It seems that the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be going ahead with their rumored July 19th event in Las Vegas after all, a move that will put the world’s top organization in the spotlight on the same night that Affliction Clothing’s puts on their event in California.
The news comes from Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports, who has confirmed with Dana White that the event will take place at The Palms Resort and Casino in Las Vegas and would be televised live on Spike TV.
Even more interesting is the show’s main event, which will feature reigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva moving up to light heavyweight for the first time in his career to battle fellow heavy-hitter James Irvin in a sure-fire slugfest on the feet.
According to Meltzer, the fight against Irvin will serve as a “test-run” for Silva to see how he would fare in a higher weight class. The current plan involves Silva defending his middleweight belt later this year, most likely against top contender Yushin Okami, but could eventually lead to a showdown against Chuck Liddell in the near future.
A lightweight bout between Hermes Franca and Frankie Edgar has also been moved from the promotion’s August “Seek and Destroy” event to this one, which will now be deemed “UFC Fight Night 14” according to our friends at MMA Junkie, who are also reporting that Jake O’Brien, who has re-signed with the company, will take on Cain Velasquez and a welterweight bout between Anthony Johnson and Kevin Burns, which we broke news of yesterday, has also been moved to this card as well.
Brandon Vera, who was tentatively slated to take on former PRIDE champ Wanderlei Silva until Silva turned down the fight, will now take on IFL veteran Reese Andy in his debut at light heavyweight according to Sherdog.com. All five of the aforementioned bouts will likely make up the televised portion of the card.
Anthony Johnson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A welterweight bout between rising prospects Anthony Johnson and Kevin Burns will likely take place when the Ultimate Fighting Championship travels to the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota for their upcoming “Seek and Destroy” event on August 9th.
MMA on Tap has learned through a source close to the potential bout that both fighters have verbally agreed to fight. Bout agreements have been sent out and are expected to be signed and returned by the end of the week.
Both Johnson and Burns have made waves lately in the MMA world with a couple of surprising performances and will now meet at the height of their respective young careers. After splitting his first two fights in the UFC, Johnson bounced back from a December submission loss to Rich Clementi to knock out “Ultimate Fighter” runner-up Tommy Speer at UFC Fight Night 13 in April.
Burns impressed many in his UFC debut earlier this month, submitting skilled grappler Roan Carneiro with a second-round triangle choke earlier this month at the UFC’s cursed “Bedlam” event in London, England. The win also earned him “Submission of the Night” and a $50,000 bonus.
The event is headlined by newly crowned UFC welterweight champion George St. Pierre’s first title defense against top contender Jon Fitch, who has won his first eight bouts with the promotion. A bout between lightweight contenders Roger Huerta and Kenny Florian will also take place. Former professional wrestler Brock Lesnar will return to action against longtime veteran Heath Herring as well.
Kenny Florian throws a knee at Joe Lauzon. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The ‘Battle of Boston’ went in Kenny Florian’s favor last night as he relentlessly pressured fellow Massachusetts native Joe Lauzon before ultimately stopping his foe with an onslaught of unanswered strikes during the latest edition of UFC Fight Night at the at the Broomfield Events Center in Denver, Colorado.
What originally was booked as a friendly matchup between two lightweight contenders slowly evolved into a heated exchange of pre-fight trash talking. The tension between the two was evident from the start of the fight as an intense staredown changed into a quick exchange of punches.
Lauzon quickly down Florian down in the first minute. An unorthodox attempt by Florian to use elbows from the bottom was foiled by referee Herb Dean after one of the blows cut the back of Lauzon’s head open. Florian then used solid submission defense to escape knee bar and heel hook attempts before eventually closing out the round delivering strikes from the top position.
Florian turned up the heat at the start of the second round. A swift body kick led to Florian scoring a takedown and transitioning to half-guard. The veteran of the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter” then rained down unanswered punches and elbows on Lauzon for nearly two full minutes. Despite a good job of covering up and limiting damage, Dean decided that Lauzon had enough, moving Florian even closer to another shot at the lightweight title that was once in his reach.
“Joe’s a great competitor and I knew it was gonna be a tough fight,” Florian said after the bout. “That’s what I wanted.”
Ultimate Fighter 6 runner-up Tommy Speer is expected to take on slick striker Anthony Johnson in a welterweight bout at UFC Fight Night 13 in April according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Although nothing is official, bout agreements are expected to be signed by both fighters in the coming weeks.
After a dominating run through the rest of his cast mates on the sixth season of ‘The Ultimate Fighter’, Speer hit a brick wall when he was quickly submitted by favorite Mac Danzig. Johnson started his career in the UFC off with a bang, literally, when he knocked out Chad Reiner in just 13 seconds at UFC Fight Night 10. Johnson then fell in his next fight when he was submitted via rear naked choke by Rich Clementi at UFC 76.
News and Notes
- The CSAC has announced that the following fighters have tested negative for performance enhancing drugs following post-fight testing for UFC 76: Thiago Tavares, Tyson Griffin, Ryoto Machida, Anthony Johnson, and Rich Clementi. The only test results from the event that haven’t been released yet are of Chuck Liddell, Mauricio Rua, Forrest Griffin, and Keith Jardine. The results for those fighters are expected to be released later in the week.
- Josh Thomson spoke with The Fight Network concerning a possible lawsuit Thomson may file against former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock. Shamrock reportedly called Thomson “MMA’s first openly gay fighter” during this past weekend’s Strikeforce broadcast.
“I kind of snickered about it,” Thomson said, “but I also have had some big money sponsors coming up to me and asking me whether it was true or not. That potentially could cost me money, and that, to me, is basically what I’m getting at.”
I know that Thomson has some crazy hair and his appearance on “Blind Date” didn’t really go that well but I don’t believe Thomson is gay.
Thomson and Shamrock have had a feud going for well over a year now. Thomson attributes the tension due to the fact that Shamrock was angry that fighters from the American Kickboxing Academy decided against joining a new gym that Shamrock was opening. Shamrock has claimed in the past that Thomson has been bad mouthing him for years.
- Tonight’s episode of UFC Unleashed will feature Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs Jason Lambert from UFC 68 and Houston Alexander vs Keith Jardine from UFC 71. I’m not sure what the third fight on the broadcast will be. Don’t forget that The Ultimate Fighter is on right after that.
- Punch Drunk Gamer posted a recent interview with Josh Barnett where Barnett states that he would like to fight in Pancrase:
“I would like to be fighting in Pancrase. I would love to continue fighting there and hopefully I will get a chance to defend my belt this year. I have had some trouble with getting promoters to honor what they agreed to and cooperate with Pancrase to get a match set-up. So now that I am a free agent I would like to do it.”
Barnett has always noted in the past that he would like the chance to defend his belt in Pancrase as a stipulation in any contract he signs with an organization. However since talks haven’t gone anywhere with anyone, it seems that Barnett may do that before signing anywhere.
Touch of gloves to Five Ounces of Pain for the find.
- Ricco Rodriguez is going to headline Battle Cage Xtreme III in New Jersey on October 20th. He will take on Kauai Kupihiea for the USKBA Heavyweight Title.
- Speaking of Ricco, he’s apparently going to be a cast member of VH1’s newest reality show, Celebrity Rehab. The series debuts on January 10th.
- Fight Opinion wants you to help decide what they should discuss on their next radio show.
- In a recent interview with Sherdog’s John Lee, SpiritMC CEO Kwang Hyun Park stated that current SpiritMC Middleweight Champion Steve Bruno has signed with the UFC:
As for SpiritMC middleweight champion Steve Bruno, Park says, “As far as I know, Steve has signed with the UFC, but we have made it clear that he needs to defend his title.”
The year of the upset continues…
Keith Jardine proved that those who participated in The Ultimate Fighter reality series can hang among the best in the world when he beat former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell at his own game and earned a close split decision in front of the estimated 16,000 in attendance at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.
Liddell looked to win the first round by sending Jardine scrambling away from flurries of punches. Jardine began to score with his first few of numerous leg and body kicks but it wasn’t enough to prevent the judges from scoring the round in Liddell’s favor.
The second and third rounds were a different story however. Jardine continued to press the action while his opponent looked to land one of his patented counter-punches. Jardine (13-3-1) even knocked Liddell (20-5) down with a right hand midway through the second round, a shot that Liddell was able to absorb as he sprang back up to his feet and right back into the fight.
A number of leg and body kicks bruised and battered Liddell’s body and Jardine’s unorthodox style continued to stifle any opportunities the former champ had to get into a rhythm on the feet. When the 15 minutes was up, it was known that the judges had to make a close decision but it was also obvious that Jardine had won the fight, based on the reaction the crowd gave when Liddell raised his hands in possible victory.
Marcos Rosales was the lone judge that scored the fight for Liddell, giving him the edge by a 29-28 margin. Cecil Peoples and Richard Bertrand scored it the same but gave the victory to Jardine and ruined any chances we had of seeing a Liddell-Wanderlei Silva showdown in December.
After the fight, Jardine tried to put his win into perspective.
“The win feels great,” Jardine said. “Chuck is the greatest fighter in the history of the UFC as far as I’m concerned.”
Tonight we will be going live at 9 PM EST, covering UFC Fight Night 10 with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
While you are waiting for the event to start, feel free to check out our coverage of the event which includes predictions, media coverage, and much more:
UFC Fight Night 10
Spencer Fisher vs Sam Stout
Jon Fitch vs Roan Carneiro
Drew McFedries vs Jordan Radev
Jason Black vs Thiago Tavares
Pete Spratt vs Tamdan McCrory
Luigi Fioravanti vs Forrest Petz
Gleison Tibau vs Jeff Cox
Nate Mohr vs Luke Caudillo
Chad Reiner vs Anthony Johnson
The Fight Network is reporting that Anthony Johnson (3-0) will replace Steve Bruno at UFC Fight Night 10 when he faces Chad Reiner (13-2) in a welterweight showdown.
Anthony Johnson is replacing Steve Bruno who was forced to withdraw from the fight due to a torn rotator cuff. Anthony Johnson is a veteran of Pangea Fights and Rocky Mountain Nationals-MMA promotion with a record of 3-0 and victories over Keith Wilson, Rich Moskowitch, and Jonathan Romero.