MACHIDA THE NEXT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CONTENDER?
Undefeated light heavyweight Lyoto Machida quietly entered the Ultimate Fighting Championship in December of 2006 as an asset of the defunct World Fighting Alliance and quickly became the dark horse of his weight division. Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz begrudgingly fought the last fight of his contract against Machida at UFC 84 in May and was sent packing by the Brazilian’s methodical attack. Casual fans finally took notice of Machida’s threat.
His methodical nature is a blessing and a curse. The UFC’s marquee division is short on undefeated contenders – everyone has a blemish on their record. But Machida’s patient, karate-infused style, along with his native Portugese tounge, has not made him an easy subject to market, or an easy fighter to book. He remains the aficionado’s choice of light heavyweights.
Machida’s next challenge is against Thiago Silva at UFC 89 on Oct. 18 in Birmingham, England. Silva, another wrecking ball of a Brazilian with Machida’s 13-0 record, has torn through all but one of his four UFC opponents with strikes. It’s a good fight for Machida, but manager Ed Soares said he expected his client to get a title shot after defeating Ortiz.
NOGUEIRA HANGING TUF, PREPARING FOR MIR
Season 8 of “The Ultimate Fighter” will be starting on Sept. 17 with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Frank Mir as coaches. This season will feature lightweights and light heavyweights looking to become the next emerging star in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Nogueira defeated Tim Sylvia back in February to become the interim UFC heavyweight champion and has not fought since. He will take his years of wisdom and experience and implement them to the fortunate members of his team this season. Helping with the coaching duties will be some of the best in the business as UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and top light heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida will be there to assist. “I'm sure you'll see them pop on there,” said Nogueira's manager, Ed Soares.
Nogueira has been involved in some of the most memorable match-ups in mixed martial arts history. His unbelievable victories over Bob Sapp and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic were some of the most exciting fights ever in the sport.
Sources: Couture versus Emelianenko targeted for early 2009
The long-rumored heavyweight superfight between UFC champion Randy Couture (16-8 MMA, 8-5 UFC) and WAMMA champion Fedor Emelianenko (28-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) is currently being discussed for an as-yet-unspecified date in January or February of 2009.
Sources inside Couture's Xtreme Couture camp today informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the ongoing negotiations between the UFC and both fighters.
The fight is far from a done deal. Many of the same issues that prevented Emelianenko from signing with the UFC during previous negotiations must still be ironed out. But it appears that the UFC and representatives for both Couture and Emelianenko are working towards bringing the two legends together for a Feb. 2 bout.
Climbing Back: MMAmania.com exclusive UFC 88 interview with Dan Henderson
When I caught up with Henderson, he shed some light on his fight with Silva, his upcoming opponent, and the reasons he misses PRIDE.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): I first wanted to get your take on the whole middleweight/light heavyweight thing. I’ve read on more than one occasion that you reportedly would prefer fighting at 205. Is this true?
Dan Henderson: Well, I prefer not to cut weight, and I compete just as well there as I do at 185, so …
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): So it’s just because cutting weight sucks?
Dan Henderson: Well, I have fun fighting no matter what. But I do just as well at 205 as I do at 185. So yeah … just cutting weight isn’t the funnest thing to do.
Adam Wagner (MMAmania.com): Did the UFC ask you to stay at middleweight for the time being?
Dan Henderson: No, they didn’t ask. I told them that I wanted to try to get a rematch with Anderson Silva. So they left me down at that weight class, but they didn’t give me an opponent that would expedite that … just because nobody knows him. Not because he’s not tough, just because nobody knows him.
Couture vs. Lesnar in November?
Various online reports in recent days have surfaced claiming that disgruntled UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture has been involved in negotiations with Zuffa about a possible return to the promotion.
Adding additional fuel to those reports is Michael Rome of BloodyElbow.com, who reported Friday that he had confirmed negotiations are indeed taking place between Couture and the UFC. And as first mentioned by FiveOuncesOfPain.com on Thursday, Rome also adds that Couture’s first fight back with the company could take place at UFC 91 on November 15 in Portland, Oregon against Brock Lesnar. It is unclear whether the Couture vs. Lesnar fight would have a title at stake.
Arum Flogs the UFC
As he was finishing up his promotion of the Miguel Cotto-Antonio Margarito fight, which by all accounts was a nice success for his company (Top Rank Inc.), boxing promoter Bob Arum was heard to say, “It’s tough selling tickets in this economy. The UFC guys say they sell out but that’s bullshit. What they do is give away the tickets and pay the 4% tax so they can say it’s sold out. Trust me, it’s not.”
Arum made reference to what he said was the UFC’s “business model,” which included not only misrepresenting the ticket sales for the sake of image, but also its monopolistic practices.
Henderson on Comeback Trail
Just a year ago, Dan Henderson was sitting on top of the MMA world. He was the only fighter to ever simultaneously hold two title belts, the PrideFC 185-pound and 205-pound crowns. In a short 12-month span, Henderson has since lost his last two bouts, as well as both of his titles in the process. Henderson now looks to get his career back on the winning track at the tender age of 38.
After the UFC officially purchased PrideFC nearly two years ago, they brought Henderson and his two titles over to unify the belts. Unfortunately for Henderson, instead of solidifying his status as the king in both divisions, he found himself searching for answers.
“I don’t think anyone else has had as tough a first two fights back in the UFC as I have, and that’s the way I prefer it,” Henderson stated. “I want to fight the best in the world, to test my skills and see how I am. You win some, you lose some—unfortunately, I’ve lost the last two. I’m definitely going out there this fight [with Palhares] to win and take nothing less than winning.”
Evans Ready for Battle with Iceman
Rashad Evans is spoiling for a fight. The unbeaten light-heavyweight has not seen action since November, with injuries to possible opponents playing havoc with his schedule.
Evans' wait will be over Sept. 6 in Atlanta, when the mixed martial arts fighter, winner of Season 2 ofThe Ultimate Fighterreality TV show, faces off against MMA icon and former champion Chuck "The Iceman" Liddell at UFC 88: Breakthrough.
"A lot of unfortunate circumstances happened. But it only makes you stronger as a fighter," Evans said of his recent bumpy road. "It tests your will.
"I've been training since, man, since the beginning of the year. I've been training for a while for this fight."
Initially, Evans was preparing for a May bout with Brazilian Thiago Silva. Then he was brought in to replace the injured Mauricio "Shogun" Rua against Liddell at UFC 85: bedlam in London on June 7. But that fell by the wayside when Liddell tore his hamstring training in April. James "Sandman" Irvin was brought in as a replacement opponent, but then broke his foot.
"Roller-coaster, man," Evans said. "It's just been crazy. It's kind of disheartening at times.
"You just have to constantly readjust your focus and keep your eyes on the prize and know that it's just a business. Sometimes it's like that."
Evans eventually dropped off the UFC 85: Bedlam bill totally, taking a two-week break to rest his body. Then it was back to training - and biding his time until Liddell was healthy again.
Hardy: ''I'll stop Gono In two Rounds
Dan Hardy expects to stop PRIDE FC veteran Akihiro Gono inside two rounds when they meet at UFC 89 in October.
Hardy will be making his UFC debut at the event, which will take place in Birmingham, around an hour’s drive from his home city of Nottingham.
Addressing Gono via his blog, Hardy wrote: “Birmingham is a long way to travel to from Japan just to get your backside kicked in two rounds!”
Hardy is not being disrespectful towards Gono – he knows that the Japanese fighter represents a tough test.
“That the UFC is putting me in the Octagon with a fighter as respected as Gono in my very first fight with them tells me that they know I've got the potential to go a long way,” he says.
Original "TUF" cast member Alex Schoenauer expects return to UFC
Xtreme Couture light heavyweight Alex Schoenauer (14-9 MMA, 0-1 UFC), a cast member on the original season of "The Ultimate Fighter," may soon be stepping back into the octagon.
The IFL veteran recently signed with the WEC as a late replacement for Mark Munoz in a Sept. 10 WEC 36 bout against Steve Steinbeiss.
Schoenauer today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that it is the first of several planned bouts under the Zuffa LLC banner.
"I believe it's a five-fight deal," Schoenauer said. "Only one is with the WEC and the rest are supposed to be with the UFC. [The WEC] is supposed to be moving all of the 205 (pounders) from the WEC to the UFC. This is supposedly their last 205 (pound) show."
BloodyElbow.com Exclusive: Randy Couture Update
I've spoken with a lot of people about Randy Couture in the last day. Things are definitely happening.
First, I can say with 100% certainty that there are current negotiations for Randy Couture to return in November to main event, and that the current proposed opponent is Brock Lesnar. They can't get Fedor, too many issues to work out on short notice, and he has a US-only non compete with Affliction.
UFC 91 - Cheick Kongo ruled out with shoulder injury
French UFC heavyweight contender, Cheick Kongo, who was last seen in action at UFC 87, knocking out debutant Dan Evensen in the first round, has been ruled out of action for a number of months with a shoulder injury.
Kongo is said to have suffered the injury before his last outing and fought through the pain but will now go under the surgeons knife ruling him out for the rest of the year.
This was originally confirmed on ESPN's MMA Live
UFC 88: Martin Kampmann finds no weaknesses in Nate Marquardts game
“Most of the guys I’ve fought, I’ve been able to pinpoint a weakness in their game. Not with Nate. He is very well rounded, and one of best guys in the UFC. It’s going to be tough, but I am looking forward to it…. Before I was injured, I was supposed to fight in a main event. I got injured and was out for over a year, and people forgot about me. It was a long time out. Now, it’s time to fight my way back and remind people of who I am.”
Martin Kampmann heaps praise on his opponent, Nate Marquardt, at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., on September 6. The article has some great background on “The Hitman” and his journey from competing in small European shows to the Octagon. He also goes into great details about the catastrophic knee injury that nearly cost him his fighting career.
UFC Quick Quote: Chuck Liddell is on a mission
“He finds a way to win. He’s done a good job controlling his fights. He’s good on top, and he moves well on his feet. He’s elusive and hard to hit, but I’m going to see if I can catch him…. I’m on a mission to get my title back and end my career on a streak of wins. I’m in shape, and I’m going to keep throwing like I do. The knockout power is still there.”
– Former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell provides Sherdog.com with a quick and accurate scouting report of his upcoming opponent at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” on September 6, Rashad Evans. It’s the main event fight at the Philips Arena in Atlanta, Ga., earning the winner — especially if it’s Liddell — a likely title shot against Forrest Griffin perhaps before the year is even out. It’s a major contrast in styles — Liddell is the striker and Evans is the wrestler. And it will likely come down to who can execute the proper gameplan on fight night. There’s really no mystery involved … unless “Sugar” somehow “catches” the “Iceman” first.
Randy Couture willing to fight in the UFC once more
Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture could return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship by year's end as part of an out-of-court settlement with the organization.
Multiple sources close to the fighter, speaking exclusively to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), today said that Couture is willing to fight once more for the UFC, possibly before the end of the year, as a potential resolution to his ongoing legal battles with the fight promotion.
However, Couture himself could not be reached for comment, and it's unknown if the UFC is even considering the offer at this point.
According to one source, as part of Couture's concession to return the octagon, the 45-year-old UFC hall-of-famer would want to walk away "clear and free" from the organization after the bout.