Bobby Lashley. Photo courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Upstart boxing promotion Prize Fight Promotions has teamed up with local Mississippi mixed martial arts promoters Fight Force International to put on quite the MMA event in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 27. The show will be headlined by an intriguing (to say the least) heavyweight bout between former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley and PRIDE and K-1 veteran Bob Sapp.
There are plenty of other notable bouts on the card as well. Dangerous strikers Gilbert Yvel and Pedro Rizzo will clash following their respective losses to Josh Barnett in recent Affliction show in the co-main event. Din Thomas will take on fellow longtime veteran Javier Vasquez, who is coming out of a temporary retirement, in a featherweight bout, and former IFL lightweight standout Chris Horodecki will face William Sriyapai.
Even Affliction VP Tom Atencio is on the card. (For those who are unaware, Atencio already has a pro fight under his belt. He earned a decision over David Martinez at Total Combat 7 in January 2005)
The current lineup for the event is below. Not all of the fights have been officially signed as of yet and more details regarding the event are expected to come at a press conference in Biloxi in two weeks. The event will be televised on IN DEMAND and Direct TV PPV.
Bobby Lashley vs. Bob Sapp
Pedro Rizzo vs. Gilbery Yvel
Chris Horodecki vs. William Sriyapai
Din Thomas vs. Javier Vasquez
Brett Cooper vs. Waachim Spiritwolf
Tom Atencio vs. TBA
James Orso vs. Colby McMahan
Jeff Monson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Former World Wrestling Entertainment star Bobby Lashley took a step up in competition and won in just his second professional fight, grinding out a unanimous decision over experienced veteran Jason Guida in a featherweight bout at Square Ring Promotions “March Badness” event on Saturday in Pensacola, Florida.
Also victorious was one-time UFC heavyweight title contender Jeff Monson, who earned a controversial unanimous nod over former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson. Notable veterans Din Thomas and Dennis Hallman also found the win column during the show as well. Future boxing hall-of-famer Roy Jones Jr. scored a fifth-round TKO of Omar Sheika in the night’s boxing main event.
Complete results (MMA) from the show:
Bobby Lashley def. Jason Guida - Unanimous Decision
Jeff Monson def. Roy Nelson - Unanimous Decision
Din Thomas def. Gabe Lemley - KO (Knee), R1
Dennis Hallman def. Danny Ruiz - Submission (Rear-Naked Choke), R1
James Freeman def. John Mowry - KO (Punch), R1
Din Thomas throws a right hand at Josh Neer. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The fourth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” was created with the intention to give veterans of the Ultimate Fighting Championship another shot to climb back into the limelight and secure a second stint with the promotion.
Many of the contestants took advantage. Din Thomas was one of them.
After losing a decision to eventual runner-up Chris Lytle on the show, Thomas went on rack up three straight wins, including impressive performances against current lightweight contenders Clay Guida and Rich Clementi.
Seemingly on his way into title contention, Thomas was paired up against Kenny Florian, who was attempting to get back into the championship picture himself. Unfortunately for Thomas, a knee injury suffered during the bout gave him his first loss in over a year and a half. The American Top Team member fell again earlier this month, losing a close decision to Josh Neer.
While the fight may have looked a lot closer than the story the judge’s scorecards told, Thomas will be the first one to admit that he lost the fight.
“For me, I try to be realistic about a fight,” Thomas said during a recent interview session with MMA on Tap. “While I felt that it was close, I actually felt I was losing the fight. I was pretty comfortable on the bottom. My game has always been to look for the submission from the bottom and if they give me enough space, get up. But if they don’t give me enough space, I can stay on my back all day and hope to catch something.”
Kenny Florian throws a knee at Joe Lauzon. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The ‘Battle of Boston’ went in Kenny Florian’s favor last night as he relentlessly pressured fellow Massachusetts native Joe Lauzon before ultimately stopping his foe with an onslaught of unanswered strikes during the latest edition of UFC Fight Night at the at the Broomfield Events Center in Denver, Colorado.
What originally was booked as a friendly matchup between two lightweight contenders slowly evolved into a heated exchange of pre-fight trash talking. The tension between the two was evident from the start of the fight as an intense staredown changed into a quick exchange of punches.
Lauzon quickly down Florian down in the first minute. An unorthodox attempt by Florian to use elbows from the bottom was foiled by referee Herb Dean after one of the blows cut the back of Lauzon’s head open. Florian then used solid submission defense to escape knee bar and heel hook attempts before eventually closing out the round delivering strikes from the top position.
Florian turned up the heat at the start of the second round. A swift body kick led to Florian scoring a takedown and transitioning to half-guard. The veteran of the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter” then rained down unanswered punches and elbows on Lauzon for nearly two full minutes. Despite a good job of covering up and limiting damage, Dean decided that Lauzon had enough, moving Florian even closer to another shot at the lightweight title that was once in his reach.
“Joe’s a great competitor and I knew it was gonna be a tough fight,” Florian said after the bout. “That’s what I wanted.”
Din Thomas throws a left hand at Kenny Florian at UFC Fight Night 11. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Josh Neer will likely make a return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship in nearly two years when he is matched up against American Top Team’s Din Thomas when the UFC returns to Denver, Colorado for the first time since the first Ultimate Ultimate tournament in 1995 at UFC Fight Night 13.
MMA Junkie is reporting that sources close to both fighters today have confirmed that the bout could be finalized within the next week or so.
Thomas saw his run through the lightweight division come to a halt against Kenny Florian in September. Thomas suffered suffered a torn meniscus, stretched anterior cruciate ligament, bruised femur, and a damaged tibia while attempting to take Florian down during the bout.
The Florida native was also arrested back in October for allegedly running an unsanctioned MMA event inside of his Port St. Lucie, Florida gym. Prosecutors dropped charges in November. Apparently there was some kind of loophole that allowed Thomas’ smoker to be permitted under the training part of the prohibited events law in Florida.
Neer has not fought in the UFC since being submitted by Nick Diaz at UFC 62 in August 2006. Since that time, he has won six of his seven bouts. His lone loss was a knockout at the hands of Mark Miller at an IFL show this past May.
Above is an official preview video for UFC 79 courtesy of the UFC as well as a preview for tonight’s UFC All-Access with Wanderlei Silva.
News and Notes
-White Chocolate Management has filed a lawsuit against UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and his manager, Juanito Ibarra because of a breach of contract the two had with the company.
According to Sherdog, WCM was forced to file a lawsuit after Ibarra went out of his way to block all incoming transactions and deals offered to Jackson:
WCM President Reed Wallace is asking for $10,000,000 in damages after being “forced into filing the lawsuit by Rampage’s manager Juanito Ibarra, who ‘bad mouthed’” WCM, according to a news release issued by the plaintiff on Thursday.
Wallace said that while the fighter remained friendly, the champion’s manager has “rejected or blocked all transactions and deals offered to Rampage from WCM. Ibarra then went behind WCM and contacted or had his agent contact those very same parties that WCM brought to the table.”
- The mother of UFC middleweight Drew McFedries was found dead in a Davenport, Iowa alleyway according to a report by The Quad-City Times:
The woman who was found dead in an alley in Davenport was the victim of a homicide, an autopsy revealed, though police are not saying exactly how. Agnes McFedries-Kennedy, 51, was found Saturday evening lying in the alley in the 1800 block between West 7th and West 8th streets. A couple returning to a residence near the scene discovered the body.
All of us at MMA on Tap would like to send our condolences to Drew and his family.
- Every long-time MMA fan loves to read about past adventures involving Lee Murray. Here’s Pat Miletich’s account of the infamous street fight between Murray and Tito Ortiz through the words of Matt Hughes via his new book.
Ever wonder why a lot of people don’t like Hughes? Be sure to check this out.
Touch of gloves to Fight Opinion for both of the finds.
- Din Thomas expects to return to action in March according to a recent interview with The Fight Network.
- Jarry Park has a preview of all of the New Year’s Eve MMA events going on.
The Palm Beach Post is reporting that prosecutors have decided to drop charges against UFC lightweight Din Thomas.
Thomas was arrested last month by police after they found him allegedly running an unsanctioned MMA event inside of his Port St. Lucie, Florida gym.
Apparently there was some kind of loophole that allowed Thomas’ smoker to be permitted under the training part of the prohibited events law. Either way good for Din.
Florida news site TC Palm is reporting that UFC veteran Din Thomas has been arrested by police for allegedly running an unsanctioned MMA event inside of his Port St. Lucie, Florida gym:
Thomas, 31, faces a felony prohibited competitions charge after police got a tip Oct. 19 about the matches at a facility he uses in St. Lucie West.
Inside, police observed two men fighting in an octagon-shaped ring surrounded by about 150 spectators. The fights reportedly weren’t sanctioned.
Amateur boxing matches are regulated and licensed by a sanctioning committee that’s approved by the boxing commission, but no mixed martial arts fights are allowed at the amateur level.
“At the end of the day, he was having a professional mixed martial arts match that was not licensed through us,” Farkas said. “It was a case of unlicensed activity.”
Here is a copy of the arrest warrant and statement made by police concerning Thomas’ arrest. It states that 5-7 matches were put on during the period of time. Fighters were not wearing any protective gear except for gloves and cups and that there was a $10 entry fee that was to go to a raffle drawing at the end of the night.
I tried to find out how long possible jail time for Thomas could be but the state of Florida’s official site is down as of right now. I’ll try to have more on this later.
I give this guy an A for effort. Hopefully the UFC considers him at least.
News and Notes
Everyone is excited about the return of Gilbert Melendez…
Sherdog: Melendez Makes 2007 Debut in Strikeforce
MMA Weekly: Melendez Returns More Determined Than Ever
Yahoo! Sports: Melendez the best fighter you might not know
Bloody Elbow: The World’s #1 Lightweight Fights Saturday at the Playboy Mansion
CBS Sports: Q&A with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez
- Jordan Breen says that the UFC is trying to secure another TV deal in Japan with WOWOW:
In the most recent issue of the Japanese combat sports periodical Gonkaku, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said he hoped to ink a new deal with Japanese satellite channel WOWOW next year. He added that an agreement could be accomplished sooner rather than later.
While a deal is far from complete, this is good news for Japanese MMA fans. As of March 2007, WOWOW has just over 2.43 million subscriptions in Japan. After the channel’s UFC 70 telecast in April, network executives had officially announced that they could not reach a contractual agreement with Zuffa to continue broadcasting UFC events.
- Din Thomas will most likely be out for at least four months according to MMA Weekly.
You may remember that Thomas injured his knee while attempting to take Kenny Florian down in their fight at UFC Fight Night 11. It turns out that Thomas suffered a torn meniscus, stretched anterior cruciate ligament, bruised femur, and a damaged tibia and will be required to undergo arthroscopic surgery within the next two weeks.
- Falaniko Vitale has been added to the Strikeforce card for this Saturday and will make his Strikeforce debut against Ron Fields.
- 411 Mania has confirmed with B.J. Penn’s camp that he is booked for UFC 79 in December.
- Tonight’s episode of Human Weapon on The History Channel will feature Strikeforce welterweight Cung Le.
- The second installment of Inside MMA will be broadcasted tonight at 9:30 PM EST on HDNet. Tonight’s episode will feature a segment on Shane Carwin, a visit to Duke Roufus’ MMA school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlights, and rankings. Hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will be joined by guests UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, and Chris Bruno.
- Still looking for something else to watch? Spike TV will be airing a replay of UFC Fight Night 11 tonight starting at 9 PM EST.
- Zach Arnold is reporting that Kazuhiro Nakamura and his management team, J-Rock, plan to file an appeal with the CSAC:
J-ROCK, the management team of Kazuhiro Nakamura, fired back at the California State Athletic Commission in the Japanese press on Thursday. The company released a statement on behalf of Nakamura, denying that he was guilty of using marijuana and that they are appealing the ruling. They want a drug test re-examination and are considering the current ruling a mistake. (In the statement, J-ROCK claims that they talked to Nakamura after the news of the failed drug test came out. Nakamura stated that he had no motive whatsoever for using marijuana and has not used marijuana.)
- Sam Caplan has an excellent interview with UFC light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander at Five Ounces of Pain. A single father taking care of six kids while fighting in the UFC, hosting his own radio show, and traveling the country to lecture on the culture of hip hop. Holy shit.
Tonight we will be going live at 7 PM EST, covering UFC Fight Night 11 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, weigh-in results, and much more:
UFC Fight Night 11 Weigh-In Results
Tap Selections: UFC Fight Night 11
Exclusive: Swick vs Goulet Off
Spencer Fisher Injured, Kenny Florian Fills In
Bouts Added to UFC Fight Night 11
Martin, Leben to Clash at UFC Fight Night 11
Swick and Goulet Signed for UFC Fight Night 11
Leben Declines Swick Fight; Goulet Now in the Picture
Din Thomas vs Kenny Florian
Chris Leben vs Terry Martin
Nate Diaz vs Junior Assuncao
Nate Quarry vs Pete Sell
Jonathan Goulet vs Dustin Hazelett
Thiago Alves vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Leonard Garcia vs Cole Miller
Gray Maynard vs Joe Veres
Luke Cummo vs Edilberto de Oliveira