Nova Uniao Supplants Brazil's Old Guard
When Pride Fighting Championships met its end, the value of mixed martial arts teams seemed to diminish, too, as athletes were emphasized more for their own value, independent of the team they represented.
This trend has increased even more in Brazil, as Brazilian Top Team and the Chute Boxe Academy suffered several cuts and stars such as Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Paulo Filho, Wanderlei Silva and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua left their respective training camps. The only team not to suffer any major losses during this period was Nova Uniao. Names like Vitor “Shaolin” Ribeiro, Thales Leites, Wagnney Fabiano and Jose Aldo -- born and raised on a team led by Andre Pederneiras -- continue to shine in international events.
According to Pederneiras, Nova Uniao has about 50 professional athletes on its roster, including Ribeiro and the young Eduardo Dantas, who fought Masakatsu Ueda for the Shooto 132-pound championship last weekend.
Made famous in the 1990s by the brilliant showings of its lighter weight athletes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions, the team made a seamless transition to MMA, winning titles in major events like Shooto (Ribeiro), Cage Rage (Ribeiro), the International Fight League (Fabiano) and Pancrase (Marlon Sandro).
“Our team went from BJJ to MMA,” Pederneiras said. “As we already had a very strong team in the lighter weights, basically my BJJ team migrated with the same success to MMA, so we just continued the work. But we’ve also proven that we can do it with heavier guys. Thales Leites is an example. The more that come here, the more we’ll do it.”
Although the recognition has come only in recent years, the team began to take its first steps more than a decade ago, with Pederneiras himself fighting in international events and Rafael Carino emerging victorious at UFC 9 in 1996.
“Rafael Carino was my first athlete who fought in MMA, then Joao Roque and some others,” Pederneiras said. “Even when I fought, I did not have an MMA team. I called some people for training, but most of them had never fought MMA before. Only when Shaolin began fighting MMA could I bring in more people. Then we really had a team.”
UFC 105 - Michael Bisping set to take on Wanderlei Silva (unconfirmed)
MMABay can EXCLUSIVELY reveal that the main event is all set for the UFC’s next visit to the UK on November 14th as Wolfslair trained middleweight, Michael “The Count” Bisping will take on Brazilian MMA legend, Wanderlei Silva in Manchester, England.
News of the fight was passed along to MMABay by a source at the Wand Fight Team in Las Vegas, Nevada who revealed that the Brazilian would be putting pen to paper very soon after returning from receiving the key to the city in Pensacola, Florida. It will be the first fight of his career to be competed at 185 pounds.
JARDINE CONFIDENT AS SILVA SHOWDOWN NEARS
It’s been more than four months since Keith Jardine hit a bump on the road in his journey to the UFC light heavyweight championship. That bump is named Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.
Jardine fought Jackson to the full term of their 15-minute bout at UFC 96, but it was Jackson that had just enough of a burst late in the third round to secure the unanimous decision victory.
Franklin Signs New UFC Deal, Possibly His Last
Rich Franklin may be playing his final "Ace" card in MMA. He recently signed a new 6-fight deal with the promotion, but also said that, depending on "the pace of the fights", it could be his final UFC deal as he mentioned possible retirement when it's done.
Kimo Leopoldo Update: NOT DEAD
Despite earlier reports that he had died, Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole has confirmed that former UFC fighter Kimo Leopoldo is alive and well. Iole spoke to Kimo's attorney who said that "Kimo has surfaced" and that erroneous reports of Kimo's death were posted on the internet and quickly removed.
Mirko Cro Cop: Brock Lesnar Winning the UFC Title Is a Defeat for MMA
It's been fascinating to see the reaction to Brock Lesnar becoming the undisputed UFC heavyweight champion by defeating Frank Mir at UFC 100: The response is just about evenly split between those who think Lesnar's larger-than-life persona is great for the sport, and those who think he has tarnished MMA.
Count Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic as part of the latter camp.
UFC 100 officially nets second-largest gate in company history with $5.13 million
UFC 100 officially drew 10,871 attendees (9,793 paid) for a live gate of $5,128,490, Nevada State Athletic Commission executive director Keith Kizer today confirmed in an email to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
The UFC's historic July 11 show now ranks as the second-largest gate in UFC history and fell just $268,810 short of UFC 66's record $5,397,300 gate, which resulted from the heavily hyped Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz rematch in late 2006.
Rich Franklin "assuming" UFC 103 fight with Dan Henderson at 205 pounds
A recently announced UFC 103 main event between Rich Franklin and Dan Henderson, two fighters who have bounced between the middleweight and light-heavyweight divisions, will likely be contested at 205 pounds.
While a guest on today's edition of MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio), Franklin said he hasn't been told definitely but that he's "assuming" the fight will be at light heavyweight.
On Monday the UFC announced the surprise booking, which is a rematch from the first Franklin vs. Henderson fight that took place in January at UFC 93, but didn't specify the weight for the bout.
UFC ‘Fights of the Year’ for 2009 … so far
Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 9 Finale
Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva at UFC 99
Cain Velasquez vs. Cheick Kongo at UFC 99
Martin Kampmann vs. Carlos Condit at UFC Fight Night 18
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 100
Honorable mention included Dan Henderson vs. Rich Franklin, Marcus Davis vs. Chris Lytle, Frankie Edgar vs. Sean Sherk, and Matt Hughes vs. Matt Serra, among others. Agree or disagree with the “highly unofficial” list from the promotion? Have other memorable fights in mind outside of the UFC that are even better than those mentioned above?
Ask the Doc: Can groin injuries like Georges St-Pierre's severely hinder a fighting career?
Ever since Georges St-Pierre completed the third round of his UFC 100 bout and complained of a groin injury (and trainer Greg Jackson humorously told GSP to hit opponent Thiago Alves with it), message-board MDs have been diagnosing and predicting the fighter's future.
Although St. Pierre's manager, Shari Spencer, announced that no surgery will be needed, some fans still think the injury could have lasting effects.
In his latest "Ask the Doc" column, MMAjunkie.com medical columnist Dr. Johnny Benjamin discusses some typical groin injuries and why a finely tuned athlete such as St-Pierre probably doesn't have much to worry about.
Diego Sanchez Guaranteed Shot at UFC Title
According to lightweight Diego Sanchez, UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta and president Dana White have told him that he will be meeting the winner of the lightweight title bout between champion BJ Penn and Kenny Florian at UFC 101.
“Guaranteed,” Sanchez told Ron Kruck on the latest edition of Inside MMA. “It’s guaranteed. After August 2nd, it’s on. I get the winner.”
A few weeks back, Sanchez took exception to the fact that the division’s top contender, Florian – who he dominated to capture the “TUF 1? crown, will be getting his second shot at UFC gold while Diego has never seen a 25-minute title fight.
Justin McCully vs. Mike Russo and Tim Hague vs. Todd Duffee complete UFC 102 card
With the addition of two heavyweights bout on the preliminary card, the lineup for UFC 102 is now complete with a total of 11 fights.
"UFC 102: Couture vs. Nogueira" takes place at the Rose Center in Portland, Ore., and airs on pay-per-view.
As MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) first reported last week, UFC 102 has two new bouts: Mike Russo (11-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Justin McCully (9-4-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and Todd Duffee (4-0 MMA, 0-0 UFC) vs. Tim Hague (10-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC).
UFC Fight Night adds Cantwell vs Stann
Cantwell vs Stann Rubber Match Added to UFC Fight Night in September
It was a competitive rivalry that began in the WEC, with each man owning a knockout win over the other. On Wednesday, September 16th, former WEC light heavyweight champions Steve Cantwell and Brian Stann will break their tie in the UFC Octagon as part of the stacked UFC Fight Night card at the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Also made official for the card is what promises to be an ultra-competitive middleweight showdown between Nate ‘Rock’ Quarry and Tim Credeur, and a welterweight clash pitting Chris Wilson against Mike Pyle.
Tickets for UFC Fight Night, which is headlined by Nate Diaz vs Melvin Guillard and Gray Maynard vs Roger Huerta, are priced at $200, $125, $95, $75, $50 and $35, and are on sale now.
Eliot Marshall vs. Jason Brilz set for UFC 103
A light-heavyweight bout between "The Ultimate Fighter 8" cast member Eliot Marshall (7-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) and fellow light heavyweight Jason Brilz (17-1-1 MMA, 2-0 UFC) is set for UFC 103.
The fight was first reported by FiveOuncesofPain.com, and a source close to one of the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that bout agreements have been distributed and signed.
Matt Hamill out 3-4 weeks, Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Brandon Vera at UFC 102 (Updated)
An intriguing light-heavyweight bout between Matt Hamill (6-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) and Brandon Vera (10-3 MMA, 6-3 UFC) has been scratched from UFC 102's main card and will be replaced by a Vera vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (18-8-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) fight.
The change, first reported by Sherdog, resulted from an injured knee suffered by Hamill during a recent training session.
"(It's) just a meniscus tear," Hamill's trainer, Duff Holmes, told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). "He's going for a scope tomorrow, and we'll be back to training after three or four weeks of rehab.
"It was something that just crept up on us and was getting worse and worse. It was really affecting his ability to go to the ground and was giving out on him. ... We are very disappointed with having to pull out, and we were really looking forward to the fight with Vera. He is a true mixed martial artist, and we were eager to test Matt against someone of his abilities."
UFC 102 takes place Aug. 29 at the Rose Center in Portland, Ore. The event, headlined by Randy Couture vs. fellow former UFC heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, airs on pay-per-view.
As of Monday afternoon, the Vera vs. Hamill bout was still listed on UFC.com. Although not official, the Vera vs. Soszynski bout will likely remain on the night's televised main card.
Henderson-Franklin II to Headline UFC 103
Their first bout split the mixed martial arts community, making it obvious that they needed more than 15 minutes to settle their score. On Saturday, September 19th, UFC superstars Dan Henderson and Rich Franklin will meet again in the main event of UFC 103 at the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas, with Henderson looking to make it 2-0 over the former middleweight champ, and Franklin trying to even things up with the former two division PRIDE champion.
And if that’s not enough, the biggest MMA event to ever hit Texas will feature perhaps the most explosive heavyweight battle of the year when one of the sport’s most feared strikers, Mirko Cro Cop, takes on Brazilian knockout artist Junior Dos Santos. Tickets for UFC 103 are on sale now.
AMIR SADOLLAH'S OCTAGON EDUCATION CONTINUES
Reminiscent of the days that Rashad Evans graced his own season of The Ultimate Fighter, Amir Sadollah had all the odds stacked up against him going into TUF.
Season 7, coached by two of the UFC’s most charismatic fighters in former champions Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and Forrest Griffin, was where the new 32-man tournament blueprint was put into affect.
Sadollah, having had no professional fights going into the season as a middleweight was thought to be the season's underdog, but quickly gained the respect of his peers with his more than stellar performance throughout the competition, having earned his way into the house by submitting UFC veteran Steven Byrnes in what only marked the beginning of something special.
UFC DOMINATION & ZUFFA'S AGE OF IMPERIALISM
UFC president Dana White has never been shy about revealing a broad overview of his business plans for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. It can be summed up in two simple words: world domination.
"We're going to be everywhere man," White recently said matter-of-factly to MMAWeekly.com. "We're going to be all over the world. We're going to be everywhere. The sport isn't going backwards. We're going forward. We're getting bigger."