Friends Fighting Friends
They say familiarity breeds contempt, but in the world of mixed martial arts, the lines are a bit more blurry. Promoters often pit teammate against teammate, friend against friend, in their pursuit of financial success. Some fighters refuse those advances, no matter the lure.
“We won’t fight each other,” says famed mixed martial arts trainer Greg Jackson when asked about a potential fight between two of his top protégés, Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine.
Former UFC light heavyweight champions Tito Ortiz and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson have pledged never to fight unless the money was “right.” Other competitors seem to have no trouble putting relationships on the back burner and going toe-to-toe with their friends. Karl James Noons and Yves Edwards come to mind.
Few dynamics can match friend-versus-friend in terms of piquing interest. One needs only to look at the clashes between Ortiz and Chuck Liddell to understand the hype such fights can generate. In the case of James Irvin and Scott Smith or Stephan Bonnar and Forrest Griffin, mixing it up inside the cage can forge even stronger bonds and lead today’s modern-day gladiators to hone their games inside the same gym as their former opponents.
Here are some past, scheduled and potential bouts with thick plotlines...
UFC 90 weigh in results
Perhaps the biggest questions heading into the event was whether or not Thiago Alves could hit the scale with no problems. “The Pitbull” came in at a ready 171 pounds, using the one pound over the division limit that is alloted to all fighters in nontitle fights.
Josh Burkman was not as fortunate. “The People’s Warrior” has one hour to shed the additional two pounds and try again; otherwise, he risks having his purse garnished.
Here are the official UFC 90 weigh-in results:
185 lbs.: Anderson Silva (184) vs. Patrick Cote (183)
170 lbs.: Thiago Alves (171) vs. Josh Koscheck (170)
265 lbs.: Fabricio Werdum (256) vs. Junior Dos Santos (234)
155 lbs.: Sean Sherk (156) vs. Tyson Griffin (155)
155 lbs.: Gray Maynard (155) vs. Rich Clementi (156)
185 lbs.: Thales Leites (186) vs. Drew McFedries (186)
155 lbs.: Spencer Fisher (155) vs. Shannon Gugerty (156)
185 lbs.: Dan Miller (185) vs. Matt Horwich (186)
155 lbs.: Hermes Franca (156) vs. Marcus Aurelio (156)
170 lbs.: Pete Sell (170) vs. Josh Burkman (173)
*Note: Fighters are allowed to weigh one pound more than the division limit in non-title fights.
Marcus Davis unsure if Chris Lytle deserves a fight against him at UFC 93
“I don’t mind Chris calling me out, it’s part of the game. I certainly didn’t take offense. He had warned me beforehand that he was going to do it, so I don’t consider it disrespectful or anything. I like Chris and think he is a great guy but I don’t know whether he deserves a fight against me. People always say that Chris is the ‘gatekeeper’ to our division, but I think that I am past the gate at the moment. I have spoken to a few people who have told me that they actually think Paul Taylor won that fight against Chris. I beat Paul in one round (in September 2007), so I’m just not sure. But, of course, if that is the fight that the UFC want, then I am more than happy.”
Shades of Gray: Interview with Gray Maynard
UFC lightweight Gray Maynard knows a thing or two about labels.
Like most amateur fighters who find their way into the UFC spotlight through a stint on The Ultimate Fighter reality show, Maynard has to work twice as hard to prove that skill — not television — is what landed him a spot on the active UFC roster.
So far, so good.
“The Bully” has kept his professional win streak intact inside the Octagon, winning three straight fights since a bizarre simultaneous knockout/tapout against Rob Emerson at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 5 Finale in June 2007.
In addition, Maynard knows that he’s more than “just a wrestler” — something he intends to prove in his first appearance on a major UFC pay-per-view.
Gray brings us up to speed on everything from his days as a collegiate wrestler, life in the TUF mansion and the surprising phone call he got that would change his life forever.
Is the Fertitta Business Empire in Trouble?
Zack Arnold puts together the case:
* October 19th - Going private hasn’t saved companies from slump (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
* October 19th - Station Casinos will seek some reprieve from its banks, though the company’s debt costs will likely go up (Las Vegas Sun)
* October 20th - Station Casinos confident business model will best economic worry (online casino advisory)
* October 23rd - Is Station Casinos going out of business? (Fightlinker)
When Dana White announced a while back that Lorenzo Fertitta was making a 100% commitment to UFC and moving away from actively managing Station Casinos, it was heralded as a move that was going to forever change the MMA business. Much to the credit of Fight Opinion Radio lead host (Jeff Thaler), Jeff never bought into the initial explanation given as to why Lorenzo Fertitta would give up such a lucrative position in Las Vegas to go to UFC — a profitable company, but nothing close to the money-making machine that Station Casinos had been over the past decade
Brock Lesnar does not want Mazzagatti as referee at UFC 91
Lesnar’s reps claim he was “involved in what we believe was a controversial ruling in connection with the Mir-Lesnar fight.” Lesnar’s reps told Sherdog. ”They asked that Mazzagatti be removed from consideration for the UFC 91 main event to avoid “distraction” and “any further controversy.”
- UFC 90: KOSCHECK GOES BACK TO HIS ROOTS
The roots of Josh Koscheck’s resurgence in the UFC welterweight division lie in the moments after his loss to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 69.
The American Kickboxing Academy regular hadn’t put much energy to his wrestling game to prepare for St. Pierre. He was an NCAA Division I champion; wrestling was in his blood. But after spending most his time under the weight of the then-fallen champion, Koscheck realized he could’ve changed the course of the fight by working on his first stock and trade.
“He gave St. Pierre a lot of credit,” longtime training partner Mike Swick says. “I don’t think he fought (St. Pierre) how he really wanted to. The second that fight was over, Josh’s confidence grew as a fighter. He realized that he could have done so much better.”
Koscheck admits that his respect for St. Pierre clouded his judgment about how to face fighters in the upper echelon of the division.
Jake O'Brien vs. Christian Wellisch in works for UFC 94
After suffering the first two losses of his professional career, heavyweight Jake O'Brien (10-2 MMA, 3-2 UFC) will look for a return to the win column when he meets Christian Wellisch (8-4 MMA, 2-2 UFC) at UFC 94.
Sources close to the fighters told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the bout is close to being finalized.
UFC 94, which features a UFC welterweight title fight between current 170-pound champ Georges St. Pierre and 155-pound champ B.J. Penn, takes place Jan. 31 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
O'Brien, a former Purdue University wrestler, began his career with 10 consecutive wins, which included a 3-0 mark in the UFC. The 10th win came in a stunning unanimous-decision upset of Heath Herring in the PRIDE veteran's January 2007 UFC debut.
Dana backs Brock to be No1
DANA WHITE reckons Brock Lesnar has all the credentials to become the world's No1 heavyweight fighter.
The UFC president has tipped the former WWE superstar to put on a great performance against the legendary Randy Couture when the pair collide at UFC 91.
And White reckons 31-year-old Lesnar has what it takes to beat The Natural next month.
He said: "It's such an interesting fight because Couture is so good at coming up with plans for finding weaknesses in guys' games and exposing them.
"But Lesnar's such a different animal, this guy is so big, so strong and so fast at that weight it's just phenomenal.
Sherk’s shifting fortunes
Sean Sherk has won 32 mixed martial arts fights. He’s lost three: to Georges St. Pierre, Matt Hughes and B.J. Penn, each an all-time great in the sport.
“The best of the best of the best,” Sherk said.
At 35 he is an MMA stalwart himself, one of the pioneers of the game who first joined the Ultimate Fighting Championship for UFC 30, when he was “just some farm kid from Minnesota.”
Yet he enters UFC 90 in nearby Rosemont on Saturday at the crossroads of his career, dealing with questions about his past successes as much as his potential for future ones.
On the humble undercard this time, he’ll fight up-and-coming Tyson Griffin, 24, a guy who could rightfully be called a young Sean Sherk. Griffin even modeled some of his wrestling game from watching Sherk fights back when he was just a fan.
Sherk is well aware of the stakes. He was on top of the world 15 months ago, when he outlasted Hermes Franca in a 25-minute test of wills to defend his UFC lightweight championship.
Davis Predicts Bright Future For Paul Kelly
Marcus Davis has offered British welterweight Paul Kelly some words of encouragement after submitting him in their UFC 89 fight last weekend.
Davis believes that Kelly, 23, has a bright future in the sport and says he told him so right after their bout.
"I told him, you're a young kid and you've got a long future in this. You're tough and you're already in the big show, don't let it get you down," he revealed to Fighters Only this week.
He praised Kelly's strength and aggression, which he said had forced him to come up with a different gameplan to the one he used against other British fighters such as Paul Taylor and Jason Tan.
"My trainer's plan, that he set out after watching tape on Kelly, was to use the same plan that Bisping did that night against Leben," Davis explained.
Fisticuffs: Spencer Fisher UFC 90 interview
With 25 professional fights under his belt, Spencer “The King” Fisher (21-4) has been around the block a time or two.
The three-year UFC veteran has gone toe-to-toe with the likes of Frankie Edgar and Hermes Franca and holds wins over Thiago Alves, Josh Neer, Sam Stout, Matt Wiman and most recently Jeremy Stephens at The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 7 Finale in June.
And if all goes according to plan, Fisher could be adding one more name to that list. He faces Shannon Gugerty (11-2) at UFC 90: “Silva vs. Cote” this Saturday, October 25 at the Allstate Arena in Chicago, Ill.
Although Fisher was originally slated to face slugger Melvin Guillard (21-7-2), the Team Miletich member will face a significantly different test in Gugerty, who has eight submission victories to his credit, the last of which came via rear naked choke in round one over previously undefeated Dale Hartt at UFC Fight Night 14 in July. It was both fighters’ UFC debut.