Evan Tanner

UFC 82: Pride of a Champion Weigh-In Results


Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson weigh-in for UFC 82: Pride of a Champion. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

The official weigh-in results for tonight’s UFC 82: Pride of a Champion are below. All fighters successfully made weight.

UFC 82 features a main event, middleweight title unification bout between current UFC title holder Anderson Silva and PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.

The show will also 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.

Main Card:

Dan Henderson (184.5 lbs) vs Anderson Silva (185 lbs)
Heath Herring (248 lbs) vs Cheick Kongo (233.5 lbs)
Yushin Okami (184.5 lbs) vs Evan Tanner (185 lbs)
Chris Wilson (169.5 lbs) vs Jon Fitch (170 lbs)
Alessio Sakara (185 lbs) vs Chris Leben (185 lbs)

Preliminary Fights:

Jake O’Brien (231.5 lbs) vs Andrei Arlovski (241 lbs)
Luigi Fioravanti (170.5 lbs) vs Luke Cummo (170 lbs)
Dustin Hazelett (170 lbs) vs Josh Koscheck (169.5 lbs)
David Bielkheden (170 lbs) vs Diego Sanchez (169.5 lbs)
John Halverson (155 lbs) vs Jorge Gurgel (154.5 lbs)

Video of the weigh-ins are after the jump, courtesy of ESPN:

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Evan Tanner: The Road Back


Evan Tanner weighs-in for UFC 51: Super Saturday. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

It’s fitting that on a night where the middleweight titles of the UFC and PRIDE will be at the forefront of discussion, a former holder of one of those belts makes his long-awaited and anticipated return.

After taking a hiatus from active competition in order to get away from fighting and deal with some personal needs, it will be nearly two full years since the last time Evan Tanner stepped into the cage when he takes on Yushin Okami tomorrow night at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion.

“I was fighting for such a long time that I was worn out,” Tanner said during a recent interview session. “I just needed to get away from fighting for a little while, do my own thing. Life is so short and there are so many things that you can experience out there. I’ve always been an adventurer; I’ve always been one to be spontaneous. I wanted to experience life on the road again for a little bit.”

One has to assume that Okami is certainly going to provide a tough test in Tanner’s first fight back, especially since he’s been inactive for so long. With ring-rust out of the equation for Tanner, he’s prepared to return to his self-proclaimed home and do what he loves to do: have fun.

“I don’t see ring-rust being a factor in this fight,” Tanner said. “I’m coming back strong. Just because I may have sat on the sidelines for a little while doesn’t mean that I forgot how to fight. Everything for me is fresh. My training is fresh. My technique is fresh. I’m excited to get back in there and have fun again.”

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Previewing UFC 82: Pride of a Champion

Here’s a little preview breaking down tomorrow night’s UFC 82: Pride of a Champion, fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.

UFC 82 features a main event, middleweight title unification bout between current UFC title holder Anderson Silva and PRIDE champion Dan Henderson.

The show, which will take place at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio, will also 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.

A total of ten fights round out the card.

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Tanner and Okami Ready to Clash at UFC 82

Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner will make a long-awaited return this weekend at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion when he takes on Japanese standout Yushin Okami. Both men discuss the upcoming fight with ESPN in this video.

UFC Unveils Full Card for “Pride of a Champion”

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.

Evening News and Notes: Jan 25, 2008

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

Two fighters are reportedly set to join the ranks of the UFC: Dong Hyun Kim and Rousimar Palhares.

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

Tanner Returns Against Okami in Canada


Evan Tanner rests during a recent workout session. Photo courtesy of Evan Tanner.

Former UFC middleweight champion Evan Tanner will return after a two year hiatus against Yushin Okami when the UFC ventures into Canada for the first time in history on April 19th at UFC 84.

MMA Weekly’s Lee Whitehead states that UFC color commentator Joe Rogan announced that Tanner-Okami would be part of the UFC 84 in April during a question and answer session with the media earlier today following the weigh-ins for tomorrow’s UFC 81: Rapid Fire.

We have been able to confirm the date and opponent with Tanner himself.

A press conference to officially announce the event itself will be held on February 4th at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. UFC president Dana White, and current welterweight title holders Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra are expected to be in attendance.

Originally teaching himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional video tape, Tanner rode a roller coaster of ups and downs all the way to becoming the third middleweight champion in UFC history when he defeated David Terrell in 2005.

After losing his belt in a rematch against Rich Franklin in his next fight, Tanner would lose consecutive bouts for the first time in his career when he fell to David Loiseau just months later. He got back on track in April of 2006 when he picked up a submission win over Justin Levens at UFC 59. It was his last fight to date.

Okami lost for the first time inside the confines of the UFC when he came out on the wrong end of a unanimous decision against Franklin at UFC 72 this past summer. He bounced back to win a decision over Canadian Jason MacDonald at UFC 77 in October.

Looking Back at the Sportsbook Fiasco

This isn’t even close to the complete story, just bits and pieces that I was able to find here and there that may or may not be completely accurate, but what appears to be the best information out there.

I think everyone by now has heard how wearing a Sportsbook.com shirt at the UFC 54 weigh-ins ended up in the UFC releasing Matt Lindland from his contract at a time where he was widely known as the number one contender for Rich Franklin’s then-UFC middleweight title.

At the time those type of sponsor-fighter relationships were said to be prohibited by the UFC. Or was it just Sportsbook that was prohibited? Maybe just online gambling sites?

After all Dana White has called Calvin Ayre a criminal in the past for his dealings in online gambling. Sportsbook’s CEO Peter Dicks was arrested in 2006 on charges of racketeering, conspiracy and fraud, the same reasons why Ayre can not step foot inside the United States according to some.

Did Dana know something that made him think twice before allowing his fighters to be sponsored by online gambling sites? Did an event occur that made White change his mind about them? If something did, it may have been the Sportsbook/Team Quest scandal that occurred in the early months of 2005.

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They Never Came to Fruition

After watching UFC 79 and hearing all of the discussion about how Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were originally supposed to fight but Serra pulled out with an injury, I got to thinking. It wasn’t the first time that a situation like that occurred.

So I sat down and did some research. There were actually a good number of fights in the UFC that were signed and slated to happen but ended up not taking place for one reason or another. The final number was a lot higher than I expected so I went ahead and narrowed the list down to the fights that would have been the best if they were to happen at the time.

So here they are. I’ve sorted them starting with the most recent and excluding Hughes-Serra. Each instance is pretty interesting.

Evan Tanner vs Jeremy Horn (UFC 59): The two long-time MMA veterans were set to clash at UFC 59 in what was unofficially an “elimination” bout for the two of them. Horn had split his two return bouts in the UFC while Tanner had lost two straight, including his middleweight title. The bout would have been an interesting chess match between two slick grapplers but Horn ended up pulling out after injuring his back during training. Justin Levens replaced Horn and Tanner went on to submit Levens in the first round of their bout. Horn was released shortly after defeating Chael Sonnen at UFC 60.

Matt Hughes vs Karo Parisyan (UFC 56): After losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 46, Parisyan went ahead and racked up three straight wins over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and Matt Serra to earn a title shot against then-champion Matt Hughes. The anticipated welterweight showdown was set to headline the event until Parisyan was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering an elbow injury during training. Joe Riggs stepped in for Parisyan and ended up failing to make weight, costing him his shot at the title. Hughes would go on to submit Riggs in a non-title bout and wouldn’t defend his belt again until UFC 63, making it over a full year since the welterweight title was contested. To this day, Parisyan is still yearning for another shot at the title.

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Tanner on Quest to Regain Championship Gold


Evan Tanner rests during a recent workout session. Photo courtesy of Evan Tanner.

Ask anyone to make a list of the most underrated fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts and you will usually see Evan Tanner’s name on there every time.

Originally teaching himself submission and grappling techniques using instructional video tape, Tanner rode a roller coaster of ups and downs all the way to becoming the third middleweight champion in UFC history when he defeated David Terrell over two years ago.

“I never really set out to do that the first time,” said Tanner during a recent interview session. “I just kept winning fights and next thing you know, I’ve got the middleweight belt. I was just trying to pay the bills.”

The fall from grace was hard for Tanner. After losing his belt in a rematch against Rich Franklin in his next fight, Tanner would lose consecutive bouts for the first time in his career when he fell to David Loiseau just months later. He got back on track last April when he picked up a submission win over Justin Levens at UFC 59. It was his last fight to date. After taking a hiatus from active competition, it will be nearly two full years since the last time Tanner stepped into the Octagon.

At age 36, it would seem that Tanner is gearing up for one last run, wouldn’t it?

“I’ve been competing for over ten years,” Tanner said. “I didn’t start out fighting with any kind of plan. Wait that’s wrong. I did have a plan. I was only going to fight one night in a heavyweight tournament and then I planned to move on to other adventures. It was just something I was going to do once for kicks. I had never done any kind of MMA training until about two months before that fight. So I wouldn’t say I ever took any kind of run at fighting. It was, at best, a part time hobby that I enjoyed doing that also happened to pay fairly well. You can say I’m taking a run at it now. I’ve got a lot left in me. I’m training full time, year round for the first time in my career. I’m going for the belt.”

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