Jitters Gone, 'Professor X' Ready For UFC 98
He certainly didn’t look it, but Xavier Foupa-Pokam says the UFC jitters got him at UFC 97.
“I was feeling very great in the locker-room, and just before the corridor to the path to the Octagon,” Foupa-Pokam told MMAWeekly.com. “Then, I started to feel tense and didn't fight the way I should have. I wasn't lucid; I was short of breath.”
Serra Vs Hughes Moves From Reality To Real
“I’ll tell you this for sure, I’ve got one more fight left in me. Matt Serra needs to come up with a game plan now. My wife wants it. I want it. And I know these fans want it, too.”
Such were the words of Matt Hughes nearly one year ago after losing to Thiago Alves at UFC 85. New week, on May 23 at UFC 98, that fight will finally happen. In reality, it's been much longer than a year in developing.
Thiago Alves on GSP: "I'm going to knock him out" and "shock the world"
Five rounds. Twenty-five minutes. Fifteen hundred seconds. July 11, 2009, will be the meeting of destiny for Thiago Alves.
The journey won't take long; that he assures you.
Inside a steel structure at UFC 100, a sellout audience of MMA fanatics and A-listers, along with millions watching in their homes and lined four-deep at sports bars, will have their eyes fixated on a young man from Fortaleza, Brazil. Across the octagon will be Alves' opponent, Georges St Pierre, a UFC welterweight champion in the prime of his career.
UFC's Pat Barry brings heavy blows
Pat Barry has the kind of concussive punching and kicking power that can take him a long way in the Ultimate Fighting Championship's heavyweight division, even if his cell phone is filled with voice mails and text messages telling him he's a fool to compete with the big boys of mixed martial arts.
He's 5 feet, 11¼ inches tall and weighs 230 pounds but is derided as a "midget" who would be better off fighting as a 205-pounder.
Barry, who may be the most brutally honest man in MMA this side of Dana White, doesn't believe he's too small to be a factor at heavyweight.
Matt Hughes Has An Empty Bag
Yes, even more pre-UFC 98 trash talk from Matt Serra. Speaking during an appearance on this past Monday's episode of Pro MMA Radio, Serra says the difference is he's training for the "old" Hughes and not the Hughes who's lost his last 2 fights and doesn't think Hughes "has it in the bag" like he thinks he does.
Lyoto Machida wants to test himself against Brock Lesnar
While Lyoto Machida is admittedly focused on his upcoming UFC light heavyweight championship match-up with Rashad Evans, and deservedly so, he recently revealed that a move up to the heavyweight division isn’t that far out of the picture.
If Machida wants to eventually challenge some like Lesnar he’s going to have to get past Evans first, something he is fully aware of.
“I don’t think about a fight at the heavyweight division, but I think about a challenge, maybe against the heavyweight champion,” revealed Machida in an interview with Tatame.com.
Changing styles: Frank Edgar UFC 98 interview
It’s hard to believe, but it’s been nearly a year since we last saw Frank Edgar inside the Octagon. And if he has it his way, we’re going to see a new and improved fighter at UFC 98. We’ll call it Frankie 2.0.
Tracing Edgar’s UFC career, you might not think this guy needs to change things up. He’s got a winning formula: he’s a four-time national-qualifying collegiate wrestler with great standup and a lot of flexibility (just ask Tyson Griffin).
UFC In Boston, MMA In Mass - One Step Closer
The Massachusetts Senate Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security last Monday approved the state’s first stand-alone piece of MMA legislation, passing it to the Senate Clerk after a unanimous vote.
The Clerk will next pass it to the Ways and Means Committee for a final review, or move it to the Senate floor for debate and a vote.
Matt Moran, Chief of Staff for James E. Timilty, the bill’s co-author and Security chair, said he expected it to go to Ways and Means. The committee oversees legislation with a fiscal impact on the state and votes on whether to pass them to the Senate floor.
While the original legislation passed the Ways and Means Committee last year, there was no timetable on a vote, said Moran.
Sean Sherk, Frank Edgar, Matt Serra clean in pre-UFC 98 drug tests
UFC 98 main card competitors Sean Sherk, Frankie Edgar and Matt Serra have all passed pre-event drug test administered by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer confirmed the results with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) following today's NSAC hearing at the Grant Sawyer State Office Building in Las Vegas.
Kizer also indicated the commission was still waiting on the results of a sample from Matt Hughes.
TUF 10 Coaches Likely To Be Rampage & Machida/Evans
An independent report has been confirmed indicating that the coaches for The Ultimate Fighter 10 will be the fighters in the next UFC Light Heavyweight Title showdown after UFC 98: Former champion Quinton Jackson and the current champion after the fight-either Rashad Evans or Ryoto (Lyoto) Machida. TUF 10 is expected to showcase heavier fighters.
The Man with Two Souls
A rising star in his ethnic home of South Korea -- and at once a celebrated and reviled athlete in Japan -- Yoshihiro Akiyama represents by far the UFC’s greatest East Asian acquisition to date. Though reaction to his signing was subdued in the West, hearing he had opted to sign with the American mixed martial arts juggernaut -- instead of landing with Sengoku or K-1 -- was big news for fans in Japan in South Korea.
“I did consider fighting in Japan, but because of my age and the notion that the major leagues are in the US, I felt that the major leagues of MMA was the UFC,” Akiyama says. “No one can really go to the UFC just because they want to. The chances are very limited. I received the offer, and since it was my dream to fight on a larger stage, everything all came together at the right time, and I decided to go.”
As one of the best talents raised in Japanese MMA, Akiyama seems more than worthy to step into the Octagon. However, pundits view Akiyama’s ancestry and celebrity as an ethnic Korean as the keys to Zuffa’s plans, should the company expand into South Korea. Akiyama’s stardom in that country extends beyond combat sports and borders on that of a bona fide pop star.
Surprisingly, Akiyama does not believe his heritage alone will help the UFC grow in Korea. In fact, he expresses reservations with the idea and voices concern over the pervasive and trite overemphasis on national and ethnic identity.
“I think a lot of people tend to focus too much on nationality, and when they try to assert or put me into either category [Korean or Japanese], I’m saddened by it,” he says. “A lot of ‘Zainichi’ Koreans (ethnic Koreans living in Japan) feel the same way -- where they don’t know if they’re Korean or if they’re Japanese.”
Like many ethnic Koreans born, raised and living in Japan, Akiyama has dealt with the difficulties of fitting into two cultures, under constant scrutiny and with little room for foreign inclusivity; the consequences can be seen in his struggles in judo and MMA over the past eight years. Nevertheless -- unlike his harshest critics and detractors -- he harbors no bitterness; that allows him to reconcile and appreciate both identities.