Pros Picks: Couture vs. Lesnar
One of mixed martial arts’ most beloved and important figures will make his eagerly awaited return to the Octagon this Saturday at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Poised to defend his heavyweight title against behemoth Brock Lesnar at UFC 91, Randy Couture will face arguably his most daunting task when he climbs into battle for the 25th time.
Sherdog.com spoke with dozens of experts, from fighters to trainers to analysts, and got their opinions on the Couture/Lesnar showdown.
Brock Lesnar is opportunistic
“I don’t think I deserve anything. I was asked if I wanted a title shot against Randy Couture and I accepted it. I don’t think that I deserve anything…. This is an opportunity and I’m going to seize the moment and try and take that title away tomorrow night…. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I understand that. If there was any other heavyweight in the division that was asked for this opportunity they probably would have also not turned the opportunity down.”
– Brock Lesnar tells ESPNs “First Take” this morning that he is merely taking advantage of an opportunity that was presented to him to challenge Randy Couture for his heavyweight title. With just three professional mixed martial arts bouts to his credit, including an average record inside the Octagon (1-1), several people questioned the decision to grant him a world title shot so soon in his career. But this is a business and UFC President Dana White and all the others at Zuffa know that, deserving or not, Lesnar is going to put butts in seats at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on November 15. It’s good to see Lesnar is under no illusions and that he is shooting straight from the hip. Who can blame him …he makes a valid point.
UFC 91 Weigh-In Results
The UFC 91 weigh-ins have just been completed. Everyone made weight, with Brock Lesnar weighing in at 265 compared to Randy Couture's 220 for the main event, which is now official.
Lightweight Matt Grice To Return To UFC In Early-2009
Lightweight Matt Grice will return to the UFC in early-2009, according to MMA Junkie.
Grice has not fought since defeating Jason Black via split decision in the “Fight of the Night” at UFC 77 in October 2007. After the win, Grice attended a local police academy and recently graduated from the program allowing him to return to the UFC.
Before stepping back into the octagon, however, Grice will reportedly participate in a tune-up bout before returning to MMA’s biggest stage early next year.
Grice, a four-time high school wrestling champion in Oklahoma and collegiate wrestler at the University of Oklahoma, was defeated by Terry Etim in his UFC debut via first-roud guillotine choke but rebounded to top Black and even his UFC record at 1-1.
‘McLovin’ it: Dustin Hazelett UFC 91 interview
Dustin “McLovin” Hazelett (11-4) has been steadily climbing the ranks in the UFC since his Octagon debut back in October 2006.
The newly awarded Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Jorge Gurgel has gone 4-2 for the promotion and looked impressive in his wins over Jonathan Goulet (22-9) and Josh Burkman (18-8), and even in his loss to Josh Koscheck (11-3), where the submission master showed significantly improved standup skills.
But it was his most recent win over Burkman that earned him the most attention. As the first man to actually finish Burkman since Jon Fitch did it way back at Ultimate Fight Night 4 in April 2006, Hazelett took home both the “Submission of the Night” and “Fight of the Night” honors, along with $40,000 in bonus bucks.
At just 22 years old, Hazelett is looking to make another splash this Saturday at UFC 91: “Couture vs. Lesnar,” where he’ll take on Tamdan “The Barn Cat” McCrory (9-1), who is also 22 years old.
Big Fights, Big Plans
"Ticket sales have been great. Listen, right now, I don’t care how big you are or you small you are, everybody’s feeling this economic crunch. Major corporations that have been around before we were alive are hurting right now and in fear of going out of business. Our business is in a really good place right now. We did great on ticket sales, I’m predicting right now, even with this economic crunch, the biggest pay-per-view in UFC history."
Such was the opening salvo of the president of one of the fastest growing sports entities in the world, Dana White, the head of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Dana White: UFC 91's Florian vs. Stevenson winner gets title shot
LAS VEGAS -- Although largely expected, Kenny Florian was surely happy to learn that his UFC 91 co-main event fight with Joe Stevenson will earn the winner a guaranteed title shot. For real this time.
UFC President Dana White promised the winner a shot at B.J. Penn's lightweight belt during today's UFC 91 press conference in the main lobby of the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Kinda quick for Joe if you ask me.
Fighting Father Time
America’s athletic battlefields are littered with good-intentioned men who stuck around too long in their chosen sport, their eroding physical skills rendering them incapable of recapturing the glory of day’s gone by. Remember Michael Jordan in a Washington Wizards uniform? Muhammad Ali and Evander Holyfield also spring to mind.
Though his legacy and place in the mixed martial arts pantheon are secure, Randy Couture does not want his name added to the list.
Sherdog.com's Guide to TUF 8
“Why is this happening?”
Not sure exactly who said it, but this week one of the contestants finally vocalized what all of America is thinking about this season of TUF. I’ll get to what brought us to this point in just a minute. Last week Dave Kaplan took the wrong approach and got dismantled by Phillipe Nover. This week it was time for the light heavyweight bracket to be set as Kyle Kingsbury and Krzysztof Soszynski were the last two to fight.
“You’d be surprised at how many people and who I’ve made tap on my table,” said the doctor as he worked on Soszynski’s injured hand.
Kaplan and Tom Lawlor decided to get some drinking in for the ubiquitous post-loss celebration. Kaplan and his freshly blackened eye took down shot after shot until shot until statements like, “UFC, keep having me back because I cannot be knocked out,” began to emerge. Kaplan and company kept drinking until things escalated to the point that they were drinking each other’s urine...
Werdum Still In UFC
In my contract I still have more four fights which go until 2010. By the chronogram that they passed to me, I must fight in February, July, November and April of 2010. In fact, I am moving to United States because of the trainings with Rafael Cordeiro, aiming at UFC”, said Werdum, who is in Brazil setting the last details for his changing to United States even in December.
Bisping: 'Marquadt Could Be Other TUF 9 Coach'
Nathan Marquardt could be the man that opposes Mike Bisping when the Brit captains the UK team in series 9 of The Ultimate Fighter.
UFC president Dana White said prior to UFC 89 that the US coach would likely be Dan Henderson or Rich Franklin.
But in an interview with Fighters Only Magazine yesterday, Bisping said Nate Marquardt may also be in the picture.
“Well, I’ve heard a rumour that it could be Nate Marquardt instead. To be honest, I’d be honoured to fight any of them,” the British middleweight said.
Joe 'Daddy' Not The Underdog At UFC 91
Joe Stevenson and Kenny Florian's UFC 91 lightweight bout has a heavyweight load of implications in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's 155-pound division. Florian appeared to be the No. 1 contender after defeating Roger Huerta at UFC 87, but accepted a fight with Top 10 ranked Joe Stevenson rather than wait for an opportunity against UFC lightweight titleholder B.J. Penn. Stevenson spoke with MMAWeekly.com about the match-up, his training and the role of underdog giving him extra motivation.
"This is definitely the fight I was looking for," said Stevenson. "It's an awesome fight to have at this point in time. I'm actually really excited about it. I start reading the Internet and you read things about, like, I'm looked at as an underdog on websites. It's so upsetting. I just can't stand it. I'm literally upset about it. And I never get upset, so I've been taking this seriously."
Frank Mir can ‘crush’ Antonio Rodrigo ‘Minotauro’ Nogueira
“I’m 200 times the athlete that he is. I can jump higher, run faster, move quicker, move longer — anything we do that I know just as well as he does I’m going to crush him.”
– Former heavyweight champion Frank Mir compares his athletic ability to that of Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira after losing the coaches challenge on the latest episode of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) on Spike TV. “Big Nog” scored more goals in a soccer challenge, winning his team members $1,000 each. Mir was clearly upset about the result. He’ll have his chance at redemption in the main event at UFC 92: “The Ultimate 2008? on December 27 when the two Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialists battle for the division title on New Year’s Eve weekend.
Macdonald Vs Gouveia At TUF8 Finale
Jason MacDonald will return to action on Dec. 13 as a part of "The Ultimate Fighter” season finale to take on American Top Team fighter Wilson Gouveia in a middleweight match-up. The fight will be a part of the televised broadcast featuring the finalists in the light heavyweight and lightweight divisions of the eighth season of the Spike TV reality show.
MacDonald’s manager, Mark Pavelich, confirmed the fight during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio on Wednesday night.
Currently sporting a 5-3 record in the Octagon, MacDonald has always been seen as one of the toughest match-ups in the all of the 185-pound division. With a very dangerous ground game and a rapidly developing stand-up arsenal, the Canadian has been in the cage with some of the best fighters the division has to offer.