Alves-Sanchez Fight Off
The Thiago Alves vs. Diego Sanchez match earmarked for 10/18 in Birmingham, England is now off. The Thiago Silva vs. Ryoto (Lyoto) Machida match announced yesterday was to take its place.
Horn vs. Gouveia at UFN 15
Jeremy Horn vs. Wilson Gouveia has been booked for UFN 15. The only question is at which weight class: Horn usually fights at middleweight, Gouveia at light heavyweight. That should be decided fairly soon.
Dana White Did Not Help Affliction
There's a narrative going around that by booking a free show opposite Affliction's debut, Dana White did Affliction some kind of favor. The people making the argument say that the UFC opposition created more interest in the weekend than there would have been otherwise. I don't buy this at all.
If Affliction was running unopposed this weekend, their ads might actually reach and have some effect on the millions of fans who watch UFC. Instead, those fans have been saturated with ads for Anderson Silva and a free show, and I haven't spoken to one casual fan even considering buying Affliction over the UFC show. Whereas these fans may have considered buying a fight on Saturday night just because they like fights, they now have a free option, and the idea of buying Affliction and weighing cards against each other isn't even a consideration.
Second, the narrative of competition is not a good one for Affliction. If they were running unopposed, all the hype would be on seeing Fedor fight again. Instead, three days out, the narrative is about the competition, and it's a contest Affliction can't win. People have pointed to the story on ESPN weighing the Affliction and UFC cards as proof that this has been a good thing for Affliction. Realistically, it probably did nothing to hurt or help, but certainly helped less than a major ESPN article on Fedor Emelianenko would have.
Report: UFC to Buy the IFL
So says Adam Swift:
A Senior Producer at HDNet's Inside MMA tells MMAPayout.com that the IFL will be bought by the UFC.
MMAPayout.com has confirmed talks between the IFL and UFC. More details as they become available.
They've already signed a ton of their talent, so this would be a very smart move to keep EliteXC and Affliction from building their divisions. I doubt the UFC will keep everyone, but this allows them to get first dibs on who they want to keep and give the leftovers to the competitors.
Say what you want about the IFL, but they had a lot of very talented competitors on their rosters. And I'm guessing the asking price at this point is pretty low. Well done, Dana.
UFC Counter-Programs Affliction to Death
What a FANTASTIC day for US MMA fans!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Check out SpikeTV's schedule for July 19th:
4:00 PM EST / 1:00 PM PST
Martin Kampmann vs. Drew McFedries (UFC 68)
Marcus Davis vs. Jason Tan (UFC 72)
Rich Franklin vs. Jason McDonald (UFC 68)
Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter (UFC 67)
5:00 PM EST / 2:00 PM PST
Jason Lambert vs. Renato "Babalu" Sobral (UFC 68)
Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine (UFC 71)
Brandon Vera vs. Justin Eilers (UFC 57)
Assuerio Silva vs. Frank Mir (???)
6:00 PM EST / 3:00 PM PST
Frank Edgar vs. Tyson Griffin (UFC 67)
Dave Terrell vs. Matt Lindland (UFC 49)
Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Alves (UFN 2)
7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
UFC Countdown: Silva vs. Irvin
8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST
UFC: Ultimate Knockouts 5
9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST
UFC: Silva vs. Irvin
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin
Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy
Hermes Franca vs. Frank Edgar
Cain Velasquez vs. Jake O'Brien
Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns
Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dollaway
Rampage Hospitalized by Police 24 Hours Later
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been picked up by police again.
Sources say last night an Irvine police car was waved down by people near the place Rampage was staying who said he was acting weird. This, of course, following the insane chase the day before in which the UFC fighter hit several cars in his monster truck and was arrested at gunpoint.
We're told Irvine cops saw Rampage, deemed him a danger to himself and others, and took him to a hospital for observation.
Cops won't officially confirm if it's a psychiatric hold.
UFC ‘Countdown’ to ‘Silva vs. Irvin’ on Spike tonight at 11 p.m. ET
“Watch Anderson Silva and James Irvin as they train in their home towns for their clash at The Pearl in Las Vegas on July 19 2008.”
The hype machine continues to roll tonight for UFC Fight Night 14: “Silva vs. Irvin” from “The Pearl” at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Saturday, July 19. The hour-long Spike TV “Countdown” special will re-air on Friday, July 18 at 11 a.m. 7 p.m. ET for those who miss it tonight.
Quinton Jackon Arrest Video
Very sad day for Quinton Fans. He was a champion, he lost and could not handle it. Here is the arrest video shown out of respect. Please Quinton, come back and take the title. We are all behind you!
Cain Velasquez savors big-fight opportunity
The former Pac-10 All-American wrestler launched his MMA career with decisive victories in Strikeforce and BodogFIGHT in a span of just over two months in 2006. Showing signs that the transition from wrestler to fighter was quickly taking hold, the Salinas, Calif. born Velasquez stopped both opponents by TKO within the first five minutes.
Velasquez, now 25, spent the next year looking for another chance to prove he belonged in the UFC.
"We were trying to get some fights locally to build my record, get some ring time and get to the UFC," he said. "We couldn't find any fights. We just had bad luck. ... Shows would get canceled; guys would back out of fights. We had about six or seven fights that didn't happen that we were getting ready for."
Undaunted, Velasquez continued to plug away in the gym. The education major graduated as a two-time wrestling All-American from Arizona State and relocated to San Jose in August 2006 to train with American Kickboxing Academy. Lacking additional fights to showcase Velasquez's talent, AKA's Bob Cook used his connections to take the heavyweight directly to the UFC's decision maker.
"Me and 'Crazy' Bob went to Vegas and took a couple of other guys and trained in front of Dana White," Velasquez said. "I'm not going to lie to you; I felt a lot of pressure to perform, but once I was there, I felt really good and training went well."
The grappling-and-sparring "audition" late last year at the UFC training center with Christian Wellisch and Mike Kyle impressed White enough that he signed Velasquez to a four-bout contract, and Velasquez finally had another fight. He looked sharp in his UFC debut, with a first-round TKO of Australia's Brad Morris at UFC 83 in April.
For an encore, Velasquez (3-0) has landed on Saturday's UFC Fight Night 14 card on Spike TV in a supporting role to the Anderson Silva-James Irvin headliner. He's set to face another wrestling-bred fighter in Jake O'Brien (10-2 MMA, 4-1 UFC), who's getting a second shot in the UFC after being cut earlier this year.
"This is a great opportunity," Velasquez said. "It's another step up the ladder and getting me closer to achieving my goals. I think I'm a lot more comfortable with my hands, and if I can stop his shots, I'll return with some hands and kicks."
Even though Velasquez's only previous exposure to boxing was hitting the heavy bag as a kid with his father by his side, learning the standup game has come naturally. Velasquez feels at home on his feet and initiating exchanges with opponents. However, while that adjustment has "come pretty easily" for Velasquez, learning the ins and outs of jiu-jitsu hasn't been quite as smooth. At this point, he's only two years into fulltime MMA training and isn't in a hurry to rush through learning the finer points of the sport's multiple disciplines.
In addition to the time spent on grappling, sparring and technique, Velasquez has been focused on becoming a more powerful fighter through specialized work with Joe Grasso, who runs the Elite Fitness gym in San Jose.
"I think my power (in striking) has improved a lot," Velasquez said. "Once I started with Joe, I felt like my power increased tremendously in a short period of time. We're doing a lot of explosive stuff to get my power up in both my punches and kicks."
While Velasquez once considered coaching wrestling as a career option, with his immediate future now mapped out in the UFC, he's committed himself to being a fighter, and he's planning for championship-level success. With only three pro fights to his name, he already has a publicist scheduling his interviews with the media.
C.B. Dollaway in another must-win situation
"The Doberman," favored by many to win the seventh season "The Ultimate Fighter," instead went out with a whimper, suffering back-to-back losses to the unheralded Amir Sadollah. Due to the rules used in the filming of the reality show, only one of the losses was an official fight for Dollaway. That technicality doesn't make this weekend any less important.
"It was pretty disappointing," Dollaway told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of his feelings of the finale loss. "That was one of the toughest training camps I've ever had. I worked my butt off, and then to have it end so quickly, it was real disappointing."
After that first-round loss in the finale to Sadollah via arm bar, the same technique used to finish Dollaway in the season's semifinals, the 24-year-old is excited to return to the octagon in the main card of this weekend's UFC Fight Night 14 for a shot at redemption.
"It's great to get back in," Dollaway said. "I didn't really have to do a whole training camp over again to compete, to get back in there again."
Dollaway's opponent, Jesse Taylor, also returns to the octagon under somewhat shaky conditions. Despite qualifying for the season's finale, Taylor was removed from the show after an alcohol-induced night of destructive antics.
Dollaway said he supports the decision to bring Taylor back to the UFC, and he feels the bout provided a favorable match-up.
"It didn't really bother me, [Taylor] coming back," said Dollaway, who blogged about "TUF" experience for MMAjunkie.com . "It's a good match-up for me. I think that my strengths are better than his, where he's strongest -- in wrestling."
After the consecutive submission losses, many questioned Dollaway's defensive capabilities on the ground. The Arizona Combat Sports-trained fighter believes the issues in question have been resolved.
"It's something that needed to be fixed," Dollaway said of the issue. "It's one of those things when mixing punches in with jiu-jitsu, sometimes you leave yourself vulnerable. When I'm just doing straight jiu-jitsu, I don't ever have a problem with it. When I am throwing punches, I tend to leave myself vulnerable sometimes. It's just something I had to work on."
Dollaway will be looking to avoid his third-straight loss in the UFC, a mark that would almost certainly spell his release from the organization in which he was once expected to figure so prominently. But Dollaway insists the pressure on him is no different than any other fight.
"I don't go in there to lose," Dollaway said. "So every fight is a must-win situation. ... (I plan on) going out there and going after it, and trying to make for an exciting fight."
Chris Lytle inks UFC contract extension, UFC 89 bout with Paul Taylor
"The Ultimate Fighter 4" runner-up and longtime UFC fighter Chris Lytle (25-16-5 MMA, 4-8 UFC) has signed a four-fight contract extension with the UFC and has also signed to fight Paul Taylor (9-3-1 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC 89.
His manager, Ken Pavia, confirmed the deals with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) on Tuesday.
UFC 89 takes place Oct. 18 at The NIA in Birmingham, England.
"The UFC expressed satisfaction with his past performances, and they extended his deal by four fights," Pavia said. "Chris has a home in the UFC. He's comfortable fighting for the UFC. Both sides will benefit from the deal. We're very happy with it."
Lytle, a nine-year veteran who made his octagon debut in 2000, most recently suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Josh Koscheck earlier this month at UFC 86.
However, after a spirited loss to Thiago Alves in November, Lytle essentially promised to throw caution to the wind. He said calculated game plans made for boring fights, and his two bouts since then -- a February knockout victory over Kyle Bradley and the loss to Koscheck -- have shown streaks of that carefree attitude.
"He appreciate the types of match-ups [UFC officials] have given him," Pavia said. "Chris has re-devoted himself to being exciting, and the UFC has provided him opponents who let him do that. ... Chris' sole goal is to entertain fans."
His next opportunity will come against Taylor, a British fighter who's competed in four consecutive UFC U.K. events. After opening his UFC career with a TKO of Edilberto de Oliveira, Taylor suffered back-to-back losses to Marcus Davis and Paul Kelly.
Knowing the fight was a must-win, he then scored a split-decision victory over Jess Liaudin in June at UFC 85.
'The Fire' Inside Kevin Burns
It made perfect sense. With only six professional bouts under his belt, Kevin Burns was a massive underdog going into his UFC 85 fight against emerging contender Roan Carneiro. Instead of getting tapped by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu maestro, however, Burns wound up submitting him via triangle choke midway through the second round.
A phantom welterweight from Iowa had tapped out a submission guru. Suddenly fans were introduced to "The Fire."
John Hackleman: "I'm not going to quit if Chuck doesn't win!"
was pretty stupid actually to say that. It takes away any kind of credibility. It's like a little kid, 'No, I didn't say you could have that.' Yeah, it was pretty lame and then he says he didn't mean he was going to retire from MMA, he meant from being a longshore man… I just don't think it was very Christian and it was kind of tacky," stated Pit Boss John Hackleman as he shared his thoughts on Juanito Ibarra's claim that he would retire if Rampage lost to Forrest Griffin
UPDATED Police: "Rampage" goes on one
Driver hits at least three cars during chase that begins on 55 freeway and ends with arrest on Balboa Peninsula.
Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, former light heavyweight champion of the Ultimate Fighter Championships, was arrested on suspicion of felony evading, hit-and-run and reckless driving Tuesday after he allegedly led police on a pursuit from Costa Mesa to Newport Beach, police said.