UFC Sets Its Sights On Mexico, Latin America
Recent happenings indicate that the UFC will put their first toes in the water of the Latin market. On the weekend of August 15th the UFC will be lending their talent and Octagon design to a pair of events to increase their penetration of Latin America. On the 15th they will be holding a training seminar in Tijuana with UFC fighter Diego Sanchez as well as UFC Espanol color commentator and Mexican MMA fighter Victor Davila. The seminar will center on “Ground and Pound and its effectiveness in MMA”. The UFC is using these seminars to spread the basics of MMA as well as the tactics of fighting inside the cage. Davila will also do seminars for the UFC in Costa Rica and Argentina.
Victor Davila is the point man for Zuffa’s Latin operations. Davila seems to be equal parts Joe Rogan and Joe Silva in his role. Davila is the voice and image of the play-by-play narrations for the Spanish audience for UFC live events as well as a host of the “El Octágono del UFC” on Galavision. At the same time, Davila is also being used as a scout/talent relations man in looking for MMA fighters in the Mexican and Latin market. He is currently feeling out and trying to sign “name” fighters in the Mexican circuit for Zuffa. All this in addition to doing seminars similar to the one mentioned above.
Juanito Ibarra "devastated" by Quinton Jackson arrest
Juanito Ibarra, a central figure as both trainer and mentor in the life of Quinton Jackson over the past three-plus years, is struggling to come to grips with the fighter's recent actions and subsequent arrest.
Ibarra told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) Tuesday night that he has not spoken with Jackson since the former UFC light heavyweight champion was arrested by Costa Mesa police July 15, following an alleged hit-and-run accident and subsequent police chase on a California freeway.
"I'm devastated by what he's been through and some of the things I've heard," said Ibarra. "I've not sat down with Quinton to this day to discuss things. I pray for his well-being, and if I helped Quinton out a little bit with his growth in the sport, then I've been very blessed and honored to do that. I love this kid with all my heart, and I wish him nothing but the best."
Omaha's Jason Brilz expected to compete at UFC Fight Night 15
Nebraska-based firefighter Jason Brilz (15-1-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a veteran MMA fighter who's undefeated in his past 11 fights, has accepted a deal with the UFC and is expected to debut with UFC Fight Night 15, an event that takes place Sept. 17 in Omaha, Neb.
A source close to the fighter told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the deal overnight.
No opponent has been determined.
However, Brilz, who could fight at 205 or 185 pounds, may be matched up with Thales Leites. Two tentatively scheduled opponents for Leites, Dean Lister and Goran Reljic, reportedly pulled out of the Spike TV-televised event due to injuries.
Brilz, a 33-year-old who turned pro in 2000, has been in talks with the UFC previously, but with the UFC heading to Nebraska for the first time, he finally accepted a deal, the source said.
UFC Quick Quote: Ryan Thomas answers the call to fight Ben Saunders
“I had told my manager I wanted the summer off because I had fought 14 times in the last 20 months and the average fighter only competes 3 or 4 times a year. He then called on Sunday the 27th and asked if I would be interested in fighting in the UFC and I could not believe my dream had come true. It still feels like a dream that I just can’t seem to wrap my head around. I don’t think I will be able to until I get in the octagon and get tagged a few times…. [Ben] is good at striking and ju-jitsu and my ju-jitsu and Muay Thai are good but wrestling is my strongest skill and I feel his weakest. Saunders I think is a good match up for me. He has the height advantage and has had months to prepare to my 12 days, but I’m stronger and my wrestling gives me a strategic advantage.
UFC 87 Preview: Jon Jones
At 21, Jon Jones has won an Iowa state high school wrestling championship, a National Junior College championship, holds a 5-0 MMA record and as far as I know is still the reigning Battle Cage Xtreme / USKBA 205lb. champion. He's been fighting professionally since April. Of this year.
He just signed a four-fight deal with the UFC, making him the youngest fighter under contract in the organization. And he's facing the also-undefeated Renzo Gracie-trained IFL product Andre Gusmao - on about a week's notice, replacing Tomasz Drwal - this Saturday in Minnesota. Check it:
Hermes Franca vs Gleison Tibau UFC 90 fight set
Brazilian jiu-jitsu stylists Hermes Franca (18-7) and Gleison Tibau (15-6) will likely tangle at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill., on October 25, according to Sherdog.com.
It’s a 155-pound clash that pits two fighters on back-to-back losing skids against one another.
Franca dropped a unanimous decision to Frank Edgar at UFC Fight Night 14: “Silva vs. Irvin” back in July. It was his first fight back after serving a 12-month suspension for steroid use. He is a former number one title contender who reeled of eight straight wins before losing to then UFC Lightweight Champion, Sean Sherk, at UFC 73: “Stacked” in July 2007.
Tibau has a losing record inside the Octagon (2-3), but those three defeats have come against the likes of top fighters such as Nick Diaz, Tyson Griffin and Joe Stevenson. He most recently succumbed to a crushing “Daddy” guillotine choke at UFC 86: “Jackson vs. Griffin” last month.
UFC 90 features several solid match ups, including the 185-pound tilt between UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva and Patrick Cote, as well as the huge welterweight showdown between Thiago Alves and Diego Sanchez.
Lesnar faces must-win against Herring
On Saturday night, Brock Lesnar goes into the cage with Heath Herring to answer a question: Is previous fame heading into a mixed martial arts career a blessing or a curse?
Lesnar, a former NCAA wrestling champion and World Wrestling Entertainment star, is one of the greatest athletic prospects to ever come into the sport. He has size, strength and, most of all, incredible quickness and reflexes for a man who had to cut weight to make the 265-pound heavyweight limit.
But as he heads into Saturday’s UFC 87 showdown against rugged veteran Heath Herring, he runs the risk that his headlining fame will be over just as quickly as it started.
WEC-UFC Talent Merger in the Works?
Talk of a potential migration of the WEC’s 205- and 185-pound divisions to the UFC could be more than just rumors, and the answer might play out in the coming months.
For months, rumors have been circulating -– and, occasionally reported in MMA media outlets -– that the WEC may disband those two divisions and send some of the top fighters competing there to the UFC.
Reed Harris, WEC president, declined to confirm or deny the status of a potential reshuffling of the rosters when contacted Monday by Sherdog.com. Harris did confirm that the concept has been acknowledged as a possibility by UFC president Dana White, and matchmakers Joe Silva and Scott Adams of the UFC and WEC, respectively.
“We have had some discussions about our weight divisions, but nothing has been set or finalized,” Harris said. “We’ve heard the same rumors. We’ve had those discussions since day one. About what weight classes (might be involved), I really have no official statement. I know people are talking about it. I’ve had reporters call me and ask the same questions for eight months about it.”
Sean Sherk Vs. Tyson Griffin Could Happen In The Fall
Michael Moody was on location this weekend for MMANews.com at the International Mixed Martial Arts Expo that took could place in Long Beach, CA.
Rumors were circulating around the Expo that a possible lightweight matchup between Sean "The Muscle Shark" Sherk(32-3-1) and Tyson Griffin (12-1) could happen later this year. Multiple sources stated that the fight will take place in the fall, most likely either UFC 90 which takes place in October or UFC 91 which will be in November.
Sherk is coming off the loss to UFC Lightweight Champion BJ Penn at UFC 84 in May, his first back since being stripped of the belt for a positive steroid test, while Griffin is on a four fight win streak, beating Marcus Aurelio most recently at UFC 86 in July.
Fitch Drawing On Hidden Knowledge
Jon Fitch says having a teammate who has fought Georges St. Pierre has proved valuable to his preparations for Saturday’s title fight.
Josh Koscheck, who trains with Fitch at the American Kickboxing Academy, lost to St. Pierre on points at UFC 74.
Despite losing, he learned a lot about St. Pierre from that fight and has been passing his knowledge on, Fitch told UFC.com.
“He can explain the elements that are intangible, the things that you can’t see on tape,” says Fitch. “That makes him a little more real to me.”
He says that Koscheck had the wrong gameplan going into the fight “because he thought there was no way anybody was gonna take him down and he didn’t train any wrestling”.
Coleman Responds To Shogun Allegations
Mark Coleman has responded to ‘Shogun’ Rua’s allegations that he is ducking a rematch with him.
Last month, Shogun told Brazil’s Tatame magazine that the UFC was looking at putting them together in November.
"I hope this time he doesn't run from me. He said no to me a couple of times, but I believe now it will happen," Rua added.
Coleman disputes this.
“As far as him indicating the fact that I've ducked him, that's wishful thinking on his part," he told MMA Junkie.
He explained that as he has already beaten Rua once, he isn’t particularly interested in pushing for a rematch, but would take it if the UFC arranged it.
Murilo Bustamante bets on Palhares
Leader of Brazilian Top Team, Murilo Bustamante commented to TATAME about Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares’ preparation for the biggest challenge of his career at UFC 88 against the former Pride champion, Dan Henderson. “He’s ready, man, we bet on his. We know Henderson is a top athlete and that it’ll be a tough fight, bus we believe in Toquinho”, said Bustamante, that told us that Palhares isn’t felling any pressure about this fight. “He’s loving it, impossible to be more motivated. He knows he’ll have a great chance to grown in the division and, if he wins, he’ll make a huge advance close to his dream: a title shot. We want that”, revealed Bustamante.
Fisher vs Guillard at UFC 90 In Chicago
MMAWeekly.com on Monday confirmed that Ultimate Fighting Championship lightweights Spencer “The King” Fisher and Melvin “The Young Assassin” Guillard will face each other at UFC 90 in Chicago on Oct. 25.
Both fighters have received bout agreements and are in the process of signing them.
Fisher, 32, is coming off a tough decision victory over sometime training partner Jeremy Stephens at the Ultimate Fighter Finale on June 21. The durable Miletich Fighting Systems fighter has won seven out of 10 performances in the Octagon since debuting at Ultimate Fight Night 2 in 2005. Though he slid against contenders Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca in 2007, Fisher has always been considered among the top-tier in the division.
Guillard, 25, has had mixed results in the UFC after debuting on the second season of “The Ultimate Fighter.” The New Orleans native has faced a variety of personal issues outside the cage, despite several impressive performances since debuting at The Ultimate Fighter 2 finale in 2005. Guillard’s recent dispatch of Dennis Siver at UFC 86 was quick and explosive, two words that are often attributed to him.
Fisher’s trainer, Pat Miletich, is none too happy about the match-up.
“Spencer has no reason to fight that guy,” Miletich said. “I don’t think Melvin’s earned the right to fight him yet. I think Spencer should be fighting somebody where he’s got something to gain.”
Still, Miletich is confident that his student will emerge victorious.
“Spencer obviously would be the favored guy,” he continued. “Melvin’s a dangerous kid, but I don’t think Melvin’s a polished fighter at Spencer’s level.”
Fisher and Guillard were unreachable for comment.
UFC COMMENTS ON TEXAS RULING IN COUTURE CASE
Depending upon whom you ask, Randy Couture resigned or retired from the Ultimate Fighting Championship on October 11, 2007. Since that time, he has been embroiled in a legal battle with the Zuffa owned promotion.
With billionaire Mark Cuban’s company HDNet being one of the main suitors for Couture's services when and if he is ever clear of his legal entanglements with the UFC, both HDNet and Couture were handed a clear blow to their legal efforts in the Texas Court of Appeals on Friday.
HDNet has pursued a declaration stating the finality of Couture’s fight contract with Zuffa and when he would be free to fight for another organization. Its efforts were denied on Friday, however, when the Texas Court of Appeals found that the lower court that was acting on the HDNet litigation had engaged in “a clear abuse of discretion” by permitting it, according to a statement released by Zuffa.
The Texas Court of Appeals granted Zuffa’s Motion to Compel Randy Couture to arbitrate in the District of Nevada, staying all further action by HDNet against Zuffa in the state of Texas.
New Heath Herring Interview
Heath Herring has made a living fighting in other fighters' backyards. This Saturday he does it again, facing Brock Lesnar in Lesnar's native Minnesota at UFC 87-which is "nothing new" to Herring, a subject he touched on among others in a new interview.
Wanderlei Silva told to prepare for December return
After a brutal destruction of Keith Jardine in May, UFC light-heavyweight Wanderlei Silva (32-8-1 MMA, 2-3 UFC) has been told by UFC officials to prepare for a December return.
The win was Silva's first victory in almost two years, and the famed light heavyweight shared his thoughts on his next bout while a guest co-host on a recent edition TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I'm talking with (UFC co-owner) Lorenzo (Fertitta)," said Silva, who's English continues to improve since a move to Las Vegas. "They're talking about December because it is the best event of the year. (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira is going to fight (Frank) Mir for the belt for the heavyweights.
"This is the best event. It's much more promotion. They told me to be ready to fight in December."
Silva said he doesn't yet know who he will face on the card.
"They gave me 10 (possible) names," Silva said. "My division is the best division in the world. They have so many names. I think they're going to give a good opponent to me."
While several names have been rumored, a possible third bout between Silva and ex-champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson has been brought up repeatedly as of late. Perhaps unsurprisingly, in light of his two previous knockout victories over Jackson, Silva said he would be open to the match-up.
"I wanted to fight [Jackson] again," Silva said. "I think it's a very good match."
Despite recent troubles, including three straight losses to Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, Dan Henderson and Chuck Liddell before the victory over Jardine, Silva still has his eyes focused on the UFC's light heavyweight title.
"For me, I have time to fight for the belt in the future, no problem," Silva said. "I'm going to wait for my opportunity. I'm going to give my best on every fight. After I win my fights, I'm going to have an opportunity to fight for the belt."
And regardless of whom the UFC brings forth in December, Silva knows he'll be ready.
"For me, no problem," Silva said. "I'll fight with everybody."
Silva also discussed the advantages of his relocation to the U.S., his relationship with his old Chute Boxe teammates and the opening of his own gym in Las Vegas. To hear the full episode, which Silva co-hosted, download Wednesday's edition of TAGG Radio, available for free in the TAGG Radio archives.
Michael Bisping planning on going "straight through" Chris Leben
UFC middleweight Michael Bisping (16-1 MMA, 6-1 UFC) will get his second shot at headlining a card at October's UFC 89 event in his native England. And while Bisping's first headlining gig netted him his only career loss to date against Rashad Evans, "The Count" thinks this time will be different.
Bisping discussed his upcoming bout with Chris Leben while a guest on a special weekend edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I've got respect for [Leben]," Bisping said. "But I'm going to go straight through him. That's what I'm made to do."
The fight will be Bisping's third in the middleweight division. The Liverpool native started his career at 205 pounds, but he made the decision to move down a weight class after suffering the lone loss of his career.