John Chandler here to break down UFC 81: Breaking Point fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.
The event is scheduled to take place tomorrow night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
UFC 81: Breaking Point features a total of nine fights including a battle for the interim UFC heavyweight title between former champion Tim Sylvia and former PRIDE star Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira as well as the UFC debut of one-time professional wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar as he goes up against former champion Frank Mir.
Tim Boetsch tries to block a punch from Vladimir Matyushenko at the IFL Championship Semifinals. Photo courtesy of IFL.
It seems that David Heath will be part of next week’s UFC 81: Breaking Point after all…
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that light heavyweight prospect Tim Boetsch will take on Heath in a preliminary bout at the event, rounding out the card.
MMA Weekly originally reported that Heath would be taking on Anthony Ruiz but the report seemed to be premature.
Boetsch won the first six fights of his professional mixed martial arts career before losing a unanimous decision to Vladimir Matyushenko at the IFL Championship Semfinals this past August. The Sunbury, Pennsylvania native is also a former USKBA heayweight champion.
David Heath weighs-in for UFC 74: Respect. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that they will not find a replacement opponent for light heavyweight David Heath, thus making next weekend’s UFC 81: Breaking Point an event with only eight fights.
The promotion announced the decision on their official website earlier today.
Heath’s scheduled opponent, Tomasz Drwal, was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training.
The last UFC event to only have eight fights take place was UFC 72: Victory this past June.
Thiago Silva delivers a body kick to Tomasz Drwal at UFC 75. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Light heavyweight striker Tomasz Drwal has reportedly been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against David Heath at UFC 81: Breaking Point next month after suffering an injury during a recent training session.
Drwal was stopped by light heavyweight contender Thiago Silva in his debut at UFC 75: Champion vs Champion back in September. The loss snapped a 13-fight winning streak for Drwal. The slick striker has won half of his sixteen career fights by either knockout or technical knockout and has never gone the distance.
A potential replacement opponent for Heath has not yet been announced.
David Heath will face Tomas Drwal in a light heavyweight bout at UFC 81: Breaking Point on February 2nd according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Heath has dropped his last two bouts in the UFC after previously winning his first two. Wins over Cory Walmsley and Victor Valimaki have been countered back losses to Ryoto Machida and Renato “Babalu” Sobral.
Drwal was unsuccessful in his UFC debut, being stopped with strikes at the hands of Thiago Silva at UFC 75 in September.
News and Notes
- Reaction from last night’s Ultimate Fighter 6 episode:
UFC: Matt Hughes’ Blog – Week Eleven; The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes – Episode Eleven Recap
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Speer Into TUF 6 Semis
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 11 Recap
MMA Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 recap and discussion
Five Ounces of Pain: TUF 6: Episode 11 Recap/Thoughts
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 Recap
Steve Cofield: Ben Saunders has his say
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 10
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Leonard Garcia will be moving to the WEC to compete in the featherweight division according to Garcia’s trainer Greg Jackson:
“Leonard (Garcia) is such a great fighter and a strong guy, but he walks around at like three pounds over weight,” said Jackson about his fighter’s move to featherweight. “He had to eat the morning of the weigh-ins the last time. We’ve got to bring him down a weight class where he’s going to be more effective. We talked after his last fight and 145 is where he’s going to be. I’m really looking forward to proving ourselves in that division in the WEC.”
- Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will take on former WEC bantamweight contender Rani Yahya at K-1 “Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve according to a report from Sports Navi.
Touch of gloves to The Fight Network for that one.
- Sam Caplan has some pretty big news to report…
First off, apparently Andre Gusmao will not be fighting David Heath at UFC 81 because he’s not even signed with the UFC:
Several reports have surfaced in the last 48 hours claiming that Andre Gusmao will be debuting for the UFC at UFC 81 on February 2 against David Heath. Pro Elite has learned that those reports are incorrect, as the IFL has a contract option to retain Gusmao for the 2008 season and will be exercising that option.
The UFC had been in discussions with someone falsely claiming to be representing Gusmao and misrepresenting information during the faux negotiations. According to the source, the UFC was contacted by the IFL soon after hearing the reports of Gusmao’s departure.
Secondly, Caplan has learned that M-1 Global is leaning towards holding their first-ever event at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ in March, which is good for this site because of a short traveling distance.
- Adam Morgan at Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Dan Barrera and Ben Saunders will rematch at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale next Saturday.
London Free Press: He’s called the Crosby of fighting
Sherdog: Politics of Promoting on New Year’s Eve in Japan
MMA Opinion: We Found Rampage!
Bloody Elbow: How Dana White Blew It in 2007
MMA Analyst: Sengoku won’t prove who is the Fight Master
Former IFL light heavyweight Andre Gusmao will make his UFC debut against David Heath at UFC 81 in February according to MMA Weekly.
Gusmao holds a perfect MMA record of 5-0, with four of those wins coming in the IFL. Gusmao defeated Brent Beauparlant, Wojtek Kaszowski, and Mike Ciesnolevicz on two separate occasions while competing as a member of the New York Pitbulls under Renzo Gracie.
Heath is coming off of a controversial submission loss to Renato “Babalu” Sobral that ended up costing Sobral his job in the UFC. Before that, Heath fell victim to the undefeated Ryoto Machida at UFC 70. Heath was victorious in his first two UFC fights, earnings wins over Cory Walmsley and Victor Valimaki respectively.
The Fight Network is reporting that the Nevada State Athletic Commission voted today to withhold Renato Sobral’s $25,000 win bonus following his actions at UFC 74: Respect.
Controversy ensued when Sobral locked on a fight-ending anaconda choke and refused to let go after his opponent David Heath tapped ultimately choking him unconscious. During his post-fight interview Babalu stated that he felt he needed to teach Heath some respect.
“Always, like in every fight I didn’t understand what he is talking about because after the fight I’m tired and didn’t realize what he was talking about,” explained Sobral. “I didn’t say at any time that I hold the choke. I did say I did what I did to teach some respect because the show was called ‘Respect.’ I just talked about my own words, not about Joe Rogan’s questions. I never understood what he said after the fight because my English is not that good.”
Erik Apple, Babalu’s former training partner, commented on the situation saying “The NSAC kept the entire win purse and issued no suspension. That’s a hefty fine for a family that just moved to the USA and is trying to set up a stable life here.”
To My Family, Friends, Fans and Sponsors:
Since UFC 74, I have wanted to speak publicly about my fight with David Heath. I waited to do so, however, out of respect for the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Zuffa, Inc. and Dana White. After all, it is their efforts that have legitimized Mixed Martial Arts in the sports world and I realize that my conduct has unintentionally hindered those efforts. For that, among other things, I am deeply sorry.
I have been fighting professionally since 1998. Prior to my fight with David Heath, my professional record was twenty-seven wins with seven losses. Fourteen of my victories came by way of submission. Not once was I ever accused of holding a choke or submission too long. If anything, there has always been and continues to be a great camaraderie between my opponents and I after the fight.
Being a professional mixed martial artist is more than a career to me. It is my livelihood and my way of life. Consequently, I am deeply sorry for any embarrassment that has been brought upon the sport, other mixed martial artists (especially David Heath), my Academy and most importantly, my family.
UFC President Dana White hosted a conference call earlier today in preparation for the upcoming UFC 75: Champion vs Champion event set to take place on September 8th from London, England. The fighters featured on the call were UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson, PRIDE Middleweight and Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, Michael Bisping, and Matt Hamill through the use of an interpreter.