UFC 99 preview: Davis and Hardy draw verbal battle lines, Franklin gets inside access for Silva prep
The insults are enough to make even the most mean-spirited middle-school kid blush.
Marcus Davis and Dan Hardy have traded heavy artillery in a war of words heading into their welterweight bout at UFC 99 this Saturday in Cologne, Germany. The UFC's last double-digit fight card features a pair of former world champions, the return of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic and rising heavyweight contender Cain Velasquez.
Yet, it's the Davis-Hardy feud that has served as a compelling subplot. And, from all accounts, the verbal combativeness isn't for show. These two fighters genuinely harbor a strong distaste for one another, and those feelings have been on full display on messages boards and in pre-fight interviews.
Dale Hartt: ‘I just want to punch Dennis Siver’s teeth in’
It was one of the most gruesome moments in the history of the UFC. There were many theories on how the bout would unfold but none of them included Corey Hill’s shin bone snapping in half like a tree branch after colliding with the shin of Hartt.
It wasn’t the way the native of Bangor, Maine wanted to win that bout. He felt like his back was up against the wall in the fight with Hill, one more loss would have equaled an uncertain future with the biggest fighting promotion on the planet.
Hartt will finally have his chance to show the world that he’s in the UFC to stay this Saturday evening when he faces off with the Russian-German Dennis Siver.
Mind Games: Dan Hardy UFC 99 interview
By now it’s no secret that UFC 99: “The Comeback” will feature a heated grudge match between 10-fight UFC veteran, Marcus Davis (16-4) and red-hot British prospect Dan Hardy (21-6, with 1 NC). In fact, it looks to be one of the better fights on an already-stacked card.
Davis needs little introduction to fans on both sides of the pond. The Bangor, Maine, native first got our attention as a contestant on The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 2, at a time when he was known mostly for his boxing skills. He compiled a professional boxing record of 17-1-2 on the New England boxing circuit — and has since been referred to as “the most-improved TUF contestant” from the show’s first few seasons.
Despite Move to Light Heavy Rich Franklin is Still the Gatekeeper for Anderson Silva's Middleweight Belt
I don't think this fight makes sense for either fighter as a catchweight bout at 195lbs, but I'm glad we're going to get to see it. After his second loss to Anderson Silva, the UFC asked Franklin to move up to 205lbs. But ever since they've treated him as a kind of supplement to their 185lb class, having him fight top 185lb contender Dan Henderson at 205lbs in what was essentially a title contention eliminator fight for two divisions -- Henderson at middle and Franklin at light heavy.
Kimbo's Trainer Says He's Ready For Round Two
Randy Khatami says Kimbo Slice is ready for the 15 heavyweights who want a piece of him.
Khatami, a trainer at Elite MMA with Bas Rutten, was one of Slice's chief trainers since the bearded fighter announced his entry into MMA.
Early last month, Khatami began working with Slice again after a six-month layoff. Slice told him he would return soon – to what, he didn’t know, but he wanted to be ready.
Minotauro Plans To Retire Next Year
Another fighter retirement tour may be right around the corner. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira says he plans to retire next year, but not before one more run at the UFC Heavyweight Title and possibly fights in Japan and his native Brazil.
UFC: Next UK Show Is In Manchester
The UFC's next UK show will definitely take place in Manchester, Fighters Only Magazine has learned from a well-placed source.
The city, which hosted UFC 70 in 2007, boasts a 17,500 seat venue in the form of the Manchester Evening News Arena.
No fights have yet been officially scheduled for the card but Manchester's close proximity to the city of Liverpool means that the Wolfslair gym is likely to be well represented on the card.
As UFC 99 looms, Wanderlei Silva wonders if the win is finally more important than the show
For all of the ferocious attacks Wanderlei Silva (32-9-1 MMA, 2-4 UFC) has implemented with his hands, elbows, feet and knees in his 23 career wins by knockout or TKO, it is perhaps his eyes that are most intimidating.
The animal-like stare, full of evil intentions, has won "The Axe Murderer" countless fights before the opening bell ever sounded.
But on this day, Silva's threatening stare has softened, and his eyes betray him. The intimidation is replaced with reflection, and those eyes are staring at his own hands as they rest on a table in the office of his Las Vegas gym.
WANDERLEI SILVA AGAINST THE ROPES AT UFC 99
With a nickname like "The Axe Murderer," you're either one of two things: a serial killer or one of the top fighters in the world.
Probably best described as "happy go lucky" outside of the cage, Wanderlei Silva
falls into the latter category.
But in his fight with Rich Franklin at UFC 99 on Saturday, a 195-pound catchweight bout, Silva finds himself fighting for his reputation, and quite possibly, his future within the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
UFC 99 IN-DEPTH: FRANKLIN VS. SILVA
During different stages in their respective careers, both Rich Franklin and Wanderlei Silva have been considered the absolute best in their weight classes. Franklin ruled the roost at 185 pounds, while Silva dominated his way to a four-year unbeaten streak.
Both fighters have run into a few obstacles over the last few years. Silva is 1-4 in his last five fights, while Franklin has gone 3-2 with tough losses to pound-for-pound king Anderson Silva and a decision loss in his most recent fight against Dan Henderson.
UFC 99: Dan Hardy's Mouth Creating Huge Hype, Marcus Davis Tries to Subdue Emotions
Following UFC 95, Dan Hardy seemed to have one thing on his mind. Instead of talking about his knockout victory over Rory Markham in detail during the post-fight press conference, Hardy decided to take the opportunity to help Joe Silva create a matchup that has now reached new heights in bad blood. Hardy called out Marcus Davis due to the fact that Davis has managed to win four of his last five bouts on British soil while defeating 3 British fighters in Jason Tan, Paul Taylor, and Paul Kelly.
BJ Penn: There Won't Be Bad Blood With Me and Kenny Florian
BJ Penn has been known as a guy who can market and build up massive interest for a fight. He knows how to hype up a fight and ham it up for the cameras when he needs to. The attention gained in high profile fights with Sean Sherk and Georges St. Pierre was largely in part of BJ talking the talk and building up on the "bad blood" between them.
His next fight will be against Kenny Florian at UFC 101, and I have the feeling that this time it will be different. There is no first fight with a controversial decision, there is no steroid use or "cheating" that he could build up on, and no one has said anything bad about each other. I think that this fight will be one without animosity, and I think that it will be a great fight between the two best fighters in the division who have mutual respect for each other.
Dale Hartt: Pink gi, stealthy scouting and old friends lead to UFC 99 bout with Dennis Siver
As the sport of mixed martial arts continues to evolve, the athletes that compete in the cage have begun to rely on cross-training and gym-hopping to develop as complete fighters.
When Dale Hartt (6-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) stepped away from his normal routine at Xtreme Couture to train for his UFC 99 bout with Dennis Siver (13-6 MMA, 2-3 UFC) at Greg Jackson's Mixed Martial Arts in New Mexico, it was for a simpler reason.
"I don't know if my girl's listening to the show, but it was an escape plan," Hartt recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio (www.mmajunkie.com/radio). "My girl gets real nervous when I fight, and it creates a lot of distractions for me."
UK and Ireland Fans Will See UFC 99 Regardless of Setanta Sports Turmoil
The Ultimate Fighting Championship have guaranteed fans tonight that UFC 99 from Cologne will be available to British and Irish fans on Saturday night. Speaking exclusively to Telegraph.co.uk, Marshall Zelaznik, president of the UK division of the UFC, that the mixed martial arts organisation “will ensure that fans will see UFC 99 irrespective of what happens with Setanta.” The well-documented financial strife Setanta is under is believed to be reaching a head as executives attempt to secure a last-ditch rescue package that will prevent the company tipping into administration. Staff have been told that the company will continue to broadcast as the search for fresh investment continues
CroCop: This is not my last UFC fight
Mirko 'CroCop' Filipovic says that his fight with Mostapha Al-Turk on Saturday night will not be his final outing in the UFC, no matter what the outcome.
"This is not my last fight for the UFC, you have my word on that," he said from his home in Croatia last night. “I think I owe a lot to the UFC and to the UFC fans.”
“When I was in the hospital after my surgery I was thinking - and I didn't even talk to Dana about it - I had it on my mind I would fight in Cologne because UFC is coming to Germany where the biggest and largest Croatian community is. People - even my doctor - did not believe I would make it but I did, I am in excellent shape,” the PRIDE 2006 open weight grand prix champion explained.
First UFC Gym set to open in Concord, California on June 17
The UFC Octagon isn’t just for fighters anymore. Now, for the first time in the 15-year history of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, anyone - no matter how young or old – can experience what it’s like to train in the most exciting sport in the world thanks to the launch of the UFC Gym. UFC and New Evolution Fitness Company (NEFC) announced today that Concord, California will be the first home to the ultimate fitness destination, one that combines a complete UFC experience with mixed martial arts and fitness.
UFC Quick Quote: Lyoto Machida’s got MMA in his blood
"I did an evaluation of everything that he used to train and asked for a complete blood analysis to rate from the beginning up to the close of the fight and after that I set a periodization of cycles focusing on the physical qualities that needed to be improved. So I worked on force, power and ability..."