CONTROVERSIAL BLOW DISQUALIFIES BILLY EVANGELISTA FROM MAIN EVENT MATCHUP WITH MIKE AINA, UNBEATEN SARAH KAUFMAN OUTPOINTS MIESHA TATE
FRESNO, Calif. – Previously unbeaten hometown favorite Billy Evangelista lost by disputed, controversial second-round disqualification to Mike Aina Friday in the main event of the inaugural Strikeforce Challengers telecast on Showtime.
At the finish, neither fighter was satisfied with the outcome at the Save Mart Center.
Evangelista (9-1), of Fresno, was disqualified for “intentionally” kneeing Aina (12-6-1), of Hilo, Hawaii, in the head while the Hawaiian fighter was down. The rule is a fighter can knee a downed opponent to the body, but not the head.
Wanderlei Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Here’s a little mix of news and notes that we missed over the past few days…
Jackson-Silva III Likely for UFC 91
Amidst lingering rumors that the two were set to rematch later this year, it seems that former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will reportedly indeed take on longtime PRIDE middleweight title holder Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91 on November 15 according to MMA Junkie.
Sources within the Wolfslair camp, which Jackson recently joined after parting ways with trainer Juanito Ibarra, have said that Jackson has agreed to the fight and has already begun training. Attempts to contact Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann for confirmation by MMA on Tap were unsuccessful.
Jackson and Silva have fought on two separate occasions and Silva was victorious in both fighters. Silva stopped Jackson with strikes in the first round of their original meeting at PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 and then scored a second-round knockout of him at PRIDE 28 four years ago.
Renato Sobral. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Renato “Babalu” Sobral has reportedly been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Anthony Ruiz at Strikeforce’s upcoming second event at the Playboy Mansion after suffering a leg injury during a recent training session according to MMA Junkie.
The report cites Strikeforce VP Mike Afromowitz as confirming Sobral’s injury. His opponent, Ruiz, was actually an injury replacement for Sobral’s first foe, reigning Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth, who partially tore his ACL. Strikeforce officials are currently looking for an alternate opponent for Ruiz, who will remain on the card.
Affliction Entertainment’s Tom Atencio hoped to match Sobral up against former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz, whom the organization has been courting ever since his official release from the UFC last month. However a deal with Ortiz was unable to be worked out and Sobral was permitted to fight for Strikeforce.
Ruiz, who has split a pair of bouts against Southworth in the last year, most recently won his third career fight over Jeremy Freitag, a unanimous decision at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” on July 26.
Takanori Gomi. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
Here’s a little recap of what we might have missed over the past few days or so…
Gomi, Trigg Win at Sengoku IV
Former PRIDE standouts Takanori Gomi and Frank Trigg were victorious in their respective bout Sunday morning at World Victory Road’s “Sengoku IV” event in Japan. Gomi earned a decision over Seung Pang Hwan while Trigg went all three rounds with Makoto Takimoto.
Former IFL lightweight champion Ryan Schultz was upset in the first round of World Victory Road’s inaugural lightweight grand prix, losing via knockout to Mizuto Hirota. Kazunori Yokota, Eiji Mitsuoka, Satoru Kitaoka all also moved on to the tournament’s next round.
Robbie Lawler. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
Robbie Lawler prevented history from repeating itself Saturday night as he wore down Scott Smith before finally finishing him with a barrage of knees in the second round of their EliteXC middleweight title fight at the Stockton Arena in California.
The two exchanged blows for the second time in two months, this instance serving as the main event of EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event, which became the promotion’s second such show to be broadcast on primetime network television via CBS. Their original meeting saw both men battle back and forth for fifteen minutes before Lawler inadvertently poked Smith in the eye in the third round. The ringside doctor ultimately ruled that Smith was unable to continue due to vision problems and the fight was ruled a no-contest.
Early on, it looked as if Lawler would once again earn a decisive opening round in his favor, stunning Smith with a trio of jabs. Smith bounced back however, continuing to push the pace and catching Lawler with a right hand late in the round, following up with a flurry that swung momentum in his favor. Smith then opened up a cut just inches away from the previous one Lawler suffered in their first bout. The blood forced Lawler to turn it up a notch, leading to a flurry of knees in the clinch that knocked Smith down twice.
Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith. Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s EliteXC: Unfinished Business event, which will take place at the Stockton Arena in California, are below. All fighters successfully made weight. The fight card will be joint-broadcasted by CBS and Showtime - A one-hour special will air on Showtime starting at 8:00 PM ET and will continue on CBS at 9:00 PM ET. Additional weigh-in photos are after the jump.
Heavy hitters Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith will battle it out once again for Lawler’s EliteXC middleweight title, this time in the show’s featured attraction. Additional main card bouts include the second of three championship bouts as Jake Shields and BodogFight transfer Nick Thompson will fight for the vacant EliteXC welterweight strap as well as hometown favorite Nick Diaz attempting to extend a two-fight winning streak against journeyman Thomas Denny.
Robbie Lawler (184.5 lbs) vs. Scott Smith (185 lbs)
Jake Shields (169.5 lbs) vs. Nick Thompson (169.5 lbs)
Nick Diaz (159.5 lbs) vs. Thomas Denny (159 lbs)
Shayna Baszler (139 lbs) vs. Cris Cyborg (140 lbs)
Antonio Silva (257.5 lbs) vs. Justin Eilers (218 lbs)
Rafael Fejiao (203.5 lbs) vs. Travis Galbraith (202 lbs)
Wilson Reis (139.5 lbs) vs. Bryan Caraway (140.5 lbs)
Jeremy Freitag (205 lbs) vs. Anthony Ruiz (206 lbs)
Mike Cook (232.5 lbs) vs. Carl Seumantafa (255.5 lbs)
Brandon Tarn (252 lbs) vs. Drew Montgomery (224 lbs)
David Douglas (157 lbs) vs. Marlon Mathias (161 lbs)
Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith. Photo by Esther Lin/EliteXC.
Less than two months after their first bout ended in disappointing fashion, Robbie Lawler and Scott Smith will duke it out once again for the EliteXC middleweight title during the organization’s second network television event on CBS this Saturday night.
The two spoke about their upcoming battle on a pre-fight conference call with the media yesterday that also included female fighters Shayna Baszler and Cris Cyborg as well as ProElite chairman Doug DeLuca. As usual, Lawler kept his answers short and sweet, just letting everybody know that his focus was on this weekend’s fight with Smith and nothing else.
“Really, I don’t care,” Lawler said when asked about his previous fight with Smith. “I look at it as a new fight and I kind of look at it as we’ve never fought before. I’ll be ready to go. I’m not focusing on that anymore. I’m focusing on this next fight and I don’t care how that last one went. I just need to go out there and get the job done on Saturday.”
Meanwhile Smith revealed that he was especially happy that a rematch between the two happened so soon. With his eye and foot injuries suffered in the first bout completely healed, Smith discussed his training for the fight and how he feels that a different regimen this time around may result in seeing an even better fighter this weekend.
Anthony Ruiz (center) is interviewed following his win over Brad Imes at PFC 6: No Retreat, No Surrender. Photo courtesy of the Palace Fighting Championship.
Former Strikeforce light heavyweight title challenger Anthony Ruiz will reportedly take on Capital City Fighting Alliance product Jeremy Freitag in a scheduled swing bout at EliteXC’s “Unfinished Business” event on July 26th in California. The card will be broadcast via two separate shows on Showtime and CBS.
The news comes from our friends at MMA Junkie, who have confirmed the bout with Ruiz’s manager, Mickey Dubberly. Both fighters have verbally agreed to fight and the paperwork is expected to be finalized shortly. Ruiz and Freitag have met twice before in the past - Ruiz was victorious both times by TKO.
Ruiz was unsuccessful in a recent bid for Strikeforce’s light heavyweight belt, losing a five-round unanimous decision to reigning champion Bobby Southworth at the promotion’s “Melendez vs. Thomson” event last month. The loss snapped a six-fight winning streak, which saw Ruiz pick up victories over Southworth and Brad Imes.
After fighting in various promotions for the last four years, Freitag has finally found a home with the Palace Fighting Championship, where he has won two out of his last three bouts. He most recently lost a decision to Chute Boxe product Jorge Oliveira in March. Prior to that, Freitag edged out former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant Lodune Sincaid via a split decision in October of last year.
Carlos Condit. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Here’s a little recap of what went on this past weekend, starting with Carlos Condit reportedly signing a contract extension with World Extreme Cagefighting according to USA Today‘s Sergio Non. The new deal comes after Condit’s most recent victory over Carlo Prater in February. The fight against Prater was Condit’s second to last fight on his previous deal. Condit expects the new deal to kick in with a potential fight in August against an opponent yet to be named.
The promotion also confirmed two additional bouts for their next scheduled event on June 1st in Sacramento, California over the weekend via their official website. A rumored bantamweight title bout between champion Miguel Torres and injury replacement Yoshiro Maeda has been made official as well as Mark Munoz’s WEC debut against fellow newcomer Chuck Grigsby.
UFC Releases Travis Lutter
Fresh off of his disappointing loss to former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin at UFC 83 last weekend, Travis Lutter, the middleweight winner of the fourth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, has been released from his contract by the UFC. The news was first reported by Pramit Mohapatra of Fight Ticker and has since been confirmed by Lutter himself, who stated that his agent received a call Sunday morning informing him of his release due to consecutive losses in his last two fights.
Report: Southworth-Ruiz Rematch Possible for June
Bobby Southworth, one of the cast members on the original season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will attempt to avenge a recent loss to Anthony Ruiz at Strikeforce’s upcoming planned event in June according to MMA Mania. The two fought in November - Ruiz scored a TKO win over Southworth after the UFC veteran suffered a fight-ending cut over his left eye early in the second round.
However Southworth remains Strikeforce’s world light heavyweight champion due to the fight being a non-title bout. It’s unknown whether or not the belt will be on the line in June. Southworth has not fought since losing to Ruiz. Meanwhile Ruiz has recorded back-to-back wins over Jimmy Ambriz and Brad Imes since then.
Photo by Jon Swenson, Sharkspage
Jorge Santiago needed less than three minutes in order to capture the state of California and Strikeforce’s first-ever four-man mixed martial arts tournament last night.
Santiago scored victories over Sean Salmon and Trevor Prangley in front of 8,233 at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, CA.
Both Santiago and Prangley headed into the tournament in relatively good shape considering they had each fought earlier in the evening. They decided to keep the bout on the feet during the opening moments of their fight. Santiago battered Prangley with a flurry of leg kicks early on, connecting with one that knocked Prangley to the ground.
Santiago continued to stalk Prangley connecting with a number of unanswered punches and kicks. Santiago connected with a knee to the body and followed it up with a right hand that sent Prangley to the canvas. Santiago pounced on him and following up with another right hand but referee Jon Schorle decided that Prangley had enough and stopped the fight.
After the fight, Santiago admitted that sticking to his game plan ultimately won him the fight:
“I’ve been studying his game for a long time and I knew that he was a tough guy,” said Santiago. “I knew that he was probably going to try and take me down and drop some bombs. I just stuck to my game. I saw the best time to go and I took over.”