Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 73: Stacked 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 73: Stacked
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans
Anderson Silva vs. Nathan Marquardt - UFC Middleweight Title
Sean Sherk vs. Hermes Franca - UFC Lightweight Title
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring
Kenny Florian vs. Alvin Robinson
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mike Nickels
Chris Lytle vs. Jason Gilliam
Frankie Edgar vs. Mark Bocek
Jorge Gurgel vs. Diego Saraiva
The Fight Network is reporting that PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix Champion Denis Kang is close to signing a contract with BodogFight.
The American Top Team’s Denis Kang is in serious negotiations with bodogFIGHT and could sign with the upstart promotion as early as this week, a source close to the ATT indicated.
Kang (27-8-1), one of the world’s top middleweights, is 20-1-1 in his past 22 fights, the lone defeat a split decision loss to Kazuo Misaki in the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix at PRIDE “Bushido 13.” Kang reportedly tore a biceps muscle in the semi-finals but agreed to fight anyway.
This is interesting because it was being rumored that Kang was about to join the UFC. I’m guessing now that some of the PRIDE fighters were able to get out of their contracts or were free agents before Zuffa bought the promotion.
Kang is the only other free agent from PRIDE that I’ve heard of except for a handful of others - Fedor, Silva, and Big Nog. Then again maybe all of the fighters are technically free agents as of right now and it just so happens that the majority of them are signing with Zuffa.
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Palace Fighting Championships has added Casey Olson to it’s roster:
Casey “The Underdog” Olson announces the signing of a three-fight card with the Palace Fighting Championships (PFC). These mixed martial arts bouts are slated for July 19, Oct. 18 and Dec. 6 at the Tachi Palace in Lemoore, Calif. The first PFC bout, on July 19, pits Olson against Brandon Jinnes (2-5) of Stockton, Calif.
“It’s been a long road getting back on track with my career after dealing with all the medical issues,” says Olson. “After comin’ off my first loss, I went back to the drawing board. I promise, come July 19th, that I’m bringin’ a war!”
In the past two years, Casey “The Underdog” Olson, a former Fresno State/Fresno City/Clovis High grappler has amassed a 5-1 professional record in the cage.
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira may be leaving Brazilian Top Team.
Video of the Day
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Chuck Liddell recently sat down for an interview with the Baltimore Sun and revealed that PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko may be coming over to the UFC.
Liddell was asked who he would like to fight when it comes to PRIDE fighters entering the UFC. He responded with this:
All of them. Any of the good ones. There’s “Shogun” [Mauricio Rua], there’s [Dan] Henderson. You’ve got Fedor [Emelianenko] coming over. [Antonio Rodrigo] Nogueira is coming over in the heavyweight [division].
If and when Fedor and the UFC finally settle on some kind of contract, their is going to be a huge announcement without a doubt.
It’s a legitimate question: Is PRIDE officially dead?
You only have to step back and take a look at the recent events that have taken place in the past few weeks to see that PRIDE’s future isn’t looking very promising. Well if there’s a future for the promotion at all…
PRIDE hasn’t held an event since April. It also hasn’t done much of anything except release their 10th anniversary documentary since then. One would think that the company will now get back on track since it’s acquisition by UFC parent company Zuffa is now complete according to UFC President Dana White. However that might not be the case.
The scheduled opening round for the company’s Lightweight Grand Prix on July 16th now seems that it’s not going to happen. Why? Nippon Gaishi Hall, the arena where the event was supposed to be held has now taken the show off of it’s event calendar. Couple that with White’s recent comments concerning all of PRIDE’s top fighters coming over to the UFC and it seems more and more likely that PRIDE’s run in the world of MMA is just about finished.
So what did you say about White’s comments? Well in that same interview with MMA Weekly where he stated that Zuffa now owned PRIDE, he also said that all of the promotion’s top fighters will be coming to the UFC:
“We’re going to have them all. We’re going to have them all. At the end of the day, if you want to fight the best fighters in the world, if you want to cement your place in history… and at the end of the day, the money is great, all that stuff is good, but for me I’m one of those types of people… it’s all about cementing your place in history. Who is the greatest fighter in every weight division? It’s here. It’s in the UFC. They’re all going to be here.”
Well so much for the original plan of keeping all of PRIDE’s top fighters with the company. Since the March announcement of that plan, the UFC has brought over Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mauricio Rua, and now Dan Henderson. Apparently they aren’t even close to being done either since Chuck Liddell’s next opponent is Wanderlei Silva…
When asked about one of Pride’s biggest stars, Wanderlei Silva, White said, “We’re going to have them all here. He [Silva] is going to be here. They’re all going to fight… they’re all under contract.” White also said that Silva would likely be Chuck Liddell’s next opponent.
With all of PRIDE’s biggest stars, including Henderson who currently holds two PRIDE belts and will challenge Quinton Jackson for the UFC Light Heavyweight title later this year, coming over to the UFC, I think it’s safe to say that they have decided to just let PRIDE wither away…
TATAME is reporting that Brazilian Top Team members Murilo Bustamante and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira had a disagreement after Nogueira signed a contract with the UFC before consulting his teammates at BTT. Bustamante provided his thoughts on the situation…
“That was a missunderstanding. Actually I said that I was a little bit upset because Minotauro didn’t tell the BTT that he did the contract with the UFC. Nodoby said in any moment that Rodrigo could be send out of the BTT. Even because he was the guy that ever showed to us his fidelity to the team”, told Bustamante
“I will stay here with Capoani because he will be fighting on May 12th, but when I came back I will sit down with Rodrigo to finish this thing”, said Murilo.
TATAME also caught up with former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira who stated he’d like to talk with Bustamante because his intent is to stay with BTT.
“I am going to Rio de Janeiro to talk about this situation, because my interest is stay in BTT. I am sure that if we get together, my way to UFC will be good for me and also for the BTT”, declared Rodrigo Minotauro.
Las Vegas, NV (USA) – Tired of paying your hard-earned cash for events packed with hype and little else? Sick of sitting down
for a pay-per-view event and finding out that you’re paying over $50 for just three fights that include a showcase and a mismatch? The Ultimate Fighting Championship® has the cure for what is ailing fight fans, and in a continuing effort to provide what the world is truly waiting for, it is announcing yet another UFC card stacked with at least five fights that include two intense championship bouts and a heated grudge match between two light heavyweight rivals. UFC 73: STACKED features UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson “The Spider” Silva in his first title defense vs. Nate “The Great” Marquardt. UFC Lightweight Champion Sean “The Muscle Shark” Sherk puts his newly-won belt on the line vs. Brazil’s Hermes Franca. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira steps into the Octagon™ for the first time for a heavyweight war with Heath Herring – and Tito Ortiz intends to put a painful end to Rashad Evans’ perfect 15-0 record. Let the fireworks begin. UFC 73, loaded with UFC superstars, takes place LIVE from ARCO Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Saturday, July 7, 2007.
“We have five UFC events lined up now through July in the US and UK, and every one of them is stacked with great fights,” said UFC President Dana White. “No matter where we have a UFC, our goal is always the same – to deliver the best fights between the best mixed martial arts fighters. Our fans know they will always see a good fight, and that’s why the UFC reigns supreme in live sports today.”
White continues, “UFC 73 is one of the best cards we’ve put together this year. It’s going to deliver the one-two punch fight fans want – it has Tito Ortiz and Rashad Evans, two all-state college wrestlers, both who dislike each other, settling their differences in the Octagon, as well as title defenses by our two champions Anderson Silva and Sean Sherk. We’re working on more fights right now to pack this card even heavier from top to bottom.”
UFC President Dana White and heavyweight title contender Mirko Cro Cop held a conference call with the media earlier today discussing this weekend’s event. Many topics were covered over the hour session including Cro Cop’s thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga, the immediate plans for PRIDE’s future, the contract status of Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko, and much more.
Let’s just say that we have everything covered. Read and enjoy…
Cro Cop’s Thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga:
Cro Cop was very straight forward in answering questions about Gonzaga. He stated that Gonzaga will not have an answer for everything that Cro Cop is going to bring to the Octagon on Saturday. He said that he is at full health for this weekend. He will not being using PRIDE’s theme music when he walks to the Octagon. Instead he will use his usual “Wild Boyz” song.
Cro Cop also said that he isn’t worried about Gonzaga’s ground skills and that it is his all-around game that presents the biggest problems matchup-wise:
“I have trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, have experts in my gym. I feel comfortable even on the ground. I am aware he is a jiu-jitsu world champion, but I am pretty versed in ground fighting now. Of course my basis is stand up, but even if we go to the ground, I am not scared.
Gonzaga is a solid, good fighter. He is a tough guy. He won’t hesitate to fight toe to toe. He is a first class fighter. I will try to keep it in a stand up position. I don’t want to underestimate him” stated Cro Cop.
Cro Cop on Couture, Liddell, Fedor, and Big Nog:
Cro Cop said that he would love for to have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the near future but he is currently focused on his fight with Gonzaga and then winning the UFC Heavyweight Title before that can happen. He said that Randy Couture’s age will not be a factor if and when they fight because he has already shown that it hasn’t been a factor in past fights. He stated that while he doesn’t have any preference on his opponents in the UFC, he has a feeling that he will be fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira very soon.
Cro Cop also made it known that he will be unable to cut enough weight to make it down to the 205 lb weight class, meaning that if a dream match with Chuck Liddell is to happen, that Liddell will have to come up to heavyweight and fight…
“I have no space to go down, maybe if I chop off my hand or something. I definitely can’t go down” said Cro Cop.
Dana White on Big Nog, Fedor, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, and Liddell:
White stated that Nogueira was signed by the UFC as a free agent and that talks began about a month ago. He also stated that there is currently no timetable for his first fight nor any ideas on who his first opponent may be.
White said that at the time he originally made that Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell announcement for UFC 65, it was going to be the biggest fight in MMA history. He now says that it isn’t the case until Silva wins a few more fights to make up for his KO losses to Cro Cop and Dan Henderson. Silva currently has four fights left on his six fight contract to do so.
According to White, the UFC is currently trying to figure out the status of Fedor. Fedor’s contract isn’t exclusive to PRIDE and that Zuffa and PRIDE FC Worldwide will not accept non-exclusive contracts for their fighters. White did say however that Fedor is under contract to the company and that if another rival promotion tried to sign him, he would slap them with an injunction immediately.
Despite the heavy rumors that Mauricio Rua has signed a contract that will allow him two fights in PRIDE and two fights in the UFC, White says that the rumors are not true. Also Kazushi Sakuraba is not under contract with PRIDE and White isn’t aware of the reasoning behind him being brought out to address the crowd during PRIDE 34.
White Talks About Changes to PRIDE and the Lightweight Grand-Prix:
White has confirmed once again that PRIDE will be changing to the unified rules of mixed martial arts (the rule set that the UFC uses) as well as the same round structures and weight classes. PRIDE will continue to use a ring instead of a cage. Also fight cards will be announced weeks in advance of an event, just like the UFC does now. Does everyone recall the PRIDE 34 mess?
PRIDE will not have a super heavyweight division and the crazy matchups the promotion used to hold including Butterbean, Giant Silva, and Bob Sapp will not take place anymore. White stated that all employees currently with PRIDE will keep their jobs with the exception of Gary Millen and Frank Trigg. They have been fired and will be replaced with a completely new announce team.
White said that it is still undecided in terms of whether or not the Lightweight Grand-Prix will take place at 155 lbs or 170 lbs. White denied all rumors about Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes taking place in the tourney as there will not be any UFC fighters participating:
“There will be no UFC fighters in the tournament. The UFC and PRIDE are completely separate companies. You won’t see UFC vs PRIDE until we do the big event” said White.
White Discusses UFC’s status with HBO and ESPN:
The UFC will debut on HBO as soon as this summer according to White. The deal actually isn’t complete but is in the final stages of being finalized. White didn’t say much about things but did mention that the HBO will be doing their own production and announcing of events rather than having the UFC do things along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. White said that it wasn’t easy for him to agree to that…
The UFC will still broadcast shows on HBO, Spike TV, and PPV. Spike TV will be made up mostly of guys from The Ultimate Fighter television shows. Shows on HBO will be mixture of TUF guys, international stars, and other UFC fighters. PPV shows would then have the best of the best.
ESPN will now be covering the UFC on a regular basis according to White. The coverage will include both weigh-in and fight results…
White Talks About Possible UFC Fights and Events in the Near Future:
White said that UFC 72 will either be on PPV or Spike TV. He mentioned Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia all as possible sites that may hold future UFC events. Florida will also hold another UFC event in the near future according to White.
White said that the “Inside the UFC” TV show wasn’t scrapped and that the company is currently working on a date to bring the show back to the air.
White announced a slew of possible matchups - If Andrei Arlovski defeats Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, he will most likely fight the winner of Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture should Cro Cop get poast Gabriel Gonzaga as well. Sean Sherk will defend his lightweight title in Sacramento, California against Hermes Franca. Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva vs Nate Marquardt will also take place on that card. Georges St. Pierre will most likely be fighting next in August against an opponent that has yet to be determined…
White on Tito Ortiz:
White’s comments were short and sweet when asked about the current situation between himself and Tito Ortiz:
“Tito is living in a fucking bubble right now” said White “You saw what happened. I showed up and he didn’t. He’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him telling him it was a bad idea. He is out there making himself look like a jackass. He should shut his mouth and worry about Rashad Evans.”
Last night fans witnessed one of the biggest upsets ever as ‘The Ultimate Fighter 4’ winner Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre to win the UFC welterweight title. During the post-fight press conference Dana White stated that Serra’s first title defense would likely come against former champion Matt Hughes.
During the event Dana White announced the signing of heavyweight ace Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to a two-year contract.
The UFC gained a great deal of exposure last night as highlights of UFC 69: Shootout could be seen on ESPN, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and many other major television stations across the country.
TATAME is reporting that undefeated light heavyweight Thiago Silva will make his UFC debut May 26th at UFC 71. Silva (9-0) is the under 93kg Fury FC Grand Prix Champion. Training with Chute Boxe, Silva has showcased excellent striking ending 7 of his 9 fights by knock out.
TATAME is also reporting Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira has received an offer from the UFC. Pequeno is 12-4-2 with the majority of his victories coming by submission.
UFC on Spike TV:
Tuesday, April 10th: UFC Unleashed 9 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: The Ultimate Fighter 5 10 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: Countdown to Dana vs Tito 11 PM EST
Friday, April 13th: Countdown to Tito vs Dana Replay 12 AM EST
Last night UFC president Dana White announced the signing of former PRIDE heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a member of BTT and he sports a MMA record of 29-4-1 with 1 NC. Nogueira has spent the majority of his career in PRIDE racking up a record 17-3. Nogueira holds victories over the likes of Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, and Heath Herring. Nogueira’s only losses came to the hands of Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett and Dan Henderson.
This signing adds more depth to the ever improving UFC heavyweight division. Nogueira adds some spice to the UFC heavyweight division which is now home to Heath Herring, Fabricio Werdum, Mirko Filipovic, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Brandon Vera, and Gabriel Gonzaga.
Update: According to Graciemag.com, it is a two-year deal.