Wednesday, 29 February 2012
The seven top prospects will compete in upcoming Cage Warriors shows, 17 of which MMAjunkie.com streams live this year.
The list includes Mats Nilsson, Matteus Lahdesmaki, Diego Gonzalez, Brett Bassett, John Michael Sheil, Pavel Kusch and Vladimir Katyhin.
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer<Br><Br>
UFC Middleweight Brian Stann wasn't too happy about comments Michael Bisping made about his performance in his last fight and now wants a chance to show Bisping he was wrong in his assessment.<Br><Br>
Stann spoke to <a href=http://www.esnewsreporting.com/brian-stann-calls-out-michael-bisping/>EsNewsReporting</a> about Bisping and explained why he wants a chance to run through Bisping with his right hand:<Br><Br>
"Michael Bisping. I wouldn't try to anything but walk straight through him with a right hand. Here's the deal: I don't know Michael personally, sometimes I think he gets a bum rap and I've learned not to judge people off the media and things of that nature. After my last fight he had a few comments about my technique and who I was as a fighter that I thought were a little odd. He called me a 'white belt' and said that I was 'exposed' so I'd love to see him put his money where his mouth is. We can fight and we can solve that. He may be a great guy, I don't know, and maybe he is, but I would just like to compete against him since he made those comments."<br><br>
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UFC on FX 2's Joseph Benavidez believes it's only a matter of time before lighter weights catch on with more fans
The new lighter weight classes in featherweight and bantamweight have yet to fully take hold with the UFC's casual audience, and flyweights will have another tough battle ahead of them in gaining widespread acceptance as well. However, in Benavidez's case, he feels it's only a matter of time before fans come around.
"All this stuff happens with time," Benavidez said in an interview with Jonathan Snowden at BleacherReport.com. "Look at the UFC when it first started. Not everyone respected it like they do now as a sport. And those guys were big. People are used to seeing the 205 pounders and heavyweights because they've been around for awhile. This (the flyweight division) is new stuff. I think the more fans see it, the more they will respect it. There's no way you can watch one of our fights and not respect it....when it's all over, they'll probably end up favoring the smaller weight classes. Because the fights are so much more exciting and technical."
Benavidez faces Yasuhiro Urushitani in his first round matchup in the four-man tournament, while Demetrious Johnson takes on Ian McCall in the other semifinal bout. The winners will then square off later this year for the first ever UFC Flyweight Championship, and Benavidez sees this opportunity at 125 lbs. as a dream coming true.
"To be crowned the first flyweight champion. To be a UFC champion? That's a dream come true," Benavidez said. "That's been my goal since the very beginning. I have a picture of the UFC belt on my mantle. Just a photograph until I do get a real one. I look at it everyday. That's the dream.
"That belt is going to be the first of its kind. Talk about a legacy. That's a legacy all in itself. The first flyweight champion. That's something I'll always be able to look back on. Set out on the road for all the other flyweights to come. That would be huge."
Penick's Analysis: For a long time, Benavidez has been a fighter most have believed would benefit most from the flyweight division, with Johnson a close second. Benavidez came very close to capturing the WEC Bantamweight Title from Dominick Cruz, but in losing two razor-thin decisions to Cruz, and being teammates with Urijah Faber, there wasn't much room for advancement in the 135 lb. division. At 125 lbs., he's no longer going to be the smallest fighter every time out, and indeed he's expected to have success in this new class. A big performance against Urishitani is just the beginning, and if he can do that, his bout against either Johnson or McCall will make for a fantastic title fight.
FUEL TV officials today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com they'll air episodes from the show, which debuts March 25 on Globo in Brazil.
However, they haven't finalized what day of the week or what time the episodes will air.
Next week, the UFC will kick off start their flyweight division with a four-man tournament to crown the division's champion. At UFC on FX 2, Joe Benavidez will fight Yasuhiro Urushutani and Demetrious Johnson will face Ian McCall. The winners of those two bouts will meet at a later date to decide the UFC's first 125-lb. champ.
If either of the three-round bouts happen to end in a draw, MMA fans in Australia and those watching on FX will get a bonus: A sudden death round. Johnson talked about the possibility of an extra round to Tapout Radio (transcribed by Five Ounces):
"I don't know if anybody has said anything about it, and this is the first time I'm mentioning it, is that we (McCall and myself) had to sign for a 'sudden death' bout," Johnson said. "If it goes to three rounds, and the judges can't decide who the winner is, then we'll do a fourth round."
Though the likelihood of a draw is small, it does bring the possibility of one of the most exciting circumstances in sports to MMA. Sudden death is thrilling whether it's 10-year-olds playing basketball at the park district or professional football players deciding who is going to the Super Bowl.
The flyweights will already bring a pace that UFC fans have not yet seen in the Octagon, but also the possibility of sudden death.
Oh is that Henry Martinez from Jackson's MMA who is head JJ coach at 10th Planet Santa Fe getting huge props from Dana White...
Tuesday, 28 February 2012
There's all sorts of routes to UFC stardom. Benson Henderson is a great fighter, but his path to a fight with Frank Edgar could've been much different.
He graduated from WEC to UFC to the best fighter in the world's best division. How fast did it happen? Well just over three years ago, Henderson was trying to get a slot on Season 9 of the "Ultimate Fighter."
Cage Potato found this Bendo video as he tried to woo the UFC and Spike into choosing for the United States vs. United Kingdom season.
The lightweights that season were Santino DeFranco, Jason Dent, Cameron Dollar, Richie Whitson. They combined for one fight beyond the TUF 9 Finale. The field was smaller because of U.S. vs. U.K. theme, but clearly they whiffed on this one or they had bigger things in mind for Henderson. He debuted just months late in the WEC with a win over Anthony Njokuani.
At the end of the video, Henderson makes a promise.
"I fought my through the smaller shows. Now it's my time to dance underneath the lights," Henderson said. "I will win the UFC Season 9 Ultimate Fighter and I will fight for the title. You're looking at the future lightweight champ of the UFC."
All I have to say is it's amazing and gives me a new outlook on Anderson. Recommend even the biggest Anderson haters to watch...
Two former WEC champions will appear on Saturday's UFC 144 card. Benson Henderson, the man who held the lightweight for more than a year, will fight Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight strap. Anthony Pettis, the man who took Henderson's title with the jaw-dropping "Showtime Kick," will take on Joe Lauzon.
Those MMA fans who have been living under a rock since December 16, 2010, when Pettis beat Henderson, might wonder how it's Henderson, not Pettis challenging Edgar.
After winning the WEC belt in their final event before being absorbed by the UFC, Pettis was supposed to get the next UFC lightweight title shot. He was supposed to fight the winner of Edgar and Gray Maynard's New Years Day 2011 bout.
But Pettis was put on the backburner when Edgar and Maynard's bout ended in a draw. Their rematch was more important than unifying the WEC and UFC belts. Pettis opted not to wait for a title shot, and lost a decision to Clay Guida in June.
For Henderson, it was a win over Guida -- plus beatdowns of Jim Miller and Mark Bocek -- that earned him the title shot at Saitama Super Arena this weekend. No fighter wants to lose, particularly when his belt is on the line, but the loss to Pettis still bothers Henderson. His laid back strategy late in the bout still makes him angry. Was it the best thing to happen to him?
"It was heart-wrenching," he said to MMA Fighting's Ben Fowlkes. "I was sad, and I'm still sad. It was heart-breaking. ...Every time I'm out there, I give you guys everything. I open up my heart and soul. I hold nothing back. To come up short, and to come up short in that manner, that hurt. But I'll never let that happen again."
Even Pettis has noticed the difference in his former opponent.
"Ben was on a tear. He was killing guys in the WEC. Then I come in there, we go five rounds and I win the decision, and he was back to square one. I think a loss makes everyone a little hungrier, and that's what it did for him."
Pettis beat Jeremy Stephens in October. He will fight Lauzon early enough on Saturday's card that, if healthy, he can sit in the crowd and watch Henderson take on Edgar. At just 25, Pettis has plenty of time to get back to a title fight, and what could serve as better fuel than watching the man he beat take the title shot Pettis was supposed to get.
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Norifumi "Kid" Yamamoto is snake bitten or maybe it's simply that the division has caught and passed him by. The Japanese legend was shocked by Vaughan Lee in a submission defeat at 4:29 of the first round at UFC 144 in Tokyo, Japan.
Yamamoto, a huge knockout artist with good wrestling, was controlling the fight. With 1:04 left in the round, Kid got into a mix up with Lee. The Brit threw a bevy of right hand uppercuts and two body shots. Then came a right hook that landed on the Kid's chin. The Japanese legend stepped back and his right leg was like jello. Vaughn charged forward to attack but Yamamoto scored a takedown.
Still, he was in a no-win situation. Yamamoto was trying to slow the fight down, but he went into the guard of an excellent submission fighter. Lee (12-7-1, 1-1 UFC) quickly threw his legs up. He slapped on a triangle choke and eventually switched to an armbar. Yamamoto held out for a few seconds before tapping.
When he was freed from the hold, Yamamoto punched the canvas in frustration.
It's been a tough run for Yamamoto (18-6-1), who's now 0-3 in the UFC. Keep in the mind, this was a guy who went 14-0 from 2002-2007. Between injuries and the competition getting better, Yamamoto looks like he may be headed back to the minors. He's lost 5-of-6 overall.
Gomi escapes with win after horrendous first round
It looked like it was going to be a disastrous night for some of the former standard bearers of Japanese MMA. Takanori Gomi bounced back from the rough opening round to pour it on in the second and come away with a win over Eiji Mitsuoka.
It wasn't the prettiest win but one well earned and Gomi showed some gumption. With a minute left in the first, the 33-year-old fighter got drilled with a right hand and found himself caught in an inverted triangle for over 30 seconds. With seven seconds left in the round, Gomi lifted his hand and was ready to tap, but held out until the horn sounded.
When he got to the break, his cornermen told him that Mitsuoka was exhausted. They were right. Gomi came out for the second and threw a ton of punches behind a stiff jab. Mitsuoka backed up and stumbled around the cage with hands down and head pointed to the ground.
He tried to slow things down by shooting for a takedown. Gomi stayed patient with a good, wide sprawl against the cage. He eventually transitioned to hip control. Mitsuoka was done. He turtled and took 20-plus shots before referee Leon Roberts saved him.
It's tough to crush Mitsuoka (18-8-1, 0-1 UFC) for gassing. He did take the fight on short notice when George Sotiropoulos had to bow out with an an injury. Yes, Mitsuoka is also Japanese, but a win from the bigger-name fighter here was huge. Gomi (33-6-1) is now 2-3 in the UFC.
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Hatsu Hioki's first fight in the UFC wasn't his most impressive performance, and led many to wonder whether or not he was deserving of his spot as the second best featherweight in the world. His second UFC appearance, in his home country of Japan on Saturday at UFC 144, showed just why he had that distinction in the first place.
Hioki put forth an excellent three-round performance against Bart Palaszewski to take a unanimous decision. The bout saw Hioki utilize his reach to keep Palaszewski off balance in the striking game, then completely take control with an excellent grappling game once the fight hit the ground. Palaszewski just never got comfortable, and Hioki was dominant on the ground.
The win was Hioki's sixth straight, and likely sets him up for a UFC Featherweight Championship bout against Jose Aldo later this year.
You try to go to the...
It's time to break down the most important part of Saturday's title fight between the champion, Frankie Edgar, and the contender, Benson Henderson. Which man has the better walkout shirt?
The champ brings an Affliction shirt that is thankfully free of gold foil accents and gargoyle heads. It still looks like an Affliction shirt because of the frayed edges and upside down fleur-de-lis, but doesn't burn the eyes the way other Affliction shirt can. Henderson's Dethrone shirt has heavenly undertones behind his nickname of "Smooth."
What really sets the shirts apart is their price. The Edgar Affliction shirt retails for a whopping $58, while the Henderson Dethrone shirt is is just $27.99. Two Henderson shirts cost less than one Edgar tee. The winner here is clear: Benson "Smooth" Henderson.
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Former WEC champion Benson Henderson delivered a series of damaging blows to Edgar and ultimately topped him via unanimous decision in the five-round headliner of Saturday's UFC 144 event.
The title fight took place at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, and headlined the night's pay-per-view main card. It followed prelims on FX and Facebook.
Monday, 27 February 2012
In the UFC's first trip to Japan since Zuffa bought the promotion, Riki Fukuda, Chris Cariaso and Issei Tamura were early winners at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.
Fukuda beats up Cantwell
Riki Fukuda dominated Steve Cantwell on the way to a 29-28, 30-27, 30-27 decision.
Fukuda got a takedown quickly in the first round and started throwing several big punches and elbows. Cantwell tried to grab an arm for a submission, but he couldn't do it. He finally returned to his feet to come on late in the round with kicks and a flying knee. In the second round. Cantwell defended a Fukuda takedown with a tight guillotine. As hard as Cantwell squeezed, Fukuda was still able to get out.
Fukuda took advantage of Cantwell's tiredness and landed several strike combinations. In the last 30 seconds of the round, Cantwell got a takedown and jumped on Fukuda's back. He fell off just before the horn sounded to end the round.
"My plan was to take him down more, but he had a very strong base. �I was in a car accident the last time so I had to take a break, but it was worth the wait and I would like to thank the UFC for giving me this opportunity," Fukuda said.
Cantwell again tried for a submission in the third round, but Fukuda came on late in the round to beat up Cantwell. An exhausted Cantwell tried to return strikes, but it was all Fukuda.
Cariaso takes close decision
Chris Cariaso took a tight decision over Takeya Mizugaki, winning 29-28 on all three judges' cards. Mizugaki dominated the first round with better striking, a takedown and submission defense. He fended off an omoplata attempt by Cariaso. Mizugaki returned to the clinch in the second round to fend off Cariaso's strikes. Mizugaki finally completed the takedown around the two-minute mark, but Cariaso stayed active on the bottom.
In the third round, Cariaso threw a high kick then slipped. Mizugaki took advantage of the fall and used it to control Cariaso on the ground. He was more active on top this time, trying to pass the guard, but it wasn't enough.
Tamura starts card with knockout
Issei Tamura made a memorable UFC debut, knocking out Tiequan Zhang in the first fight on the card.
In the first minute, each fighter took a turn knocking the other down before settling in for a grapple-heavy first round. The second round didn't last long, as Tamura landed a picture-perfect right hand and knocked Zhang right out. The fight was stopped at 0:32 in the second round.
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer</B><BR><BR>
Carlo Prater (30-10-1) will receive another chance to prove his worth inside the octagon, as he?s been tapped to collide with T.J. Grant (17-5) at UFC on Fuel TV 3.<BR><BR>
After being blitzed by Erick Silva at UFC 142, referee Mario Yamasaki made a glaring error in declaring Carlo Prater victorious by way of disqualification. Yamasaki cited numerous illegal strikes to the back of Prater?s head as the reasoning behind the call, but replay?s showed that only one or two punches from Silva ran errant of their intended target. Mario himself later acknowledged the mistake, and most MMA pundits don?t invest much in Prater?s ?victory?. All the same, Prater is now 1-0 in the octagon, and he?ll get a chance on May 15th to make it two straight.<BR><BR>
T.J. Grant has experienced a fairly turbulent UFC career himself, racking up a promotional record of 4-3. Grant has been remarkably inconsistent since signing with the promotion, dropping, quite literally, every other fight; given the fact that he?s coming off a submission victory over Shane Roller that could mean bad news for the Canadian.<BR><BR>
UFC on Fuel TV 3 is headlined by a featherweight bout pitting surging contender, Dustin Poirier against the always durable Chan Sung Jung. The action emanates from the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Virginia on May 15th.<BR><BR>
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2011 was most certainly a rough year for the UFC on pay-per-view, and virtually everyone reported on it. However, most people's interpretations of last year's numbers were devoid of context.
One of the many factors in last year's decline was the absence of B.J. Penn from the UFC Lightweight Title picture. With Penn twice bested for the Lightweight Championship in 2010, the UFC was forced to say goodbye to the muscular numbers that the prodigious Hawaiian was able to put up.
The basement for a pay-per-view headlined by B.J. Penn as UFC Lightweight Champion was 475,000 buys, while one event headlined by Penn did as well as about 850,000 buys. Obviously, the drop off from what Penn was able to draw as Champion and what other lightweights draw is going to be steep.
B.J. Penn's box office success as Lightweight Champion shouldn't be the standard to which future champions are held, but I believe it does prove that MMA fans are willing to pay to see top lightweights perform.
If that is true, and the tastes of MMA fans are refined enough to appreciate the talents of the sport's most talented fighters, then UFC 144 should perform fairly well on pay-per-view.
Reigning UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar's first title defense without B.J. Penn saw him bring in a respectable 270,000 buys, although his next outing did worse. While Edgar's 2011 numbers weren't ideal for the UFC, his fights delivered in a way that should make him far more "must see" than he was previously.
His UFC 144 opponent Benson Henderson is coming off performances against Mark Bocek, Jim Miller, and Clay Guida that were all crowd pleasing, and all fights that he decisively won.�Henderson's recent dominance, coupled with Edgar's recent flirtations with disaster, makes this the most exciting and compelling lightweight fight that could be made at this point.
Last year, the main event of UFC 130 (which by no coincidence also featured Frankie Edgar) was scrapped, and the event wound up being headlined by Quinton Jackson and Matt Hamill. That card still did in the neighborhood of about 325,000 buys. UFC 144 has a more exciting title fight than the one that fell through, still has Quinton Jackson, and has a markedly superior undercard than UFC 130.
With a card this stacked, and considering that there isn't even another pay-per-view until April, this should be a "must buy" for at least the hardcore contingent. If UFC 144 is unable to outperform the wretched UFC 130 card from last year, we might be looking at a future where great fights from great fighters just aren't enough to satisfy the casual fan.
Either way, the domestic performance of UFC 144 is going to be very telling about what we can expect from UFC pay-per-view buyrates going forward.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @JasonAmadi and direct your "Ask the Torch" questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
– Former WWE talent Paul Heyman turns 46 years old today.
– Rosa Mendes, who has not appeared on WWE programming since SummerSlam, posted her first message on Twitter since August 20 by ranting about fellow SmackDown Diva A.J. The three-year veteran doesn’t feel ...
When Benson Henderson walked out of the cage after winning the UFC lightweight title, he walked right past security and the UFC staff who was directing him towards the locker room. He had to go celebrate with the woman who has supported him throughout his career: his mom.
In a sweet moment, Henderson hugged his mother. She pulled back and grabbed at his belt, bursting with pride over her son's accomplishment. Henderson provided another great performance in beating Frankie Edgar, but didn't forget to say thank you to his mom.
He admitted that he did hear her cheering during his fight.
""My mom has a pretty distinct voice. I can hear her everywhere," Henderson said.
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Common guys, pretend you're Joe Silva and arrange fights for the actors of 144.
I'll go first:
Henderson - Pettis. 2...
With a pair of impressive wins at Sunday's UFC 144 event in Saitama, Japan, former WEC champions Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis will now apparently meet for the UFC lightweight title.
Following the pay-per-view event in which Henderson earned the UFC belt with a unanimous-decision win over Frankie Edgar and Pettis scored a highlight-reel finish of Joe Lauzon, UFC president Dana White suggested that was the likely plan.
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST?
I'm looking forward to the 95 second brawl between Mark Hunt and Cheick Kongo. Look, not every fight that the UFC books has to be a technical masterpiece. Not every fight needs to be beautiful. And not every fight has to show every aspect of the sport. Sometimes there's something to be said about two of Jules Winnfield's wallets punching and kicking each other as hard as humanly possible until one gets knocked on their can. And when it comes to wallets kicking and punching really really hard, yeah, this will do nicely thankyouverymuch.
Now, that said, there are like seventeen fights on this card I'm anticipating heavily.� This card is stacked.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR??
I have to go with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson vs. Ryan Bader. I want to see what Rampage can do in front of the Japanese crowd. It should be a really good fight. I want to see Rampage unleash hell on Bader like the old days.
ANWAR PEREZ, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
For me, as a fan, I'm excited to see Rampage Jackson back in Japan fighting. He made his career there, and I truly believe that he'll be in the right frame of mind to make it a memorable night for Japan. Another fight that I am excited for, unexpectedly, is Mark Hunt vs. Cheick Kongo. I say unexpectedly because I couldn't see myself excited about this fight if it were taking place anywhere else. Because it's taking place in Japan, this should (hopefully) be a good striking match-up and hopefully a clean decisive finish for the winner. It should be exciting.
ERIC HOBAUGH, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Of all the fights on the UFC 144 card, I am most looking forward to Rampage Jackson versus Ryan Bader. I have thought for quite a while now that Rampage would retire. He mentions it in almost every interview that he does these days. I don't think his heart is in MMA, and this could realistically be his last fight. I think for that reason, this will be one of his most exciting fights ever. I look for him to be as exciting in this fight as he is been since entering the UFC.��I think Rampage wins this fight by knockout.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
I tried really hard to get hyped up for the Cheick Kongo fight, but there's no way Mark Hunt is going to be able to stand with him, so that fell out of my mind. Then I thought, well Rampage vs. Bader could be either the start of Bader's legacy, or the end of Rampage's, but the matchup doesn't look that phenomenal on paper. So I looked down the card further and found my gem, Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Jake Shields. These two are a solid bet to put on the fight of the night, and are probably expected to do so. Jake Shields has his chance at redemption after taking two consecutive losses for the first time in his career, and Akiyama has a chance to save his spot on the UFC roster.
It will be a battle of wills, and Jake Shields looks like a good favorite going into the fight. Akiyama has had so many fantastic performances inside the Octagon; perhaps being on home turf will finally give him the extra spurt to take home a much needed victory. This match-up looks great from all angles and I can't wait for the fight to start, and the technical war to begin.
JASON AMADI, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Anthony Pettis vs. Joe Lauzon is the most intriguing fight on this card for me. Pettis had the best performance of his career against Benson Henderson a year and a half ago, but has looked flat ever since. He showed a serious regression in defensive wrestling and strategy against Clay Guida and didn't look much better against Jeremy Stephens. Lauzon is a dangerous opponent and if Pettis isn't on top of his game, he'll lose.
Lauzon is closer to title contention than he's ever been, and while his cardio issues will likely plague him for the rest of his career, for the first five minutes of a fight he's as dangerous as any lightweight in the sport. If he wins here, Joe Lauzon could be one first round finish away from holding a UFC championship.
This fight will more than likely decide the next contender to the UFC Lightweight Championship and should be monitored very closely.
The race was delay...