Saturday, April 30, 2011
Jake Shields has been just about unbeatable in smaller promotions around the world. Riding a 15-fight win streak that dates back to 2005, Shields finally arrives in the biggest of spots at UFC 129 and it's like he's starting all over again.
Shields was a champion at welterweight and even jumped to middleweight to pick up a couple of wins recently, but now he's stepping into the cage with the guy most fans and media folks believe is top two in the world pound-for-pound. The betting odds reflect the immense amount of respect bettors and fans have for GSP and their general lack of awareness of Shields. Las Vegas sports books have installed St-Pierre as a massive 5-to-1 favorite.
UFC 129 betting odds (Courtesy Lagasse's Stadium Las Vegas):
Best plays in bold
Jake Shields (+350) vs. *Georges St. Pierre (-500) - UFC Welterweight title
Mark Hominick (+375) vs. *Jose Aldo (-550) - UFC Featherweight title
Mark Bocek (+110) vs. Ben Henderson (-140) - Lightweight
Rory MacDonald (-115) vs. Nate Diaz (-115) - Welterweight
Sean Pierson (+160) vs. Jake Ellenberger (-190) - Welterweight
Daniel Roberts (+120) vs. Claude Patrick (-150) - Welterweight
Charlie Valencia (+140) vs. Ivan Menjivar (-170) - Bantamweight
Ryan Jensen (-110) vs. Jason MacDonald (-120) - Middleweight
Kyle Watson (+120) vs. John Makdessi (-150) - Welterweight
Pablo Garza (+140) vs. Yves Jabouin (-170) - Featherweight
Vladimir Matyushenko (Even) vs. Jason Brilz (-130) - Light heavyweight
You can watch UFC 129 on PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) right here on Yahoo! Sports.
Today's festivities take place at Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto and begin at 4 p.m. ET (1 p.m. PT). A Q&A session with all seven current UFC champions precedes the weigh-ins and streams live at 3:15 p.m. ET.
In addition to the video stream, you can get live updates in our text-only results post on the MMAjunkie.com homepage.
This latest gem doesn't sound like Nick Diaz is "playing the game." as Dana White requested last year.
Outside the cage, that means the Strikeforce welterweight champ, has to show up for drug tests and fulfill some of his media responsibilities. Do that and there could be huge paydays awaiting him in the UFC. Oh, and one more thing ... don't sign boxing contracts.
The constantly displeased Diaz told HDNet there's no one for him to fight in Strikeforce and his life is a living hell. His trainer Cesar Gracie says the MMA star has signed a deal to fight former world champion boxer Fernando Vargas in September. Gracie says the Diaz camp is just waiting for Vargas, 33, to sign the contract.
Update - Camp Diaz says the Vargas fight is off:
"We were talking about Vargas, but the thing is, I just came under some information that Vargas apparently has some kind of medical issue where he's not able to pass the test any more, and he could be retiring," Gracie said. "Vargas was very interested, but unfortunately, if he can't pass the test, he can't pass the test."
Gracie says now Diaz wants to fight Jeff Lacy.
This is all an interesting development since Scott Coker has basically indicated Diaz can't box while under contract with Strikeforce.
Vargas claims he's making a comeback and told ESPN.com's Brett Okamoto in January that he had his weight down to 187 pounds. If his goal is to make a run at a world title again, why would Vargas risk his reputation by fighting someone from the MMA world? Who wants to bet this "dream" fight never comes off?
Jason "Mayhem" Miller, a veteran of Strikeforce and DREAM and the star of MTV's "Bully Beatdown" has signed a multi-fight deal with the UFC after his Strikeforce deal expired, as reported by MMA Fighting and confirmed by Miller's Twitter account.
He plans to fight in the UFC's middleweight division:
"I will beat the brakes off most of the guys in the middleweight divisions in the UFC," he said. "I guaran-damn-tee it."
Miller hasn't fought since a DREAM win over the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba in September 2010. His last Strikeforce bout was a year ago in Nashville. He won over Tim Stout, then jumped in the cage after Jake Shields' win, sparking a brawl resulted in suspensions. He has fought in the UFC before: one loss to now-welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre.
This is the first big signing of a former Strikeforce fighter since Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, bought Strikeforce. At the time of the purchase, UFC president Dana White said that business would continue as usual and that the UFC and Strikeforce would continue to compete for fighters. Miller's contract had expired, and he hadn't had any Strikeforce fights in more than a year.
Many of the UFC's top middleweights are already tied up with fights, so it will be interesting to see where they will slot Miller first. Do you think they should challenge him with a top middleweight? Or bring him back into the fold slowly? Tell us in the comments or on Facebook.
Friday, April 29, 2011
The UFC announced the change to the card on Wednesday night.
"Kid Yamamoto has withdrawn from his May 28 bout vs Chris Cariaso due to injury," said UFC President Dana White. "In his place will be UFC's youngest fighter and one of its most exciting, Michael McDonald, who is coming off a recent Fight of The Night performance. Chris Cariaso carries a great record of his own with a fast style and he plans on cementing his place in the bantamweight division with a win over the highly touted prospect. Both have verbally agreed to the fight."
McDonald's Fight of the Night victory came against Edwin Figueroa at UFC Fight Night 24 last month, his first fight in the UFC. The win also marked his fifth straight, and brought the exciting 20-year-old's record to 12-1. There's no word if he's being pulled from a scheduled UFC 133 bout with Nick Pace, though that will likely be the case.
Cariaso entered the UFC in January at UFC Fight for the Troops 2, bouncing back from a loss on the final WEC card to earn a decision victory over Will Campuzano. That win pushed his career record to 11-2, including a 2-1 mark under the Zuffa banner.
Yahoo! Sports' newest blog Eh Game spotted one particular downer to Randy Couture's retirement. It'll mean an end to his relationship with the Canadian National Lacrosse League team the Edmonton Rush.
But don't freak out Rush fans you'll still have a piece of Couture in 2011.
Eh Game's Andrew McKay says Rush owner Bruce Urban doesn't want to let go of Couture, so at the Capital Monster Truck Show in July at Rexall Place, Couture will be a truck. That is cool.
It's also a big positive for MMA. We've been searching for a good story involving a monster truck. The last time a big rig and fighter were mentioned in the same sentence came after Quinton "Rampage" Jackson's binge on energy drink.
Couture and his chain of gyms, Xtreme Couture, have worked together with the Rush since 2009. During his recent fights, Couture wore the Rush logo on his shorts while the lacrosse players wore the gym's logo on their uniforms. Couture, with that Rush logo in place, is expected to close out his career tomorrow night at UFC 129 against Lyoto Machida.
You can watch UFC 129 on PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) right here on Yahoo! Sports.
If you were worried about missing the atmosphere of 55,000 fans at Rogers Centre next weekend, you'll get a pretty good feel for it across three platforms. In addition to seven guaranteed fights on pay-per-view and Spike, the UFC announced all five of the remaining undercard fights will stream free on the UFC Facebook page.
Nate Diaz vs. Rory MacDonald
Jake Ellenberger vs. Sean Pierson
Claude Patrick vs. Daniel Roberts
Ivan Menjivar vs. Charlie Valencia
Jason MacDonald vs. Ryan Jensen
John Makdessi vs. Kyle Watson
Pablo Garza vs. Yves Jabouin
Don't forget you can watch UFC 129 on PPV right here on Yahoo! Sports.
Tom Wright, the UFC Director of Canadian Operations, revealed Wednesday that a few hundred more seats may be made available for UFC 129 later this week. How many tickets does Canada need? Wow! The crazy Canadian fans blew out 42,000 seats at the Rogers Centre in record time and then quickly scooped up an additional allotment of 13,000. That means the only way to get into the giant baseball/football stadium now is the secondary market.
Seat Geek gave Yahoo! Sports these notes on the current ticket situation:
- Tickets are averaging $336 for the sold out event.
- This is a 25% increase over 128 in Newark which averaged $270.
- The "get in" price for UFC 129 is $111 for tickets in the mezzanine.
- Seats by the cage are going for up to $5,000
The Toronto Globe and Mail says the overall economic impact of UFC 129 in town could be huge. The Toronto Star's Cathal Kelly is on the other side telling fans don't bother. He can't fathom paying $800 to see a fight.
You can watch UFC 129 on PPV (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) right here on Yahoo! Sports.
BELLATOR 41 RESULTS: Warren takes controversial decision, Freire and Strauss advance to featherweight tourney finals
Taking on Marcos Galvao, Warren was most assuredly down two rounds to none heading into the third round, where he took Galvao down and worked effectively enough to take the final frame. But after getting numerous takedowns stuffed and taking a high level of blows from Galvao in their 137 lb. catchweight "superfight," it looked like Warren would lose for the first time in the Bellator cage.
The judges had something else to say about that, handing down scores of 30-27, 29-28, and 29-28, all in favor of the Champion.
The night's other non-title "superfight" saw Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zack Makovsky earn the first knockout win of his career over Chad Robichaux. Both fighters were looking for submissions early and often, but in the third round, Makovsky took Robichaux out with a series of strikes.
The season four Bellator Featherweight Tournament finals are now set, and for the second time Patricio "Pitbull" Freire has advanced to the finals of a Bellator tournament. In a rematch of the season two featherweight tournament semifinals, Freire took on Wilson Reis. After two fairly even rounds, Freire and Reis began trading punches in the third. That was a mistake for Reis, as Freire battered him with pinpoint strikes, finally knocking him out with a vicious combination against the cage.
A third stoppage on the card saw Daniel Strauss lock on a fight-ending guillotine choke on Kenny Foster in the third round of their fight, sending Strauss to the finals to meet Freire. Their season four finals bout will take place later this season.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
QUOTABLES: Pat Barry on doubting himself after win over Joey Beltran, preparing for groin shots from Cheick Kongo
[It] made me rethink every interview I've ever done where I'm like, 'If I punch you it's like getting shot, and kicking is like a grenade.' Nope. Apparently not. Standing across from Joey Beltran will make you doubt yourself. If this was UFC 1, with no time limit, Joey Beltran, 'The Mexecutioner,' would be the champion of the universe. Joey Beltran will kick your a** in 57 minutes...
[UFC matchmaker] Joe Silva called me real cool and casual. We were talking and he was like, 'So what do you think of Cheick Kongo?' I was like, 'Man, I don't care about Cheick Kongo. He ain't been performing. He ain't been doing his thing.' Then he was like, 'Okay good, you're going to fight him on [June] 26.' That's when I felt like, oh sh-t. Aw, man. I need more time...
He has been kneeing a lot of guys in the groin, a lot of testicle shots and all that. But the upside to that for me is, I only have one and it's really little. It hasn't even dropped yet, so there."
-Pat Barry talks to MMAFighting.com about his fight with Joey Beltran in January making him question his abilities, as well as his thoughts on his upcoming opponent, Cheick Kongo.
Penick's Analysis: Barry was hitting Beltran with everything he had, and Beltran's ability to take punishment was quite impressive. It says more about Beltran and his toughness, I believe, than it does about Barry's power or ability, but mentally it was clearly trying on Barry. His fight with Kongo should be another entertaining heavyweight scrap, where both will be looking to hurt the other on the feet. If Barry can avoid any unnecessary groin-area damage, he may be in good shape to pick up the biggest win of his career. It won't be an easy fight, and Kongo is a very tough opponent, but it should be a good test for Barry either way.
Nick Diaz could have some success in boxing. He wouldn't have nearly the success that he enjoys in MMA, though. Perhaps he craves a new challenge, though. One of the reasons Diaz gave for not seeing a future for himself in MMA is money. Hell, I have no problem with that, who doesn't want more money? Everyone wants to get paid. The reality, though, is that Diaz will likely make more money fighting in MMA than he would in boxing. The main reason for that is that he'll be more successful in MMA than in boxing.
Right now the UFC has to deal with the headache Nick Diaz is creating by his comments and actions. To borrow a phrase from Woody Paige, I'm solutions-oriented and here's what I would do. The UFC should sign Nick Diaz to fight Georges St. Pierre, regardless of what happens in GSP's fight against Jake Shields.
If GSP beats Shields, you have a Welterweight Title unification bout. We all know this is where things are headed after Zuffa bought Strikeforce anyway, why not have it now? Even if GSP loses to Shields, I would still sign GSP vs. Diaz. GSP would need to earn his way to a title shot, and what better way to do that then to have him fight for the Strikeforce Welterweight Title? Can anyone name someone who deserves a shot at the Strikeforce Welterweight Title more?
I know this is dicey, as Diaz and Shields wouldn't fight each other, but I don't think it would even be an issue because I think that GSP can beat either one very handily.
Giving Nick Diaz a fight against GSP will placate Diaz because it would be the biggest fight of his career, both athletically and financially. It would also give GSP a new opponent to face, rather than a rematch against someone he's already dominated.
The UFC is going to run an event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in August. Royce Gracie has stated that he wishes to fight at this card. Art Jimmerson and Dan Severn have both publicly challenged Gracie to a fight at this card. If Gracie wants to fight another legend, that's cool. It'd be a nice throwback to his glory days, and it's a special occasion. If I had to choose an opponent from Jimmerson and Severn, I would definitely choose Severn. It's been a long time since Jimmerson fought while Severn just fought in February and is scheduled to fight two more times in the next few months.
I think a Severn vs. Gracie fight would be a good old school moment for the UFC. I'm for it, as long as it doesn't happen too often. It should be reserved for certain times and events, and only with fighters who are in shape to compete. Having two UFC legends collide would be a nice addition to a pay-per-view, though it should be the third fight in a triple main event card. It's nice to look back sometimes, but you also have to keep looking forward.
Comments and suggestions can be sent to me at email@example.com
– The April 25 episode of WWE Tough Enough garnered a big 1.73 (1.7) cable rating, up from 1.54 (1.5) the previous week. The show averaged 2.45 million viewers overall. The replay following RAW drew a 1.09 (1.1) cable rating, with 1,535,000 viewers.
– The April 23 episode of A.M. RAW scored a ...
The trio joins host Mauro Ranallo in studio to discuss Saturday's historic UFC 129 event.
Watch a live video stream of the show, or listen on Sirius Satellite Radio channel 98 beginning at 7 p.m. ET (4 p.m. PT). You can submit any questions to the panel with the hashtag #StateofMMA on Twitter.
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
MMA's in its infant stages in Ontario, but the Canadian province won't have the chance to grow slowly and work out any issues below the radar. After debuting the sport with events that drew around 5,000 last month, this weekend Toronto hosts a UFC event with 55,000 in attendance and the MMA world watching. Will everything be up to snuff with the officiating inside and out of the Octagon?
Yahoo!'s lead MMA writer Kevin Iole joined us to talk about the referees assigned to the event and how the ringside officials will handle different situations during the card.
Check out what happened during the MFC 29 fight in Ontario between Marcus Davis and Curtis DeMarce. There was a little confusion about getting doctors into the cage during round three. You'll also see fighters being allowed to use towels and wipe their own faces (9:05 mark). That's a no-no. It also took roughly 35 seconds for doctors to get into the cage and then 1:53 for the fight to restart.
The key to things running smoothly revolves primarily around the referees judges. Ontario has gone above and beyond to bring in some of the best refs MMA has to offer. John McCarthy, Herb Dean, Dan Miragliotta and Yves Lavigne will work the event.
Urijah Faber is not a fan of the UFC bantamweight champ, Dominick Cruz, so it's helpful that they are fighting on July 2 at UFC 132. Unfortunately, that's more than two months away, so they have to express their animosity in some way, like YouTube videos.
The pair last fought in 2007 at featherweight. Faber won with a first-round submission, but has expressed his dislike for the "not-that-cool" Cruz many times. If it's like this months out from the fight, it's going to be a fun ride to UFC 132.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Hieron vs. Hawn welterweight finals coming to Bellator 43, Chandler vs. Freire lightweight finals at Bellator 44
The Hieron vs. Hawn bout will determine the first challenger to Ben Askren's Welterweight Championship. Bellator 33 takes place from the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Okla. on May 7, airing live on MTV2.
Hieron made it to the finals with victories over Anthony Lapsley and Brent Weedman to bring his current winning streak to nine fights. Hawn, meanwhile, moved his undefeated record to 11-0 with wins over Jim Wallhead and inaugural Bellator Welterweight Champion Lyman Good.
Chandler and Freire face off in the finals of the third Bellator lightweight tournament, and the winner will challenge Eddie Alvarez during season five. Their bout takes place May 14 from Caesars Atlantic City in Atlantic City, N.J. Chandler advanced to the finals with wins over Marcin Held and Lloyd Woodard, while Freire blasted through both "Razor" Rob McCullough and two-time tournament finalist Toby Imada.
In the first light heavyweight semifinal fight of the night, Christian M?Pumbu secured his spot in the finals with a dramatic first-round TKO over Tim Carpenter. The two sparred for the first few minutes until M?Pumbu dropped Carpenter with devastating right hands for the victory. The referee quickly stepped in, stopping the fight and sending the Democratic Republic of Congo native to the light heavyweight finals. <Br><Br>
Vying for the chance to face M?Pumbu in the light heavyweight finals, DJ ?The Prot�ge? Linderman and Richard ?Rare Breed? Hale took to the cage for the night?s second light heavyweight semifinal fight. In Round 1 action, the pair stood and banged with Linderman appearing to be the aggressor. The ref stopped the fight for a moment in Round 2 citing an accidental illegal groin hit by Hale. After the pause, a pumped Linderman landed a series of straight lefts but found himself on the wrong side of superman punch by Hale. In Round 3, Linderman persistenly attempted to take the bigger Hale down. Hale, however, managed to counter, taking the full mount. Hale tried to end the fight throughout Round 3 with rear-naked choke attempts but was unable to seal the deal. The third round resurgence by Hale impressed the judges who awarded him the victory via split decision. <Br><Br>
?Bellator 42 was a great night of fights with spectacular performances by M?Pumbu and Hale to advance to our first-ever Bellator Light Heavyweight Finals,? said Bellator Chairman and CEO Bjorn Rebney. ?The season continues to produce amazing MMA for fans and the MTV2 audience.? <Br><Br>
In a non-title featherweight feature fight, Ronnie ?Kid Ninja? Mann faced Oklahoma native Josh Arocho. Throughout the fight, Arocho initiated takedowns but Mann?s defense takedown was too much. Mann dominated much of the fight from the top position issuing relentless ground and pound and taking full advantage of elbows, which were allowed under the uniform rules of MMA. The fight went the distance, but it was evident that Mann ran the show. The judges all agreed, awarding Ronni Mann the victory via unanimous decision. <Br><Br>
Jared Hess, who tore his LCL in the Bellator Welterweight World Championships against Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 20 made a triumphant return in a non-title local feature fight against Chris Bell. For MMA fans, the wait was worth it as Hess locked in a tight triangle choke ending the fight at 1:40 in Round 1. <Br><Br>
The also saw Brazilian Luta-Livre fighter Luiz ?Betao? Nogueira meeting Oklahoma native Jerod Spoon in a bantamweight feature fight. Nogueira controlled the tempo of the fight with tight, efficient boxing and several takedowns. Going the distance, the judges awarded Nogueira the victory via unaminous decision. <Br><Br>
Official Main Card Results:<Br><Br>
Light Heavyweight Semifinal Fight: Richard Hale def. D.J. Linderman by Split Decision [29-28, 29-28, 29-28]<Br>
Light Heavyweight Semifinal Fight: Christian M?Pumbu def. Tim Carpenter by TKO (2:08 Round 1) <Br>
Special Featherweight Feature Fight: Ronnie Mann def. Josh Arocho def. by Unanimous Decision [30-25, 30-27, 30-27]<Br>
Televised Local Feature Fight: Luiz "Betao" Nogueira def. Jerod Spoon def. by Unanimous Decision [30-27, 29-28, 29-28]<Br><Br>
For more information, visit Bellator.com, follow Bellator on Twitter @BellatorMMA or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Bellator
According to a report from MMAJunkie.com, Escovedo will now meet Renan Barao on the May 28 card after Barao's initial opponent Demetrious Johnson was moved up the card to meet Miguel Torres.
Escovedo was the first Featherweight Champion in WEC history, and went 6-2 in eight fights in the organization prior to it being purchased by Zuffa in 2006. However, he has never appeared in a Zuffa owned organization.
He lost the title to Urijah Faber, and dropped consecutive fights after that to Jens Pulver and Antonio Banuelos. Since then, however, he's won six of eight fights. Most recently, he bounced back from two consecutive losses to Michael McDonald and Michihiro Omigawa with a submission win in a regional promotion in Utah.
Barao only loss came in his very first fight, and has since won 25 of 26 fights with one no contest. This is also his UFC debut, though he's won two fights under the Zuffa banner with consecutive submission wins in the WEC in 2010.
UFC 130 takes place from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on May 28, headlined by the UFC Lightweight Championship rematch between Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard.
Link to Original Source Article
Penick's Analysis: This is a good late replacement fight for this card. Escovedo hasn't gotten much exposure on a major level in the U.S., and this is a big opportunity for him. Barao is a legitimately dangerous and talented opponent, however, and this will be a very tough fight for him. Still, on a month's notice this is a good fight to make.
Randy Couture would make Frank Sinatra, and just about every other former fighter proud. The 47-year-old MMA legend wants to go out "his way" and not on terms set by anyone else. Tuesday during the UFC 129 prefight teleconference, he repeated his claim that he's done, following his fight versus Lyoto Machida.
"It's been an ongoing transition for me," Couture told the media. "I kind of want to go out on my own terms and decide when enough is enough. I think that time has come."
"I think it's time to focus on the other things going on in my life after this fight," Couture said. "And I've pushed it pretty far. I don't think anybody is going to push it as far as I have the last 14 years."
Even if he wanted to change his mind, Couture's schedule sounds like it's booked through the fall of 2011. He begins filming a new movie "Hijacked" in late May and then it's back with Sylvester Stallone for the "Expendables II" in September.
Couture has no plans of filing some sort of official retirement papers, but indicated he won't be talked back into the cage after this one.
"I'm sure that they're probably gonna have ideas for other fights. They're gonna try and entice me into coming back and fighting again. And I anticipate all those decisions. I see myself hopefully being with Zuffa and getting involved with them in some other way, shape or form."
Couture said he's healthy now and doesn't want doctors telling him he can't fight any longer.
He sounds interested in becoming part of the UFC's broadcast team down the road. With the number of events UFC/Strikeforce is going to be putting on around the world, that's a great idea. Couture's transition to the booth may not be the best news for some of the current announcers employed by Zuffa and Showtime.
Monday, April 25, 2011
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The opinions are swirling on who comes out on top when Rashad Evans and Jon Jones step into the Octagon. The former teammates are on a collision course after Evans decided to leave, the only team he's known, Jackson's Submission Fighting in Albuquerque. Evans, who will challenge Jones for his UFC light heavyweight title, is training with camps in both Denver and Florida.
When we stopped by Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas to talk about this teammate versus teammate thing, the grappling coach Neil Melanson surprised us by saying he'd like to get Evans to Vegas.
"I feel my style of coaching is perfect for him," Melanson said (3:15 mark). "He's a wrestler and I've got a lot of experience with the wrestlers here. I think I can help him. He's really good already, but I would like to see him finish and I know he can finish on the ground."
From talking to some folks around Xtreme Couture it sounds like Jones' favorite status at minus-500 is a bit out of whack. Plenty of folks think he's got a good shot at taking the strap from the phenom.
The film, which just had its world premiere at the renowned Tribeca Film Festival, is a step forward not only for Silva, but for mixed martial arts, which too often depends on manufactured drama as a selling point for its main events. Director Pablo Croce strips away any pretense and gives a three-dimensional look at the human side of one of MMA's signature athletes. In a sport that is often depicted as cartoonish or dismissed as a B-level fad by surface-grazing mainstream media, it is one of the first layered, mature examinations of a top fighter and his world. For some, it might come as a revelation that fighters are real people with real lives.
Central to the drama is Silva as a family man. For the Sonnen camp, he left Brazil for two months to live in Los Angeles and train with Team Black House. To do that, he leaves behind his family -- his wife, three sons and two daughters -- and spends much of the time pining for them. At one point before the Sonnen fight, he is asked what his goal is. "To come back home in one piece," he says without hesitation. For a champion at the top of his game, in the midst of a record title run, it's a candid admission, one rooted in his love of family, noting that to them, winning or losing is not important. "To them, I will always be champion," he says.
Mike Swick, Phil Baroni and Roger Huerta may seem like strange bedfellows, but they have one thing in common - their mixed martial arts careers have taken turns for the worse. Baroni and Huerta have had trouble evolving and keeping up with the competition while Swick has battled a variety of health issues.
During his down time, Swick's a huge world traveler and loves to chronicle his adventures on video. His latest sojourn included Huerta and Baroni during a trip to Thailand.
The fighters learned how to handle a cobra, then watched a handler kill the snake and cook it up. If that wasn't insane enough, two of the fighters did shots of cobra blood (NSFW - language).
Sunday, April 24, 2011
That comes according to Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who says that while no opponent is yet scheduled, they're targeting the July card for Souza's return.
Souza captured the vacant title in August of last year, defeating Tim Kennedy by decision after Jake Shields jumped ship to the UFC. He then met Robbie Lawler in January, submitting him by rear naked choke in the third round of their bout.
With no opponent yet set, Strikeforce does have a couple of names on the roster that are likely at the top of the list, both of whom would be rematches for Souza in Kennedy and Jason "Mayhem" Miller. The Kennedy fight would be the more likely candidate, as the 31-year-old rebounded from his loss to Souza with a win over Melvin Manhoef in March, while Souza has shown no interest in a rematch with Miller, a man he's faced twice already.
Link to Original Source Article
Penick's Analysis: Middleweight is another division that would benefit from some crossover fights at the top now that Strikeforce is under Zuffa management. Souza just beat Kennedy last August, but Kennedy is the best candidate to be given that shot right now on Strikeforce's roster. Souza said earlier this year he wasn't the least bit interested in fighting Miller again, but the UFC sending someone over from the mid to top tier of their division would be excellent, and would give Souza a fresh matchup. It's looking more and more likely that it's not going to happen yet, but it would solve this problem.
This castle is quite the chameleon. Not only did it go from stunning architectural gem to modern ruin, but it's filled...
That knockout loss, coupled with one 14 months prior to that fight to Frank Mir at UFC 92, as well as a series of injuries that have forced him to undergo both hip and knee surgery, have led to Nogueira being fairly written off in the division. Despite the fact that he's only 34 years old, the many battles he's been through in his career have him seemingly aging much further as far as his fighting career is concerned.
However, his manager Ed Soares, in comments made to MMAWeekly.com this week, warns against writing "Minotauro" off, and expects to see the one-time Interim UFC Heavyweight Champion surprise everyone upon a return being targeted for late summer or early fall.
"His recovery, his therapy is getting really good," Soares said. "His physical therapy, he's doing really, really well. He's walking better than he's walked since I've known him. They fixed a lot of his injuries, and he's recovering very, very well."
"He's hungry. He wants to get back in there. A lot of people in the world, and a lot of people in the MMA world, think 'oh Nogueira has had it, his best days are behind him,' but I think people are going to be surprised when they see how well and how prepared when Rodrigo comes back."
Though there remains a slight possibility of Nogueira's return coming in his home country of Brazil at UFC 134 in late August, Soares hints that it could be a little bit later than that.
"The number one thing on his mind is getting back in that Octagon and showing the world who Rodrigo Nogueira is," Soares said. "We're hoping by the end of summer, early fall [for his return]."
Link to Original Source Article
Penick's Analysis: Can Nogueira make a return to prominence in the division? It's hard to really make any real determinations on where he's at in his career. With two knockout losses in his last three fights, major knee and hip surgeries and an accumulation of damage perhaps unrivaled by any of his peers, it would be easy to say he's at the end of the line, with maybe just a few fights remaining before serious calls of retirement. At the same time, he's only 34 years old, and if the surgeries helped to get him back to as close to 100% as he's been in years, maybe, just maybe, he's got some of his old magic left in him and can find a way to make a run. He's already established his name and his legend in this sport, and it would be great to see him return to greatness, but it's certainly not the most likely thing we'll see.
[Antonio Nogueira art by Cory Gould (c) MMATorch.com]
Jose Aldo is as dominant as anyone in the sport right now. The 25-year-old Brazilian just about swept every round he's fought under Zuffa management. Is he that good or is that a sign that the 145-pound division is still very much a work-in-progress.
SB Nation's Luke Thomas is one media member who believes Aldo is a bit overrated, there are many more in the fight game who hold the same belief. One of them is trainer Shawn Tompkins, who'll be cornering Mark Hominick as he challenges Aldo later this month.
In this video with RawVegas.tv, Tompkins says Hominick is the first guy Aldo's faced in a long time who'll move forward. He also wonders how Aldo will deal with 55,000 enemy fans in Toronto.