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.
A good amount of news to report on…
NSAC Announces Tougher Drug Testing
The Nevada State Athletic Commission has announced that it has instituted expanded drug testing for state licensed fighters and those applying for new licenses as well.
The commission will now test fighters randomly throughout the year in hopes of lowering the number of positive tests.
“Random testing throughout the year will further deter any fighters considering taking non-approved substances,” NSAC Executive Director Keith Kizer told MMA Weekly. “The additional testing, which will be paid for by the Commission, will help us keep the sport of unarmed combat safe and fair for all fighters.”
Fighters who have tested positive for a certain substance in the past or are under suspicion of doing so may also be tested under the new regulations.
Tanner-Okami Set for UFC 82, Not Montreal Show
The UFC officially announced three additional fights earlier today for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion on March 1st at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Heavyweights Heath Herring and Cheick Kongo will collide on the main card while Josh Koscheck and Dustin Hazelett will be featured on an undercard bout.
Evan Tanner’s return bout against Yushin Okami was also announced. UFC color commentator Joe Rogan apparently told members of the media that the fight would be taking place at the UFC’s Canada show in April but that obviously isn’t the case now.
New UFC Additions and TUF Rumored Participants
Also, today marks the first day we have come across some TUF 7 rumored fighters. MMA Junkie has learned that Luke Zachrich will be on the show while Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Mike Marrello will be on the show as well.
TKO 32: Ultimatum Update
TKO Championship Fighting has made some updates to the official card for TKO 32: Ultimatum, which will take place on February 28th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Notable additions and subtractions: While former TKO heavyweight champion Icho Larenas’ fight against Lance Evans is no longer listed (not sure why but I’ll still include the fight in our rumored card), popular hockey enforcer Steve Bosse will be back in action against Scott Wright at the event.
The current card as of right now:
Jesse Bongfeldt vs. T.J. Grant - TKO Welterweight Title
Jose Landi-Jons vs. TBA
Icho Larenas vs. Lance Evans
Steve Bosse vs. Scott Wright
Stephane Vigneault vs. Daniel Ferguson
Damacio Page vs. Justin Tavernini
Johan Croes vs. Mark Fraser
Yannick Galipeau vs. Derek Gauthier
Adrian Wooley vs. Syd Barnier
Jordan Mein vs. Samuel Guillet
Christopher Hulme vs. Joel Pigeon
Guillaume Lamarche vs. Tim Wadsworth
Justin McCully grapples with Antoni Hardonk at UFC Fight Night 9. Photo by Mary Ann Owen.
Weeks after missing a deadline to accept a fight against heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo, Team Punishment’s Justin McCully has opted to undergo surgery that will remove a number of bone chips and spurs that have contributed to a nagging elbow injury that he is currently suffering from.
The Fight Network’s Ariel Helwani reports that McCully doesn’t even consider himself 100% at the moment:
“At this point, right now, I’m probably about 85 to 90 percent of myself,” McCully says. “I wouldn’t want to have to go into a fight with a man as good as Cheick Kongo and not give my best. It took 10 years to make it to the big dance [and] get to the UFC, and I don’t want to make any mistakes now that I am here. So, I’m going to get fixed, [and] I’m going to get back out there.”
McCully apparently hopes to face the winner of the Kongo-Heath Herring matchup that will most likely take place in March at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion.
Helwani also has an audio interview with McCully up at his Jarry Park website.
Above is the latest from The Garv who discusses the newly signed Kimbo Slice-Tank Abbott fight and how dangerous Miami is. I’m guessing that Will Smith is full of crap.
UFC Announces Nakamura-Emerson
The UFC has announced that a lightweight bout between Keita Nakamura and former Ultimate Fighter cast member Rob Emerson for UFC 81: Breaking Point next month.
Nakamura has not fought since losing a unanimous decision to Drew Fickett at UFC Fight Night 9 in April of last year. Nakamura also dropped a decision in his UFC debut against Brock Larson at UFC Fight Night 7.
Fresh off of his second stint in jail, Emerson will be making his first appearance inside the Octagon since his infamous fight against Gray Maynard at The Ultimate Fighter 5 Finale where he tapped out due to a rib injury and Maynard knocked himself out slamming Emerson to the ground.
While bout agreements have not yet been signed, both Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring are expected to face off in a heavyweight bout at UFC 82 in March according to a report from MMA Mania.
Juanito Ibarra, one of Kongo’s trainers, has stated that his client is already training in preparation for the bout:
“Kongo’s here at my house already getting ready for the fight,” said Ibarra. “This is going to be his year. Kongo’s got all the talent to be a heavyweight champion real soon, I truly believe that. Heath’s a tough opponent and this is going to be a big test.”
UFC Releases Radev and Hightower
No, there hasn’t been an official announcement by Dana White and company. Instead the news comes inadvertently from Ken Pavia’s journal about his dieting adventure with Luke Cummo via MMA Junkie:
The day needed a pick-me-up so I called UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to check the progress of my guys’ fights. He said he was still working on it but then informed me they would be releasing two of them, Jordan Radev and Richie Hightower.
Apparently Radev has already been booked to fight Hector Lombard at Cage Fighting Championship’s third event on February 15th in Sydney, Australia.
Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund Reminder
While there aren’t any items currently up for auction for the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund, remember that you can always donate directly to the fund by visiting it’s official website.
Any fighters that are interested in donating items that can be auctioned off such as autographed pictures, shorts, gloves, or anything else should contact Randy Harris at email@example.com
Remember that all proceeds from the auctioned items go directly to the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund.
Marcelo Garcia has joined American Top Team. MMA Junkie is reporting that UFC Fight Night 13 will most likely take place on April 2nd at a site yet to be determined in Colorado. The Nevada State Athletic Commission corrected the attendance and revenues stemming from UFC 79 yesterday. Scott White has a good piece on David Loiseau’s return. John Philapavage tries to revive Mirko Cro Cop’s career.
12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
1-3 PM EST - The Jordan Breen Show
2-3 PM EST - The Lights Out Show
3-5 PM EST - The Stephen Quadros Show
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio
As you can see above, Chris Fries and The JDH of MMA News fame will premiere their “Lights Out Show” this afternoon on TAGG Radio at 2 PM EST.
Fightlinker also has the newest edition of The Low Blow out.
NBC has released a nice video introducing each of the women American Gladiators, including Gina Carano. She was pretty impressive last night in my opinion and I’m sure everyone got a kick out of her pulling guard during the “Pyramid” event. Another episode is on this evening in it’s normal time slot at 8:00 PM EST on NBC.
Cage Potato says that last night’s episode was terrible. I think it was bad but not that bad, with a few changes it’ll be better.
Here’s a little catch-up on some of the things that we may have missed over the weekend:
Bloody Elbow: Vince McMahon and the UFC
Houston Chronicle: Henderson supremely confident prepping for Silva
MMA Weekly: UFC Offers Machida Fight With Ortiz
TKO Xtreme: Xtreme Couture Coming to Toronto
Sherdog: Hardy Headed for U.S. in ‘08
MMA Junkie: Heath Herring Offered UFC 82 Fight with Cheick Kongo
Five Ounces of Pain: Xtreme Couture to field team at IFL opener on Feb. 29
Sam Caplan: Baroni talks career options and steroids
Fight Opinion: He’s back… Bob Meyrowitz
Our rumors page will be updated as soon as possible.
Matyushenko and Palaszewski Move to Chicago IFL Team
IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko and popular lightweight Bart Palaszewski have opted to leave their respective teams and join the new Chicago franchise in the IFL according to The Fight Network:
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers, and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2), and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Los Angeles Sabres team.
Palaszewski said the team will train at Sean Bormet’s Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Naperville, home of Arlovski and Team Pitbull. Overtime’s coaching staff is comprised of wrestling standouts Bormet, Kerry Boumans, and John Kading, along with boxing trainer Mike Garcia and jiu-jitsu specialist Dino Costeas.
I thought it was the Tokyo Sabres and the Los Angeles Anacondas but whatever…
Pancrase Releases Partial Card for Jan 30 Event
Panrcrase has announced four scheduled bouts for the first event on it’s 2008 Shining Tour. The main event will feature Katsuya Inoue defending his welterweight King of Pancrase title against Satoru Kitaoka in the third career fight between the two.
The remainder of the card:
Daisuke Hanazawa vs. Wataru Takahashi
Shinsuke Shoji vs. Yuichi Ikari
Yuki Yamasawa vs. Seiya Kawahara
Fightlinker is also still taking e-mailed questions until 6:00 PM EST today for their usual “mailbag” show that will go up later tonight.
Two of the best ever in their respective sports right there peoples.
News and Notes
- Our rumors page has been updated.
- HDNet has announced that Yarennoka! will be airing live from Japan at 6:00 AM EST on HDNet on New Year’s Eve. Additional re-broadcasts of the event will take place on the same day at 3:00 PM EST, January 4th at 10:30 PM EST, and January 5th at 3:00 AM EST and 3:00 PM EST.
- The Fight Network is reporting that Jesse Veium will replace an injured Cyrille Diabate against Travis Wiuff at IFO: Fireworks in the Cage IV on December 28th.
Diabate was forced to pull out of his bout against Wiuff after suffering a broken ankle during training.
- Justin McCully has apparently missed the deadline to accept a fight against Cheick Kongo at UFC 82 in February according to Brian Knapp of The Fight Network.
We reported yesterday that McCully had been offered a fight against Kongo but had not yet made a decision.
According to Knapp, McCully can still have the fight but only if he accepts before the UFC finds a replacement opponent for Kongo.
Bloody Elbow: Dear Denny Burkholder
MMA Mania: UFCs Georges St. Pierre and the Fuzzy Brossard
FIve Ounces of Pain: February could be busiest month in MMA history
CBS Sportsline: UFC Tapout video game revisited
Jarry Park: Jamie Varner Really Likes His Chances Against Razor Rob
The UFC is certainly starting 2008 with a bang in terms of all of the fights they’ve put together already. Here’s some news on three more potential matchups that could be announced in the near future.
Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that Michael Bisping will make his debut at middleweight against “Chainsaw” Charles McCarthy at an upcoming UFC event in London, England on March 8th. That gives us two UFC events in the month of March and both just six days apart. (UFC 82 is currently slated to take place on March 2nd at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio)
While we all know what Bisping has been up to these days, McCarthy has not fought in the UFC since submitting Gideon Ray with an armbar at The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale last year. McCarthy was stopped in his debut by David Loiseau at UFC 53: Heavy Hitters in June 2005.
The Fight Network is reporting two things of interest in the UFC’s heavyweight division.
According to Loretta Hunt, the UFC has offered Justin McCully a bout against Cheick Kongo for UFC 81 in February. McCully has apparently not yet made a decision on the offer but is expected to make one at some point this week.
It seems that the UFC was originally leaning on having Kongo take on fellow contender Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira but that all fell apart once Randy Couture resigned from the company.
Speaking of Nogueira, Hunt has also learned that he and former champion Tim Sylvia have both been sent bout agreements to face each other for the vacant UFC Heavyweight Title on February 2nd.
According to Sylvia’s manager Monte Cox, Sylvia has signed his paper:
“Tim signed the contract, and we haven’t heard anything else about it—if Nogueira has signed his contract or what,” said Cox.
I know we haven’t posted it but a lot of other sites have. Here’s a promo for UFC WiRED, a new show hosted by UFC color commentator Joe Rogan that debuts this weekend.
News and Notes
- Adam Smith, who competed on last weekend’s Strikeforce at the Mansion card against K-1 veteran Dewey Cooper, has tested positive for cocaine and marijuana according to the California State Athletic Commission. Smith will be suspended until June 25th of next year and fined $1,500.
- Anyone watch Dog The Bounty Hunter? Dog’s son Leland will be making his MMA debut on October 20th at No Limits Fighting’s Brawl for it All event.
- UFC vice president Marc Ratner told Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports yesterday that Anthony Torres tested positive for the anabolic steroid Boldenone through the post-fight tests done after UFC 75. Torres is the first fighter to test positive under the UFC’s testing done when events are held outside of the United States. Torres was released from his contract by the UFC, not because of the positive test, but because of a poor performance against his opponent at UFC 75, Jess Liaudin.
All of the other fighters tested at UFC 75 - Quinton Jackson, Dan Henderson, Dennis Siver, Michael Bisping, Terry Etim, Houston Alexander and Gleison Tibau all passed. All of the fighters who competed at UFC 76 passed their tests for performance enhancing drugs as well.
- Keith Jardine has told MMA Weekly that he plans on returning to the Octagon in January:
“I’m thinking January, the early part of the year would be a good time,” said Jardine about the ideal time for his next fight.
- SUN Sports & Entertainment has announced the complete fight card for Art of War 4: Mississippi Mayhem, scheduled to take place on October 27th:
Ron Faircloth vs Chris Hawk
Rex Richards vs Shane Carwin
Mike Wessel vs Matt Thomas
Andrew Chappelle vs Adriano Nasal
DJ Watkins vs Kyle Gibbons
David Hulett vs David Brown
Keith Bach vs Mark Wiggins
Andy Uhrich vs Chris Gates
- Sam Caplan is reporting through Dave Meltzer that Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo may not be fighting at UFC 79 after all:
According to Dave Meltzer in his latest FoxSports.com column, a rumored match between Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Cheick Kongo may not take place at UFC 79 on Dec. 29 as had been previously reported. It now appears that Nogueira vs. Kongo could take place in either January or February.
- Zach Arnold is reporting that the PRIDE FC Worldwide office in Tokyo has been shut down and all of the workers have been fired.
The Fight Network is reporting that UFC heavyweight contender Cheick Kongo and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira will lock horns Saturday, Dec. 29 at UFC 79 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Former PRIDE heavyweight champion, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, made his UFC debut against Heath Herring in July at UFC 73: Stacked. Herring almost spoiled Nogueira’s debut in the first when he caught him with a head kick but Nogueira showed his versatility fighting through it to eventually secure a unanimous decision victory.
Cheick Kongo (11-3-1) sports a UFC record of 4-1. Kongo holds UFC victories over Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic, Assuerio Silva, Christian Wellisch, and Gilbert Aldana.
The winner of this fight will likely be in line for a shot at UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture’s title.
Forrest Griffin discusses his recent win over Mauricio “Shogun” Rua at the UFC 76 post-fight press conference.
News and Notes
- Forrest Griffin knows that Wanderlei Silva apparently wants to fight him. However Griffin isn’t sure if he would be medically cleared for UFC 79 in December:
“It kind of would, yeah,” said Griffin about a December date with Silva being too soon. “I’d love to fight him if I didn’t have a giant hole in my face right now. We were in the hotel lobby and I was doing an interview with someone and they’re like ‘Wanderlei just said he wants to fight you’ and I was like ‘Right now, really, right now? He wants to fight me? I know he’s a Chute Boxe guy, but right now?’ And they were like no, no, no … in December.”
“We’ll see medically,” Griffin stated about the December card. “[It’ll] take a couple of weeks to figure it out.”
The cut that Griffin sustained was pretty severe and I’m going to assume that the CSAC will medically suspend him for at least a month without contact. However UFC 79 isn’t until December 29th, which would still give Griffin a good two months to be able to train for the fight. I guess we’ll see what happens…
- Looking for an update on Dan Henderson? The Fight Network has one.
Apparently Henderson only has one fight left on his current contract with the UFC. He has also stated that he would be ready to fight by November but that he would like to stay at light heavyweight, despite the UFC’s efforts to attempt to get Henderson to move down to his natural weight of 185.
- Cage Rage has released part of the upcoming card for Cage Rage 24: Feel The Pain:
Evangelista Santos vs Paul Cahoon
Mark Epstein vs Tom Watson
Ross Pointon vs Marios Zaromskis
Brad Pickett vs Ronnie Mann
Abdul Mohammed vs Robbie Oliver
James McSweeney vs Robert Paczkow
Neil Grove vs Robert Berry
- Matt Hamill has set the story straight concerning his recent knee surgery and stated that he would like to rematch Michael Bisping in December on his official sitehttp://www.matthamill.com/.
- Entertaining PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono announced at his own press conference yesterday that he has signed with the UFC and will be fighting welterweight Tamden McCrory at UFC 78 in November:
“I know his fight record,” Gono said of the 20-year-old McCrory. “I know that he’s tall, young and has a long reach.”
- The California State Athletic Commission has released the official attendance and gate for UFC 76:
The UFC 76 “Knockout” event on September 22nd in Anaheim, California had an official attendance of 13,770 - with 1,953 of those seats as comps (tickets given away for free to media, friends, celebrities, etc.) for a gate of $1,984,880.
- MMA Weekly has released their latest set of rankings.
Fightlinker: I loves me some Mac Danzig
Sherdog: Old-School Event Sparks Backlash in Brazil
Fight Opinion: Wednesday war room: Where’s my PRIDE?
Five Ounces of Pain: ShoXC to return on Oct. 26 featuring Javi Vazquez, Aaron Rosa, and Muhsin Corbbrey
MMA Analyst: Is the PRIDE vs. UFC debate over?
MMA HQ: “Minotauro” Nogueria vs Cheick Kongo at UFC 79?