Dan Hardy looks to finish Akihiro Gono in round two
“I anticipate playing a little cat-and-mouse chase for a little while. Brawling is not my style, so I’ll look to chip away at him and slow him down gradually. I’m not looking for a KO right away. It would be ignorant of me to think that I can just go out and knock him out straight away, but by around the midway point of the second round, I’ll have him at a point where I’ll be looking to finish him.”
– Team Rough House fighter Dan Hardy talks to Sherdog.com about his journey to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and what he expects when he makes his debut against Akihiro Gono at UFC 89: “Bisping vs. Leben” at The National Indoor Arena (NIA) in Birmingham, England, on October 18. The welterweight bout will headline the untelevised portion of the preliminary card; however, if it does finish fast the viewers at home will hopefully be treated to one of the better fights on the card.
UFC 89: THE NEW CHRIS LEBEN, STILL THE UNDERDOG
Chris "The Crippler" Leben travels to England to take on British fan-favorite Michael "The Count" Bisping at UFC 89 on Oct. 18 from the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham in a career defining fight that will leave the winner in title contention for the Ultimate Fighting Championship middleweight crown.
"It's pretty cool. It's me and my coach. We're going over there. We're going into enemy territory. We're going to be the bad guy the whole time. It makes it intense. You know? It helps me focus," Leben told MMAWeekly.com. "I've said it before. The only thing cooler than making 20,000 people scream at once is making them all shut up. That's going to be a nice feeling when I knock Bisping out and that whole arena is dead, stone quiet."
Bisping and Leben were originally slated to headline UFC 85 in London on June 7. Due to a legal situation regarding a parole violation stemming from a past DUI charge, Leben ended up serving 11 days of a 35-day jail sentence, which forced the Ultimate Fighter season one contestant out of the bout.
Analyzing Zuffa's Plans for the WEC & UFC
Zuffa’s plan to fold World Extreme Cagefighting’s middleweight and light heavyweight divisions into the UFC in 2009 leaves the sport with more questions than answers.
Parallel champions in the WEC suggested co-promotion would happen between the two organizations at some point. But talent-thin divisions in the WEC at 185 and 205 pounds were viewed as impediments and instead will be worked into the UFC fray.
UFC 90: RELJIC OUT, THALES LEITES LEFT WAITING
Goran Reljic is out of his scheduled match-up with Thales Leites at UFC 90 in Chicago. Reljic's manager, Zoran Saric, told MMAWeekly.com, "Reljic will not be able to fight on Oct. 25 at UFC 90. A back problem will force him out of a scheduled bout with Thales Leites."
I dont know but this sounds like its time to put on a re-match with Nate...anyone agree?
GSP in black belt club
It wasn’t just any Saturday at the Tristar martial arts academy, in Montreal, Canada.
The Jiu-Jitsu class, with around 50 participants, was more crowded than usual. But the UFC welterweight champion, Georges Saint-Pierre, suspected nothing.
And he was moved when medical researcher and holder of several Jiu-Jitsu titles Bruno Fernandes promoted him to the status of black belt in Jiu-Jitsu.
“This was the high point in my career,” an emotional Saint-Pierre confessed, when laying out the three happiest moments of his life:
“When I received my black belt in karate, when I conquered the UFC belt, and today.”
The promotion echoed in New York and, Renzo Gracie, who has taught Jiu-Jitsu to the Canadian star in the past before his collision course with Renzo student Matt Serra, approved:
“He more than deserves it. This was excellent new for the fight world,” said the teacher.
To Gracie Barrra black belt Fernandes, who has been living in Canada for the last few years, where he earned his PhD and researches cancer treatments, and thus has been teaching the martial arts phenomenon for years, it was a great honor to fasten the black belt and say:
“Welcome to the club!”
MacDonald calls Slice's salary 'almost insulting'
UFC middleweight Jason MacDonald is among the fighters disgusted with Kimbo Slice's half a million dollar payday at EliteXC: Heat.
"I think the fact that EliteXC is paying a guy like Kimbo $500,000 is almost insulting to other 'real' mixed martial artists," MacDonald wrote on his blog on Sportsnet.ca. "If I were Jake Shields, who is a legitimate top 170-pound fighter. I would be very upset and angry. He's supposed to be a cornerstone of the organization and he's getting paid $50,000. That's a slap in the face for Shields, and pretty much every other top fighter there."
Former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski was the other fighter on the card making $500,000. In this case, MacDonald feels Arlovski was well-deserving of the purse.
"From his standpoint, leaving the UFC was probably the best thing for him," MacDonald continued. "He got $750,000 for his Affliction fight, now $500,000 for EliteXC fight. And for fighting two guys that aren't exactly at his caliber."
MORE MATURE, RAMPAGE READY FOR AXE MURDERER
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson is back in the U.S. after a trip across the pond to the U.K., where he’s set up shop at the Wolfslair gym alongside teammates Paul Kelly and Michael Bisping.
Jackson’s commute is hard on his family life, so he lavishes attention on his four children when he returns.
“My dad was a working man. He was in the National Guard, be gone for two weeks at a time,” Jackson said in an exclusive video interview with MMAWeekly.com. “My big boys understand; my two little babies, they don’t know. They just know, ‘daddy gone, pow, pow.’”
Jackson immediately took a liking to the Wolfslair when Bisping invited him there to train for his fight with Dan Henderson at UFC 75. Jackson successfully defended his title, but lost it in a subsequent five-round war with Forrest Griffin at UFC 86. After leaving former trainer Juanito Ibarra, he felt a move across the pond was necessary.
“The managers and stuff over there are really good, and it’s just really a good atmosphere,” he said. “The guys work really hard. I needed a change in my training and how people trained me. I’m a Werewolf, and the name of the gym is the Wolfslair. You do the math.”
Wolfslair trainers have Jackson doing things he’s never done for a fight.
“I’m swimming now,” he said. “It’s helping my cardio get a lot better. I’ve started lifting weights. What do you call it, strength and conditioning.”
GEORGES ST. PIERRE READY FOR PENN; IS SILVA NEXT?
UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre won his fight with UFC lightweight champion BJ Penn by a razor’s edge.
Their UFC 58 battle was another example in a running debate amongst mixed martial arts fans – should the most damaged fighter be declared the loser? St. Pierre definitely lost in that department – he spent a night in a Las Vegas hospital, badly banged up – but two judges ruled he had come out ahead on points, giving him the 29-28 nod.
Two-and-a-half years removed from that important bout, St. Pierre wants to eliminate all the "what ifs." In a recent video interview with MMAWeekly.com, he spoke about fighting Penn for a second time.
“I’m a different fighter than I used to be,” he said. “And he is as well. This time, I want to take him out. I don’t want to go to a decision. I want to finish him.”
The fight is not signed yet, but St. Pierre thinks it will be sometime in the next week.
He left for Albuquerque, N.M. to get some training in with Greg Jackson’s camp. Right now, he’s gathering information from a variety of sources before putting it all together in an MMA-only environment.
Drwal Vs Serati At UFC 93
Tomasz ‘Travolta’ Drwal (14-2) and UFC newcomer Ivan ‘The Terrible’ Serati (10-2) will be facing off at UFC 93 in Dublin, Fighters Only can exclusively reveal.
Polish light-heavyweight Drwal made his UFC debut at UFC 75 and lost a hard-fought battle to Thiago Silva, snapping his thirteen-fight winning streak.
Serati is a veteran of UK promotions Cage Rage and Ultimate Warrior Challenge and is on a four-fight winning run.
Speaking to Fighters Only earlier, the Italian observed that Drwal “is ranked as one of the top 3 light-heavyweight fighters in Europe”.
“He is very tough - in his last UFC fight I remember he gave Thiago Silva a very tough fight,” he remarked. “There is no doubt that the UFC is the cream of the crop, and it's fighters are too.”
“But when you look at my record, the vast majority of my wins have been in the first round. I feel that I have done enough to get my shot.”
And he added: “My only loss at light-heavyweight is to Vitor Belfort, when I made my Cage Rage debut. I was very nervous during that fight and would love a rematch.”
Serati and Drwal will clash on January 17th when the UFC stages its first show in the Republic of Ireland.
Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua and Mark Coleman will top the bill in a rematch of their highly controversial PRIDE FC fight.
Barnett talks AA, Fedor, Slice, Halo & More!
Josh Barnett 'The Watchman'
Josh Barnett talks about Andrei Arlovski, Fedor Emelianenko, his fighting future, more video games, movieland, the fall of Kimbo Slice and Randy Couture versus Brock Lesnar.
PDG: Since you brought up Kimbo; you have been in the sport for a long time. What are your thoughts on him losing to the first experienced fighter that was not a tailor-made opponent for him?
Barnett: I was sitting in the bar and a bunch of people started cheering. The bar had a bunch of other fighters there and everyone was cheering except for me, I was actually upset. I wanted Kimbo to win and I was cheering for him. I wasn't real sure about him fighting Ken Shamrock because I have always been a big fan of Ken. It is really hard for me to watch Ken go out there and under perform like he has as of late compared to when I first started watching him compete. Kimbo is still a relative newcomer to this sport and I don't have any problem with how he has been brought up into the spotlight so fast. I like watching him fight and I wanted to see his ongoing progression fight to fight. I was disappointed because I wanted to see Kimbo do well.
UFC 89: VERA READY FOR 205 AND JARDINE
Vera On Cutting Weight:
--“Cutting that much weight and performing was the problem,” he explained. “I didn’t think it was gonna be, but I hadn’t cut weight in nine years.”
Vera On His Opponent, Keith Jardine:
--“He’s got great hands and a super awkward style,” Vera said. “An unorthodox, offbeat style; that’s a problem for almost every fighter. But it’s just something we’ve been working on in the game plan. Just making sure I execute the game plan that’s been set forth by my coaches.”
--“Nobody ever respected him or gave him the time of day until he started putting people to sleep,” Vera said. “I’m glad I didn’t do the same before I have to fight him. I just look at him as somebody that could knock me out. So I’ve got to be on my p’s and q’s.”
ARLOVSKI AGREES WITH STAND-UP, LOOKS TO FEDOR
“Before the fight we had a meeting with the ref and he said, so guys – and the UFC have the same and Affliction – you have 30 seconds to improve your position,” he said. “So I was pretty comfortable, I knew that I am safe. He was on top of me, but I controlled the situation.”
Quinton Jackson Hearing Postponed
The pre-trial hearing for Quinton Jackson that was scheduled for today has been postponed. A preliminary examination scheduled for November 30 also has been postponed. No reason was given for the postponement.
Josh Koscheck vs Yoshiyuki Yoshida to headline ‘Fight for the Troops’ Dec. 10
The fantastic welterweight match up between Josh Koscheck and Yoshiyuki Yoshida, which MMAmania.com first passed along right here, will serve as the main event for UFC Fight Night 16: “Fight for the Troops” at the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, N.C., on Wednesday, December 10.
USA Today today confirmed the complete line up, as well as talked to “Kos” about his big 170-pound showdown with “Zenko.”
It's been rumored, now it's official
Randy vs Brock Lagging at Gate
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer had a snippet of info in the print version of his newsletter about the soft market for tickets that the UFC is finding for Brock vs Randy tickets:
The 11/15 Las Vegas show with Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar, which should have been a first weekend sellout, due to the combination of the high prices and economy is at 8,000 sold for $3 million, and also moving slowly since only the $500 and up seats are left. There are casinos who have purchased tickets that don’t figure into that number, which is the ticket outlet numbers. But it was scaled to break the all-time UFC gate record of $5.4 million and right now it looks like they are going to have to cut deals or paper to sellout the 14,000 plus seats at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Randy-Brock information was mentioned against the backdrop of a piece that gave the tone that the United States’ economic troubles are affecting the UFC”s ability to move their premium-priced seats. While the party line from Dana and Lorenzo seems to be that the downturn isn’t bad for their PPV business, there seems to be little doubt that it is affecting their gate revenues.
It should be interesting to see what effect this has on their subsequent two cards in Las Vegas, which follow quickly afterward. While the New Year’s and Super Saturday don’t look to have as high a premium on their best seats, an adjustment in their ticket pricing strategy may be needed to fill the venue. That would be the better option, as papering tends to devalue your product.
Bisping & Leben Both Want Title Shot
Michael Bisping and Chris Leben both agree that the winner of their fight should be the next middleweight title challenger.
Speaking ahead of their headline clash at UFC 89 in England next week, the pair were frank about the potential ranking implications.
“I’ve said it before, I think this fight will be a deciding factor in who will be at that top tier in the middleweight division,” said Leben. “Who’s going to be in line for a title shot and who is going to fall back down into the middle of the pack?”
Bisping agreed: “Whoever wins this fight moves onwards and upwards to title contention, while its back to the middle of the pack for the loser. So obviously there is a lot riding on it.”
Fans of the TUF3 winner have long cited him as a potential champion, but he has not yet had a title shot in his time with the UFC.
However, Leben has fought middleweight boss Anderson Silva once before – and was stopped with a knee strike just 43 seconds into the first round.
“I can’t say how Michael is going to perform if he fights Anderson Silva, obviously I’ve fought him once and it didn’t go that well,” Leben laughed. But “I’m a much better fighter now and the Chris Leben of today wouldn’t make the same mistakes.”
UFC Quick Quote: Dana White ‘disgusted’ with Elite XC and alleged fight influencing
“It disgusts me. I’ve been busting my (expletive) for 10 years flying all over the planet to show everybody what a great sport this is and what amazing people are involved in it. Then CBS throws this guy who fights at people’s barbecues on the main event because they’re trying to compete with us, and he gets knocked out in (14) seconds by a guy who didn’t win ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ and couldn’t fight in the UFC. Then the guy turns around the next day and says, ‘The promoters actually paid me to not go to the ground with this guy. They paid me to stand up,’ which I’m pretty sure is illegal…. (Slice is) a joke. It was bound to happen. These guys have lost $60 million trying to get this thing off the ground. They’re building their promotion around a guy who can’t fight. It’s kind of (expletive) stupid, isn’t it? You’re in the fight business and you’re building your business around a guy who can’t fight…. When dirty people go out and do stuff like that, it hurts. Promoters have a bad rap as it is because of the last 100 years of boxing. We actually started to turn that around and were doing the right things and then you have these guys coming out and doing (expletive) like that. It hurts us.”