Diego Sanchez

Sanchez-Guida Announced for “TUF 9” Finale

Diego Sanchez. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

A much-anticipated lightweight bout between one-time “Ultimate Fighter” winner Diego Sanchez and scrappy fan-favorite Clay Guida will headline “The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale”, which will take place on June 20 at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

“Diego Sanchez vs. Clay Guida has the potential to be one of the most action packed fights of the year,” UFC President Dana White said today in a press release. “Both men have won multiple “Fight of the Night “awards and are two of the most aggressive grapplers in the division. Guida is coming off a big win over Nate Diaz and Sanchez just defeated Joe Stevenson. The winner of this fight will move into the upper portion of the lightweight rankings and get that much closer to a title shot.”

After spending the majority of his UFC career in the welterweight division, Sanchez opted to drop down to lightweight and picked his first win in his new weight class at UFC 95 in February, winning a unanimous decision over former title challenger Joe Stevenson.

Consecutive fights against tough competition had Guida struggle at the start of his tenure in the UFC, but “The Carpenter” has now reeled off three straight victories, including consecutive decision wins over “Ultimate Fighter” winners Nate Diaz and Mac Danzig.

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The Case for Diego Sanchez at UFC 95

Diego Sanchez. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Coming into a fight between two well-round fighters like Diego Sanchez and Joe Stevenson, it’s hard to pick a winner right off the bat. Often times, we look to the factors outside of the fight. In this case, it’s the fact that Saturday’s bout will be Sanchez’s first at lightweight and that Stevenson has lost two out of his last three fights and hasn’t looked good at all in defeat.

So what about the fight itself? Luke Thomas says that Stevenson’s past should give us something to look for:

Sanchez’s legendary tenacity and offensive-opportunistic style is kryptonite against Stevenson, who has shown a propensity to be overwhelmed by adept, aggressive grapplers. Grapplers with what I call “transition and position emphasis” that can also use balance, base, posture and submission defense to unload ground and pound also give Stevenson trouble. There’s little doubt Stevenson is an excellent submission wrestler, but his willingness to play defense too long in the face of heavy storms has been - and likely will be this weekend - his undoing.

Luke is right. Stevenson folded under the pressure that B.J. Penn and Kenny Florian brought upon him and the same thing happened when he lost to Josh Neer in his first UFC fight after winning “TUF”. Unless Diego makes a mistake and Stevenson is able to catch him in a quick submission, I just don’t see him winning this fight.

Video Preview: Sanchez vs Stevenson

Above is a video preview of the upcoming lightweight showdown between Diego Sanchez and former UFC lightweight title challenger Joe Stevenson at UFC 95, which takes place this Saturday at the O2 Arena in London, England.

Sanchez Believes Stevenson Hasn’t “Evolved”

In the above video courtesy of ESPN, Diego Sanchez discusses his upcoming lightweight bout against Joe Stevenson, which will take place at UFC 95 this Saturday in London, England.

Drop to Lightweight Not Permanent for Sanchez

Diego Sanchez. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

After months and months of rumors concerning his eventual drop to lightweight, Sanchez finally made the move to fight at a lower weight late last year after signing to fight Joe Stevenson in the main event of UFC 95 on February 21.

Despite the transition seeming practical due to his size, Sanchez recently told MMA Weekly’s “Sound Off” radio show that the move is only temporary:

Always known for his tremendous strength and cardio conditioning, Sanchez will not accept a loss in either of those categories for his move to lightweight, which may not last as long as some people may have expected.

“I definitely am going to go back to welterweight. Maybe a year, year and a half at this weight, we’ll see,” he said in the interview. “It’s all about the business and the right fights, whatever are the best fights for the UFC. I’m here to put the best fights on for the fans and the UFC, and be the best fighter out there that I can be for you guys.”

It was shown in Sanchez’s losses to Jon Fitch and Josh Koscheck at welterweight that his ground-and-pound style isn’t very effective at 170 lbs, but could very well be at 155 lbs, which seems like a more natural weight for him to be fighting at. If he is going to move back to welterweight in the future, it would be wise for him to do so after the title contenders picture isn’t so wide open.

Sanchez vs. Stevenson to Headline UFC 95 in England

Diego Sanchez. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Diego Sanchez’s move to the lightweight division has been made official. The former middleweight winner of the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter” will take on another winner of the reality show, Joe Stevenson in a bout that will headline the UFC’s return to England for UFC 95 on February 21.

UFC President Dana White confirmed the matchup at the post-fight press conference for UFC 92 early Sunday morning.

After defeating Kenny Florian at The Ultimate Fighter Finale in April 2005, Sanchez moved down to the welterweight division where he racked up a 7-2 record, including a five-fight winning streak that saw Sanchez win a decision over Karo Parisyan and score a knockout of Joe Riggs.

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UFC 90 Nearly Already Sold-Out

Patrick Cote. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Ticket sales for UFC 90 may have gone a little better than expected so far. Similar to the UFC’s inaugural venture up to Canada earlier this year, the show is nearly sold-out just one day after tickets went on-sale to the general public.

Only 3,000 or so seats remained as of yesterday afternoon according to UFC President Dana White, who met with media and fans at the Woodfield Mall in Chicago yesterday for a pre-fight press conference concerning the event (Video here). With a gate over $2 million so far, UFC 90 is expected to smash previous attendance records for the Allstate Arena, which were set by WWE at Wrestlemania 22 in April 2006.

‘‘This is a bold statement in a town with the White Sox and Cubs and the Bears, but I guarantee you this will be the most exciting live sporting event you have ever seen,’’ White said yesterday. ‘‘I can’t explain it to you. You have to experience it. The closest thing that comes to it is when Mike Tyson was in his heyday. There was so much excitement about someone getting knocked out.’’

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Evening News and Notes - July 21, 2008

Randy Couture. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Couture Expecting Contractual Ruling This Week

Embattled UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture reportedly expects a Texas state court to rule this week on his contractual standing with the organization, potentially setting up an anticipated showdown between himself and heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko according to Alex Marvez of FOXSports.com.

Even though a ruling may be made, Couture believes that his status won’t be completely finalized due to possible appeals from the losing party. However Couture remains confident that he will indeed face Emelianenko sometime before his impending retirement in the near future.

“When, where and with what promotion — we don’t know,” Couture said in the report. “It could happen in the UFC. We just don’t know. I want it to happen. Fedor wants it to happen. In some way, shape or form, we’re going to make it happen.”

Affliction: Banned Salaries and Numbers

The California State Athletic Commission today released the official fighter salaries, attendance numbers, and gate receipts for this past weekend’s “Affliction: Banned” event, which took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim in front of a crowd of 14,832. According to the commission, 3,590 complimentary tickets were given out and 740 tickets went unsold. The gate receipts turned in a reported $2,085,510. The complimentary and unsold tickets were worth 757,900.

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White Confirms UFC’s Venture to Chicago

Dana White. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It seems that the rumors are true - the Ultimate Fighting Championship will be traveling to “The Windy City” for the first time in the promotion’s history when they visit Chicago for a planned UFC 90 event on October 25th at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.

White confirmed the date and location during a recent interview with The Chicago Sun-Times.

‘‘Chicago is a huge market for us,’’ White said in the article. ‘‘We track pay-per-view buys for our events and ratings on Spike TV, and Chicago is a killer market for us. There are tons of fans in Chicago and around Chicago, and it’s going to be one of the places we hit often. It’s a great fight town, and we’re really pumped that we’re finally getting this done.’‘

While White was unable to confirm any fighters for the card, one notable name who may not be able to compete is Illinois native Matt Hughes, who is currently recovering from multiple torn ligaments suffered in his recent loss to Thiago Alves and has stated that he will likely be out of action for 6-7 months.

Another potential bout for the card was a previously rumored matchup between welterweight contenders Alves and Diego Sanchez. The bout was said to be happening at England’s UFC 89 in October but Dave Meltzer has since learned that the bout is not even signed and will definitely not be added to the overseas card.

HT: MMA Junkie

TUF 7: Finale Live Results

Results from The Ultimate Fighter 7 Finale:
Rob Kimmons def. Rob Yundt - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Dean Lister def. Jeremy Horn - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Matt Brown def. Matt Arroyo - TKO
Drew McFedries def. Marvin Eastman - TKO
Tim Credeur vs. Cale Yarbrough - Cancelled
Dustin Hazelett def. Josh Burkman - Submission (Armbar)
Matt Riddle def. Dante Rivera - Unanimous Decision
Spencer Fisher def. Jeremy Stephens - Unanimous Decision
Diego Sanchez def. Luigi Fioravanti - TKO
Amir Sadollah def. CB Dollaway - Submission (Armbar)
Kendall Grove def. Evan Tanner - Split Decision

- Dollaway protested his loss, suggesting he didn’t tap out.  It did appear that he tapped once.  It resulted in a good-looking hanging armbar from Sadollah.
- Tanner could not solve Grove’s size.  He walked into a few punches, and looked surprised by the reach of Grove’s legs.  Tanner had a good third round, but nothing that compared to the first two, which easily went to Grove.  The split decision result was curious.

Live commentary:
MMA Weekly
Bloody Elbow

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