Mirko Cro Cop is introduced before his bout against Josh Barnett at PRIDE Final Conflict Absolute 2006. Photo property of PRIDE FC Worldwide.
SAITAMA - Returning to one of his favorite venues, Mirko Cro Cop made it look easy tonight. The cool but lethal Croatian mixed martial arts superstar required a mere 56 seconds to dispatch Tatsuya Mizuno by KO at the DREAM.1 Lightweight Grand Prix 2008 1st Round.
Held before a sellout crowd at the Saitama Super Arena—with millions of Japanese television viewers watching live—DREAM.1 featured seven qualification bouts in the DREAM Lightweight (70 kg/154 lbs) class, along with a trio of open-weight fights. This was the inaugural DREAM production—but such is the talent on tap that fans have already dubbed DREAM one of the world’s finest mixed martial arts productions.
All bouts were fought under Official DREAM mixed martial arts rules, with a 10 min first and 5 min second round.
Probably the most highly-anticipated fight on the card featured 33 year-old Mirko Cro Cop, who took on Japanese judo fighter Tatsuya Mizuno. Cro Cop wasted no time here, firing in the low kicks from the bell, stepping forward to lock up Mizuno’s right arm then pumping in uppercuts and straight punches to deposit his opponent on the canvas in a heap of pain. Cro Cop leapt atop the unresponsive Mizuno for a ground and pound finish, leaving the referee no choice but to jump in and call it.
“A lot of fighters refuse to fight me these days, but he had courage and he accepted,” said Cro Cop afterward from center ring. “For my next fight, I will need a stronger opponent, so anyone is welcome!” Who will answer the call?
Photo courtesy of Fight Entertainment Group.
Fight Entertainment Group has announced five more bouts for the upcoming inaugural event of the newly-formed DREAM promotion, which will take place on March 15th at the Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo, Japan.
Three of the fights have been announced as being part of the promotion’s lightweight grand prix: Mitsuhiro Ishida will take on Yarennoka! upstart Bu Kyung Jung, Katsuhiko Nagata goes up against Artur Oumakhanov, and Eddie Alvarez will face off against Andre Dida in a previously reported bout.
The new additions give the tournament a total of seven opening-round bouts, a number that DREAM producer Keiichi Sasahara confirmed as being final for the time being. Sasahara also announced that Caol Uno and Vitor Riberio, who were both advertised as competing in the tournament, will be unavailable due to injury.
Hayato Sakurai will look to extend his current four-fight winning streak against Hidetaka Monma in a non-tournament bout. The fight will take place at a catch-weight of 168 lbs. Also announced as being part of the card was Ikuhisa “The Punk” Minowa, who will take on an opponent yet to be determined.
Although Mirko Cro Cop announced yesterday via his official blog that he would be facing Yoshihiro Nakao in his first fight for DREAM, officials did not make any formal announcement other than Cro Cop’s participation at the event will still take place.
The promotion, which will also be run by officials involved with Yarennoka! and promoted by the Tokyo Broadcasting System, will now serve as the official successor for the PRIDE and K-1 Hero’s brands. K-1 announced plans for the discontinuation of Hero’s events earlier this year.
The complete card for the event thus far can be viewed through our rumors section.
Eddie Alvarez has his hand raised after winning a unanimous decision over Matt Lee in July 2007. Photo by David Singer.
It looks like a reported April bout between Philadelphia Fight Factory product Eddie Alvarez and Mike Aina will not be coming to fruition after all.
Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Alvarez has signed on to fight Andre Dida in the first round of DREAM’s upcoming lightweight grand prix on March 15th.
“The fight is 100%,” Alvarez told Sam Caplan in the report. “I just got a call from my manager, Monte Cox and everything is underway. Everything is approved and I’ll be heading over to Japan on March 10tj to fight in the lightweight Grand Prix. Monte talked it over with EliteXC and they were happy to work with DREAM. I’m sure they want to do business with them in the future so I’m sure they are more than happy to lend me over and let me do the fight.”
Alvarez inked a three-fight deal with EliteXC last month. The contract with also allow to compete in select M-1 Global events as well.
The former Bodog Fight welterweight champion is coming off of an impressive knockout of Ross Ebanez in the most recent edition of the ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on Showtime.
Eddie Alvarez has his hand raised after winning a unanimous decision over Matt Lee in July 2007. Photo by David Singer.
A lot of news coming to our attention late today…
Alvarez-Aina Possible at EliteXC April Show
Former BodogFight welterweight champion Eddie Alvarez is currently in negotiations to take on EliteXC lightweight Mike Aina at an unannounced show in April according to a report by The Fight Network, who confirmed the contract talks yesterday with Alvarez.
Alvarez is coming off of an impressive knockout of Ross Ebanez at the fourth edition of ShoXC’s Elite Challenger Series. The Philadelphia native signed a three-fight deal with EliteXC earlier this month. Aina has not fought since losing a razor close decision to Nick Diaz in September.
Liddell-Rua Signed for June
A rumored bout between former champions Chuck Liddell and Mauricio “Shogun” Rua is now official according to Sherdog, who confirmed the bout with Rua himself earlier today:
“The fight against Liddell is confirmed,” Rua said. “I signed the contract yesterday. Now I am going to train hard, focused on him, to represent my new team, Universidade da Luta, and my country. The fight is going to be in June.”
This could be an interesting fight and a possible great matchup for Liddell. Just like Wanderlei Silva, Rua loves to push the envelope and come right at his opponent, which is a dream come true for a counter-puncher like Liddell.
In order to win this one, “Shogun” will have to find a way to counter Liddell’s wrestling with a ground attack that will keep Liddell off-balance during scrambles. Should be a fun chess match to watch if it does actually go down.
Edgar-Maynard Set for UFC Fight Night 13
Lightweights Frankie Edgar and Gray Maynard are set to clash at UFC Fight Night 13 in April according to Five Ounces of Pain.
We reported earlier this week through Five Ounces that Edgar was offered a bout against former PRIDE lightweight champ Takanori Gomi by the UFC, only to have the plans fall through after the promotion was unable to sign Gomi to an official contract.
Maynard was victorious last week, winning a decision over Dennis Siver at UFC Fight Night 12.
Bisping-McCarthy Moved to UFC 83 in Canada
A planned bout between former Ultimate Fighter winner Michael Bisping and American Top Team’s Charles McCarthy has been moved from a tentative U.K. show in March to the UFC’s debut show in Canada on April 19th.
Our partner site Rogers Sportsnet interviewed Bisping earlier this week, who confirmed the move with the network.
While we all know what Bisping has been up to these days (he’s moving down to 185 lbs), 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.
PFC Announces Five Fights for March
The Palace Fighting Championship has officially announced it’s next event for March 20th at the Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore, California.
PFC 7 will feature a pair of flyweight bouts: Luis Gonzalez will be back in action taking on David Mitchell while newcomers Ulysses Gomez and Greg McDowell will compete for the first time professionally.
Additional bouts include former UFC middleweight Justin Levens taking on Phil Collins, Darren Crisp challenging Danny Castillo, and PFC light heavyweight champion Jeremy Freitag defending his title against top contender Anthony Rubalcalva.
Art of War Acquires IFO-Steele Cage Assets
SUN Sports, the parent company of Texas-based Art of War has announced that it has acquired the assets of the recently defunct International Fighting Organization, which was run in conjunction with Steele Cage Promotions.
“We are delighted to be able to acquire the assets of the International Fighting Organization,” said SUN Sports CEO C.J. Comu stated earlier today in a press release sent out to the media. “We are also delighted to be able to acquire all the raw footage and finished broadcast production of the IFO events promoted by Steele Cage Promotions, which we plan on distributing globally. We feel that the film inventory will be a great compliment to the Art of War film inventory which will provide more available product to networks and distributors world-wide.”
Paul Daley (right) knocked out Sam Morgan in the first. Photo: Tom Casino/EliteXC
ATLANTIC CITY - On an exciting night that featured solid, non-stop action and entertaining fights, crowd favorite Eddie Alvarez (12-1) of Kensington, Pa., sent the hometown fans home deliriously happy by knocking out Ross Ebanez (18-6-1) of Hilo, Hawaii, in the second round Friday on the 2008 premiere of ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series on Showtime.
In the co-feature presented by Los Angeles-based ProElite, Inc.‘s Live Fight Division, EliteXC, talented Paul “Semtex” Daley (17-6-2) of England scored a first-round knockout over Sam “The Squeeze” Morgan (19-10) of St. Paul, Minn.
Elite Xtreme Combat has signed former Bodog welterweight champ Eddie Alvarez to a three-fight deal according to a report from Sam Caplan.
The contract will also allow Alvarez to compete in select M-1 Global events as well. The first fight of his new deal will take place on January 25th at the next ShoXC event on January 25th at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey when Alvarez takes on Ross Ebanez.
The fight will take place at 160 lbs, the weight class that Alvarez will be fighting at inside the promotion.
Alvarez has not fought since winning a unanimous decision over Matt Lee in July. Alvarez was scheduled to face off against Nick Thompson in a rematch of their April fight in which Thompson stopped Alvarez with strikes and handed him the first loss of his career. The fight was postponed after Thompson suffered a shoulder injury during training and then finally cancelled after Thompson pulled out for a second time.
Fight World is reporting that the scheduled rematch between BodogFight Welterweight Champion Nick Thompson and Eddie Alvarez for this weekend has been cancelled.
The fight was slated to take place at a BodogFight sponsored Hook N’ Shoot show this weekend at the Evansville Coliseum in Evansville, Indiana. The report states that Thompson will be unable to make the 170 lb required weight limit.
The two fought earlier this year at BodogFight: Clash of the Nations in April where Thompson stopped Alvarez with strikes in the second round of their bout.
Update 6:30 PM: The Fight Network via BodogFight has confirmed that Thompson actually injured his shoulder during training over the weekend and the cancellation has nothing to do with weight cutting.
Philadelphia’s Eddie Alvarez and Minnesota’s Nick “The Goat” Thompson have agreed to settle their bitter feud once and for all.
The two mixed martial arts fighters will clash Saturday, November 24 as Bodog Fight presents Hook N’ Shoot at the Evansville Coliseum in Evansville, Indiana.
This will mark their second meeting this year, after Thompson knocked out Alvarez last April at Bodog Fight: Clash of the Nations in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Vowing to avenge his only loss and regain the Bodog Fight Welterweight Title Belt, Alvarez (11-1) says he has extra incentive to whoop Thompson (39-8-1) following an altercation between the two.
“Nick got drunk after our fight and said some things he shouldn’t have,” said Alvarez. “He made some remarks about my son, Eddie Jr., and I plan to make him pay.”
However, with Alvarez again giving up both weight and reach advantage to “The Goat”, the explosive striker admits he will have to adjust his game plan this time around.
“I made some fundamental mistakes against Nick, and credit to him, he took full advantage. That won’t happen this time. I still believe I am a better fighter than he is and I plan to prove it this time.”
News and Notes
- The Fight Network is reporting that Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson will face Mike Rourke in his promotional debut at EliteXC: Renegade on Nov. 10 at the America Bank Center in Corpus Christi, Texas.
- Randy Couture’s agent spoke with The Fight Network yesterday shooting down rumors about Couture earning between $3.25 and $3.75 million per fight.
“Based on Randy’s contract, $3.25 to $3.75 million is not even in the ballpark,” Walker said. “It’s beyond exaggerated. He’d never make that. I know what he’s been paid; I’ve seen the pay-per-view numbers. The numbers that are being thrown around are not accurate. Whoever gave that information does not have their facts straight.”
- The Fight Network is also reporting that B.J. Penn, the UFC’s current number one contender for the lightweight title may not face either Sean Sherk or Joe Stevenson until early February.
- So is Joe Riggs in or out of the Strikeforce middleweight tournament?
Loretta Hunt says that he’s out:
Joe Riggs will not be one of the four contestants to compete in California’s first regulated four-man tournament scheduled for Nov. 16’s Strikeforce “Four Man Enter, One Man Survives” event at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif. Riggs declined the slot, however, and will seek a single fight on the card instead.
“It’s a timing thing,” said Riggs’ manager Scott Lewis. “He just fought two weeks ago and he doesn’t want to step into the cage two times in one night. We’re speaking with Scott Coker [Strikeforce’s promoter] to see if we can get him a single fight that night. He loves working with Strikeforce and is looking to get on that card.”
However Sam Caplan reports that Riggs is still undecided:
When contacted by ProElite.com, Riggs did confirm that his status for the tournament is currently uncertain but did not rule out the possibility of competing in it.
According to Riggs, his former agent, Ken Pavia, committed him to the tournament without receiving proper consent. Riggs now has new representation and is evaluating the opportunity. He indicated that he could ready to make a decision on whether he will compete in the next several days.
- Be sure to check out our newest feature ‘Break It Down’ where John and I provide our thoughts and predictions on every fight set to take place Saturday night at UFC 77: Hostile Territory.
- Don’t forget to cast your vote on our latest edition of ‘Rock the Vote’.
- UFC veteran Elvis Sinosic will replace Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos at Cage Rage 24. Sinosic will be stepping up to face British fighter Paul Cahoon.
- Adam Smith will appeal his positive tests for steroids, marijuana, and cocaine with the CSAC.
- Eddie Alvarez has told Sam Caplan that he’s been informed to prepare for a possible rematch with Nick Thompson in December.
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After crossing the frozen tundra of St. Petersburg, Russia, and storming the beaches of Costa Rica, the hardest-hitting show on TV is infiltrating the home of The Sopranos and Goodfellas ... and you better not fuggedaboutit!
Bodog Fight: New Jersey marks the mixed martial arts series debut on American soil. Filmed in Trenton, the show features two championship fights, with Trevor Prangley taking on Japanese superstar Yuki Kondo for the middleweight belt and Tara LaRosa squaring off against Kelly Kobold for the women’s 135lb title.
The first episode premieres in more than 90 million U.S. homes this Tuesday, August 21st at 11 p.m. / 10 p.m. Central on ION television and in Canada on The Fight Network, offering viewers a look at one of the sport’s fastest rising stars.