first round submission.”
– Mario Sperry — the man responsible for bringing Rousimar Palhares into the Brazilian Top Team fold — tells Tatame.com that his fighter will win tonight over Dan Henderson at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” via heel hook. Henderson has seven career losses, three of which are by way of submission.
Forrest Griffin pulling for Chuck Liddell at UFC 88
ATLANTA - With a potential title shot on the line in tonight's UFC 88 main-event fight with Rashad Evans, Chuck Liddell could be just one win away from a shot at Forrest Griffin's light-heavyweight title.
UFC President Dana White recently mentioned the possibility of that scenario, and on Friday, the former champion got some additional support.
As mentioned in today's edition of the Dayton Daily News, it came from the current title-holder.
During a Q&A segment with the UFC's fan club (and hosted by UFC broadcast Mike Golberg), Griffin was at first hesitant to predict a winner in tonight's Liddell-Evans main event, which takes place at Atlanta's Philips Arena. But, after a little prodding and some critical thinking, Griffin picked a winner.
However, he was admittedly self-serving with his prediction.
UFC 88 Projected Big Pay-Per-View Numbers
MMA Payout is projecting big numbers for UFC 88 -- 590,000 ppv orders -- based on the number of viewers for the UFC Countdown program earlier this week -- 701,000.
That is the second highest rated Countdown special of the year, trailing only Countdown to UFC 83, which drew 782,000 viewers. This was only the second countdown special all year to break the 700,000 level and suggests a strong PPV performance for this card.
Zach Arnold comments:
590,000 PPV buys for this weekend’s show? If that is the case for a show that has received little or no media coverage, then UFC is truly unstoppable and everyone else in the business should get out now and cut their losses.
MMA Payout's Robert Joyner hedges his bets a bit at Fight Opinion:
The predictor thing is a work in progress to be sure, Zach. We went back and did the data for the past year and a half and it gave us between 8 and 10% margin of error. Not the best but it was scarily accurate at times. My gut tells me it will be closer to the 475k (500 maybe) figure mentioned in my UFC 88 preview. tbh, I was surprised at the strong number the Countdown show did.
I've commented previously on the lack of buzz for this show so it will be a very good sign indeed for UFC's upcoming big money run of events starting with UFC 91.
Our own Mike Rome comments:
The online hype is all Randy Couture, but Chuck Liddell is still a huge mainstream draw, as evidenced by the countdown rating. Rashad has also surprised headlining before.
Chuck was on sportscenter today too, I think this one will do 500-550, which is still a great number. 590 seems very high.
Liddell Wants Two Titles Before Retirement
Chuck Liddell thinks it would be possible for him to hold both the light-heavyweight and heavyweight titles in the UFC.
He has set his sights on getting the light-heavyweight belt back, assuming he beats Rashad Evans this weekend, but is also eyeing the strap currently held by Randy Couture.
Regarding the light-heavyweight belt, he told MMA Mania: "I think I'm due a crack at that title, sure. I'm going to argue for it after I win but we'll see what happens.''
And if Couture is still heavyweight boss at that point, “I wouldn't mind coming up and getting the heavyweight title too,'' he added.
Couture and Liddell have fought three times before, with Liddell being the winner on two occasions, both times by knockout.
Earlier this week, the UFC announced that its errant heavyweight champion had returned to the fold after a prolonged absence.
Palhares’ coaches betting on his victory
Tomorrow UFC will view the most important fight in Rousimar Palhares’ MMA career, and his coaches bet on his victory against Dan Henderson. One of the most Brazilian Boxing coaches, Cláudio Coelho trained some of the best fighters of the world, as Murilo Bustamante, Rodrigo Nogueira, Royce and Ryan Gracie, Marco Ruas and many others, and helped Rousimar on his stand up game. “He’s really aggressive on the ground, and Murilo (Bustamante) put him to do Boxing to catch some skills, and we’re doing a special job to prepare him for this fight”, said Cláudio, that guarantees Palhares’ has an underrated stand up game.
“He’s very explosive and has a great punch that can end with a fight”, said, betting his tips on a victory. “After knowing him like I know, I can say that I think he’ll win by submission”, said Coelho. After Paulo Filho, WEC middleweight champion, said TATAME that he could bet his own house on Palhares’ victory, Zé Mário Sperry, the man that took Palhares out of Rio de Janeiro streets and put him to train at BTT, actually bet on his victory at UFC 88.
“I’m not as Las Vegas, but I put some money on him, there are people there to bet for me”, said Sperry, that is waiting for the vitory. “MMA is an unpredictable sport, but I can say that Palhares’ game is perfect to fight Dan Henderson, and I believe Henderson’s only chance is to find a punch in the beginning”, said Sperry, that thinks this fight will be fast. “I truly believe this fight will be over with a heel hook first round submission”, finished Sperry.
Martin Kampmann "at 100 percent" for UFC 88 bout with Nate Marquardt
UFC middleweight contender Martin Kampmann (13-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has been in this position before.
In June of 2007, Kampmann was slated to face former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin with a shot at current champion Anderson Silva on the line. A devastating knee injury suffered in training forced Kampmann out of the bout.
A little more than a year later Kampmann stands again on the verge of a title shot. And as "The Hitman" told TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmmajunkie.com), this time he's ready.
"I feel good," Kampmann said. "It was a long way to get back in training because the knee injury was very complicated. It took a long time, but now I've been back training 100 percent. I'm ready to go 100 percent."
Kampmann actually suffered multiple traumas to his knee. The process required two surgeries and a tissue transplant.
Possible Rampage vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91?
According to FightTicker the two have been offered a spot against each other on the November card that will feature Couture/Lesnar.
MMARated.com is reporting that a light heavyweight bout between Rampage Jackson and Wanderlei Silva has been offered to both fighters for UFC 91.The show will be held on November 15th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas,NV.
The show's main event between the returning Randy Couture against Brock Lesnar has had the MMA world abuzz this week and the addition of this fight could only help draw even more PPV buys to what may already be a record number when all is said and done. The card will also feature a lightweight bout between Kenny Florian and Joe Stevenson and a possible matchup between TUF season 7 winner Amir Sadollah and Nick Catone is also being rumored.
Silva has two previous victories against Rampage in the now defunct Pride organization.
It will be interesting to see which Rampage shows up. Will it be the man who rose to glory to defeat Chuck Liddell or will it be the disturbed man we have seen lately? I personally hope that Jackson can work through all of his troubles and give us a performance that could lead to "Fight of the Night" honors.
This could make for a great start to a huge card. It'd be really interesting to see if Rampage can really be in the right mental state to take a fight with Silva by November, given all of his problems of late. But if it goes, that'd be two huge fights to look forward to.
Pros Pick: Liddell vs. Evans
This Saturday down in sultry Atlanta, the UFC is delivering one heck of a fight card.
However, one fight in particular has the MMA world abuzz: Chuck Liddell (Pictures) versus Rashad Evans (Pictures). Looking at the fight a bit closer, the keys to victory for each combatant seem quite simple: Will it be Liddell’s superb sprawl and debilitating striking power or Evans’ athleticism and speed that reign supreme?
Sherdog.com turned to the pros for their opinions:
Teacher vs. student as Franklin faces Hamill
At a time when most fighters are trying to cut as much weight as possible to get a size advantage, Rich “Ace” Franklin is swimming against the tide.
The former UFC middleweight champion moves up 20 pounds, to light heavyweight, for Saturday night’s UFC 88 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta.
And that’s only part of the unique situation. His first opponent is a guy Franklin was instrumental in getting into MMA in the first place, former training partner Matt “The Hammer” Hamill.
Ortiz Sheds Light On Ibarra-Rampage Breakup!
Ortiz Sheds Light On Ibarra-Rampage Breakup!
In an , Ortiz had the following to say about 'Rampage' Jackson's firing of trainer Juanito Ibarra:
"Let me explain this to you because it really pisses me off that Ibarra has done what he has done, he is a thief. I have been running training camps for seven years up in Big Bear California and the most that my camp has cost a fighter to attend is $35,000. Ibarra was charging Jackson $65,000 to go to Big Bear. I don't understand that!! He was being very disrespectful and taking advantage of ‘Rampage’. Including travel, training partners, food and lodging, the most ever was $35,000, maybe if you flew in more trainers...$40K. Where did that extra money go that Ibarra was charging? ‘Rampage’ is really pissed and he feels betrayed that he was taken advantage of and I couldn't agree more with him. I don't care if Juanito reads this or hears about it anywhere, he already knows that he is blackballed. I don't care who you are; fighters work very hard for the money they earn and I feel slighted for even knowing Juanito."
Remember that White Chocolate Management (Who also represents Jackson) filed a $10 Million Lawsuit against Ibarra and Jackson for alleged breach of contract by two. Jackson has now all but been removed from the lawsuit since he fired Ibarra.
Matt Brown versus Dong Hyun Kim moved to UFC 88 main card
After a last-moment injury forced a bout between Karo Parisyan and Yoshiyuki Yoshida to be canceled, the UFC has elected to move a welterweight contest between "The Ultimate Fighter 7" cast member Matt Brown (7-6 MMA, 1-0 UFC) and Dong Hyun Kim (10-0-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC) to UFC 88's televised main card.
Joe Rogan, who emceed this afternoon's official weigh-in for tomorrow night's "UFC 88: Breakthrough," mentioned the change during the weigh-ins. The UFC's official website has also notated the switch.
Brown, an Ohio-based fighter who trains in Cincinnati (with Team Jorge Gurgel) and Columbus, was one of the surprises of "TUF: Team Rampage vs. Team Forrest." Brown defeated Josh Hall via TKO in an elimination-round bout, and he followed up that performance with a first-round knockout of Jeremy May in a preliminary-round fight. However, eventual show winner Amir Sadollah defeated him in the quarterfinals in one of the season's better fights.
UFC 88 weigh in results and photos
According to MMAWeekly.com sources, the bout between Korean fighter Dong Hyun Kim and Ultimate Fighter alumnus Matt Brown will be moved from the preliminary fight card up to the main card on pay-per-view.
(All weights in pounds.)
Main Card Bouts:
-Chuck Liddell (204) vs. Rashad Evans (205)
-Rich Franklin (204.5) vs. Matt Hamill (205)
-Dan Henderson (185) vs. Rousimar Palhares (184.5)
-Nate Marquardt (185) vs. Martin Kampmann (184.5)
-Kurt Pellegrino (156) vs. Thiago Tavares (155)
-Mike Patt (205.25) vs. Tim Boetsch (205.25)
-Dong Hyun Kim (170) vs. Matt Brown (170)
-Jason Lambert (185) vs. Jason MacDonald (185)
-Roan Carneiro (170) vs. Ryo Chonan (170)
Liddells Top 8 Moments
Zuffa brings its beloved big top to Atlanta on Saturday night for UFC 88. As good hosts, Dana White and Co. are putting their best foot forward in Georgia with an end-to-end burner of a fight card, suitably topped off with MMA's foremost rockstar, Chuck Liddell (Pictures).
In a main event some five months in the making, Liddell, now with full hamstring capabilities, meets the undefeated Rashad Evans (Pictures). For the 38-year-old Liddell, the fight is a must-win to secure a December mega-fight with UFC light heavyweight champion Forrest Griffin (Pictures) and to have one last crack at solidifying his resume as the sport's greatest light heavyweight.
On the cusp of boom-or-bust for MMA's favorite San Luis Obispan, here are eight of the finest episodes from "The Iceman." And in the interest of class, only one reference to “Good Morning Texas.”
Please no liddell haters right now