Alessio Sakara

Silva Submits Henderson; Becomes Undisputed


Anderson Silva weighs-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Anderson Silva passed his toughest test yet as champion with flying colors, submitting former Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson and successfully defending his UFC middleweight title for the third straight time, becoming the second undisputed champ in mixed martial arts history while doing it.

Even in defeat, Henderson perhaps gave the best performance against the champion to date. After an exchange on the feet to start the fight, Henderson was able to take Silva down and control him on the mat until the end of the round.

Although Silva did a good job of keeping a tight guard and preventing Henderson from doing any significant damage, the Team Quest co-founder used a number of hammer fists and the constant disruption of Silva’s breathing pattern to take the lead on the judge’s scorecards.

Silva heeded advice to crank up the pressure at the start of the second round, waving Henderson towards him and then stunning him with a mix of kicks, knees, and punches. A dazed Henderson swung wildly while trying to keep himself from falling over and then came up short in a takedown attempt.

Silva (21-4) capitalized by pouncing on his opponent. After softening him up with punches from inside his guard, Henderson (22-7) gave up his back and was forced to tap out via a rear naked choke moments later.

“My hat goes off to Anderson Silva,” Henderson said during a post-fight interview. “He was definitely the better fighter tonight. I controlled him well and beat him up a little bit in that first round and he came back ready to get after me in the second. He dazed me a little bit on the ground and then he got me in the choke.”

“I think I should have been more aggressive,” continued Henderson. “I didn’t fully execute my gameplan.”

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UFC 82: Pride of a Champion Weigh-In Results


Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson weigh-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The official weigh-in results for tonight’s UFC 82: Pride of a Champion are below. All fighters successfully made weight.

UFC 82 features a main event, middleweight title unification bout between current UFC title holder Anderson Silva and PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.

The show will also include a heavyweight affair between Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring as well as the return of former champion Evan Tanner as he takes on Japanese sensation Yushin Okami.

Main Card:

Dan Henderson (184.5 lbs) vs Anderson Silva (185 lbs)
Heath Herring (248 lbs) vs Cheick Kongo (233.5 lbs)
Yushin Okami (184.5 lbs) vs Evan Tanner (185 lbs)
Chris Wilson (169.5 lbs) vs Jon Fitch (170 lbs)
Alessio Sakara (185 lbs) vs Chris Leben (185 lbs)

Preliminary Fights:

Jake O’Brien (231.5 lbs) vs Andrei Arlovski (241 lbs)
Luigi Fioravanti (170.5 lbs) vs Luke Cummo (170 lbs)
Dustin Hazelett (170 lbs) vs Josh Koscheck (169.5 lbs)
David Bielkheden (170 lbs) vs Diego Sanchez (169.5 lbs)
John Halverson (155 lbs) vs Jorge Gurgel (154.5 lbs)

Video of the weigh-ins are after the jump, courtesy of ESPN:

Continue reading "UFC 82: Pride of a Champion Weigh-In Results"

Previewing UFC 82: Pride of a Champion

Here’s a little preview breaking down tomorrow night’s UFC 82: Pride of a Champion, fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.

UFC 82 features a main event, middleweight title unification bout between current UFC title holder Anderson Silva and PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.

The show, which will take place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, will also include a heavyweight affair between Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring as well as the return of former champion Evan Tanner as he takes on Japanese sensation Yushin Okami.

A total of ten fights round out the card.

Continue reading "Previewing UFC 82: Pride of a Champion"

Leben-Sakara Officially Added to UFC 82


Photo courtesy of ChrisLeben.com

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has officially announced that popular middleweight Chris Leben will return to action against light heavyweight convert Alessio Sakara, who will be fighting for the first time at 185 lbs when the UFC travels to Columbus, Ohio for the second time for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion on March 1st at the Nationwide Arena.

The event is headlined by a middleweight title unification bout between current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson. Other main card bouts include a heavyweight affair between Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring as well as the return of former champion Evan Tanner as he takes on Japanese sensation Yushin Okami.

Leben last fought in September, where he scored a dramatic third-round knockout win over upstart middleweight Terry Martin at UFC Fight Night 11.

Sakara defeated James Lee at UFC 80: Rapid Fire a couple of weeks ago, stopping him with strikes in the first round of their bout. The former professional boxer, who has had a roller coaster of a UFC career, recently joined forces with American Top Team.

The Leben-Sakara matchup will be one of the televised bouts according to the UFC’s official website, forcing a welterweight matchup between former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez and newcomer David Bielkheden to become one of five preliminary fights.

UFC Unveils Full Card for “Pride of a Champion”

The Ultimate Fighting Championship earlier today announced the complete card for it’s upcoming UFC 82: Pride of a Champion event, which will take place on March 1st at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

The event is headlined by a middleweight title unification bout between current UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and PRIDE middleweight champion Dan Henderson. Previously announced main card bouts include a heavyweight affair between Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring as well as the return of former champion Evan Tanner as he takes on Japanese sensation Yushin Okami.

The two other televised bouts that were officially announced this morning involved former Ultimate Fighter winner Diego Sanchez challenging newcomer David Bielkheden and Jon Fitch, who remains undefeated inside the confines of the UFC going up against Team Quest’s Chris Wilson.

Luigi Fioravanti and Luke Cummo will both return to action in a welterweight bout together. Ohio natives Dustin Hazelett and Jorge Gurgel will both be in action at the event. Gurgel will face off against fellow lightweight John Halverson and Hazelett will take on powerhouse wrestler Josh Koscheck, who will be fighting in a preliminary bout after two consecutive lackluster performances.

The most high-profile preliminary bout includes an undefeated Jake O’Brien attempting to pass the biggest test of his career against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski. This will mark the first time in over five years that Arlovski has not been promoted as part of the main card of an event, further confirming the notion that he has decided to not re-sign with the company.

We would be remiss if we didn’t mention that a rumored bout between Chris Leben and Alessio Sakara was not annnounced as being part of the card.

Report: Leben-Sakara Signed for UFC 82


Photo courtesy of ChrisLeben.com

While the UFC already put forth a “stacked” event last summer, I think it’s safe to say that UFC 82: Pride of a Champion is looking even better.

A tenth rumored bout for the event has been confirmed by Five Ounces of Pain, who are reporting that popular middleweight Chris Leben will return to action against light heavyweight convert Alessio Sakara, who will be fighting for the first time at 185 lbs.

Leben’s manager, T. Jay Thompson confirmed his client’s participation against Sakara at the event. Leben last fought in September, where he scored a dramatic third-round knockout win over upstart middleweight Terry Martin at UFC Fight Night 11.

Sakara defeated James Lee at UFC 80: Rapid Fire a couple of weeks ago, stopping him with strikes in the first round of their bout. The former professional boxer, who has had a roller coaster of a UFC career, recently joined forces with American Top Team.

Third Title Fight is a Charm for Penn


B.J. Penn throws a jab at Joe Stevenson during their championship bout at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

In a night of quick fights and surprising stoppages, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is still that damn good.

Penn submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Joe Stevenson with a rear naked choke in the second round to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title and become the second fighter in history along with current heavyweight champ Randy Couture to win championship gold in two different weight classes.

The lively 8,412 inside the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England saw Penn surprise Stevenson with an uppercut that sent the California native down to the mat in the opening seconds. Penn pounced on his opponent but Stevenson was able to maintain his composure and survive Penn’s initial assault.

The former welterweight champion controlled Stevenson on the ground for the remainder of the first round, opening up a vicious cut in the middle of Stevenson’s forehead with just over a minute left in the round. Stevenson would end up donning a crimson mask for the rest of the fight.

The two had an even exchange on the feet to start the second stanza but that ended once Penn started to pick Stevenson apart with looping lefts and uppercuts. The bout was stopped at one point to have the doctor check Stevenson’s cut but the stream of blood avoiding Stevenson’s eyes already gave those watching the doctor’s answer.

Stevenson fell victim to another Penn (12-4-1) uppercut once the bout was restarted, signaling the beginning of the end for “Daddy.” Penn used punches and elbows to force Stevenson (28-8) out of position enough to be able to give up his back, which Penn quickly took without a second thought.

Penn was able to sink in a rear naked choke and Stevenson was forced to tap out without putting up much of a fight. The win finally gave Penn the UFC lightweight title in what was his third career attempt at the belt.

After the fight Penn acknowledged that he was trying to make his third try a successful one.

“Joe is a great guy,” said Penn. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I put everything into this. I wanted to make sure it was three times the charm and not three strikes you’re out.”

Penn also went out of his way to send former champion Sean Sherk a message now that Sherk will be challenging Penn in his first title defense later this year.

“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.

Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.

“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”

Continue reading "Third Title Fight is a Charm for Penn"

UFC 80: Rapid Fire Live Results

We will be going live at 1:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 80: Rapid Fire, which will take place live from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.

UFC 80 features a lightweight championship bout between former welterweight title holder B.J. Penn and top contender and Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Joe Stevenson. Also on the card is a rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum and a welterweight clash between Marcus Davis and Jess Liaudin.

Be sure to leave comments throughout the afternoon and night.

Live results are shown after the jump. 

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UFC 80: Rapid Fire Weigh-In Results


Joe Stevenson weighs-in for UFC 74: Respect. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The official weigh-in results for tomorrow afternoon’s UFC 80: Rapid Fire are below. All fighters successfully made weight.

MMA on Tap will start live coverage of the event starting at 1:00 PM EST tomorrow.

BJ Penn (154 lbs) vs Joe Stevenson (154 lbs)
Fabricio Werdum (247 lbs) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (255 lbs)
Jess Liaudin (170 lbs) vs Marcus Davis (169 lbs)
Wilson Gouveia (205 lbs) vs Jason Lambert (204 lbs)
Jorge Rivera (185 lbs) vs Kendall Grove (186 lbs)
Antoni Hardonk (244 lbs) vs Colin Robinson (238 lbs)
Paul Kelly (170 lbs) vs Paul Taylor (170 lbs)
James Lee (206 lbs) vs Alessio Sakara (206 lbs)
Per Eklund (155 lbs) vs Sam Stout (155 lbs)

CKA: Jan 3, 2007

Interested in owning a UFC championship belt like the one above? How about the exact one above? Got $30,000 to spare? Well former UFC heavyweight champ Ricco Rodriguez is selling the title he won from Randy Couture at UFC 39 on eBay in hopes of raising money for a school Rodriguez will be opening down south.

Tim Sylvia calls Fedor a bad word

Former UFC heavyweight champion had some choice words for Fedor Emelianenko during a post-UFC 79 interview with Gary Herman of CBS Sports. When asked about Emelianenko, Sylvia stated that he feels the former PRIDE champ is ducking top competition:

“I think he’s being a (expletive),” said Sylvia. “I think Fedor is very good, but you have to fight the top level competitors all the time to keep that status, and he is just not doing that.”

According to Five Ounces of Pain, the bad word had something to do with a pussy, whatever that is…

WCO Releases Complete Card for “The Return”

The World Cagefighting Organization has released the complete card for WCO: The Return, which is set to take place January 12th at the San Diego Sports Arena.

The event is headlined by a main event between former UFC light heavyweights Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Vernon White and includes many other notable fighters competing as well. The full card is below:

Renato Sobral vs. Vernon White
Ricco Rodriguez vs. Mike Kyle
Mark Kerr vs. Rick Roufus
Jimmy Ambriz vs. Wesley Correira
Joe Riggs vs. Gustavo Machado
Virgil Zwicker vs. David Mejia
Davis Loiseau vs. Leopoldo Serao
Tiki Ghosn vs. J.J. Ambrose
Fabio Costa vs. Carlos Fuentes
Georgi Karakahyan vs. Armando Sanchez
Tony Sylvestor vs. Cain Velasquez

Touch of gloves to MMA Junkie for that find.

Sakara Joins American Top Team

Alessio Sakara has joined the ranks of ATT according to a statement made on the team’s official website:

To start off the new year, American Top Team is pleased to announce UFC fighter Alessio “Legionarius” Sakara has joined our team!

We are excited to have the opportunity to work with Alessio, who is known for his explosive stand up style of fighting. We look forward to working with Alessio and help him improve his overall mma game and take him to the top!

Sakara returns at UFC 80: Rapid Fire later this month when he takes on newcomer James Lee. The fight is expected to be Sakara’s last at 205 lbs as he has expressed plans to move down to the middleweight division following the fight.

Miscellaneous Notes

We will have a brand new MMA on Tap Top 10 posted later today. Our rumors page has been updated. Randy Couture will be hosting a charity poker tournament at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas on January 12th. Couture, Jamie Gold, and Dean Cain are all expected to participate. Leland Rolling takes a look at what’s next for Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. A matchup between Jake Bostwick and John Phillips has been added to Cage Rage 25 according to The Fight Network.

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
3-5 PM EST - The Jordan Breen Show”
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio

Fightlinker was on BetUS’s radio show yesterday. Also be sure to check out the latest from Jarry Park - He’s Just J-Lau From The Block

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