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?
Good morning bitches! More coverage of last night’s UFC Fight Night to come later on this morning.
Calvancante and Aoki Set to Try Again; Masvidal Added to “Strikeforce At The Dome”
It seems like Gesias Calvancante and Shinya Aoki will finally meet at a K-1 show in Japan in March. American Top Team’s manager Richie Guerrero (who manages Calvancante as well) announced the matchup yesterday during an interview on TAGG Radio.
The two were originally set to face off at Yarennoka! on New Year’s Eve but Calvancante was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during training. The injury occurred on the same knee that he had knee surgery on this past fall.
Guerrero also revealed that lightweight contender Jorge Masvidal will be competing at the “Strikeforce At The Dome” show next month as well. Masvidal does have an opponent but the name was unable to be announced at the time.
Aleksander Expects April Fight With Barnett
Aleksander Emelianenko, who will be fighting in M-1 Global’s first U.S. show in April along with his brother Fedor, expects to take on former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett.
Emelianenko made the announcement via his official website.
Fedor is expected to take on part-time K-1 kickboxer Semmy Schilt but Jeff Monson has also been rumored as a potential opponent. The show will most likely take place right outside of Chicago at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
Touch of gloves to MMA Junkie for the find.
Frank Edgar Returns at UFC Fight Night 13
I missed it and I’m sure a lot of other people did but apparently UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg stated that Frankie Edgar would be part of the UFC’s next “Fight Night” in Denver, Colorado in April.
Edgar, who has not lost yet inside of the UFC, still remains undefeated in his professional mixed martial arts career as well. Edgar is coming off of a dominating performance over Spencer Fisher en route to a unanimous decision win at UFC 78.
Props to Combat Hooligans for catching that.
BodogFight has released the full card for it’s February 1st event in Las Vegas. The Sun is reporting that Brock Lesnar, win or lose, may be tapped to headline the UFC’s June show in London England due to his overseas popularity because of professional wrestling. Roger Gracie may be fighting Hidehiko Yoshida at Sengoku in March.
Fightlinker went live with The Low Blow last night, recapping UFC Fight Night 12. Hilarious.
Sherdog’s Greg Savage is reporting that the lightweight super-fight between Shinya Aoki and Gesias Calvancante scheduled for the Yarennoka! show on New Year’s Eve may not be happening according to certain sources.
I posted a blurb yesterday about Savage’s comments on his radio show yesterday.
There’s been no indication as to what the real reason might be in terms of why the fight may be canceled/postponed.
It’s rumored that Calvancante is coming off of recent knee surgery and one can only wonder if the reigning K-1 Lightweight Tournament Champion is not healthy enough to compete at the moment. There are no known injuries that Aoki has suffered lately.
If the fight is not happening, M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox has no knowledge of it:
“As far as I know the fight is still happening,” said Cox, “and it is one I am really looking forward to seeing.”
Update 6:00 PM: Sherdog is now reporting that the fight will now be postponed according to information received from Calvancante’s father.
Still no official word on why the fight isn’t taking place but Calvancante has reportedly not been training for this fight at all so I’m going to assume that he’s still not fully recovered from his surgery.
Update 12/23 12:00 PM: The fight is officially cancelled. DEEP officials held a press conference yesterday announcing that the bout would not take place.
Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.
Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.
Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.
Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.
The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.
Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.
Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.
Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.
An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.
Two time HERO`S 154-pound tournament champion, Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti, took time to call out PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi following his tournament victory at the K-1 HERO’s Tournament Finals in Yokohama, Japan.
“I want to fight tougher opposition,” Calvancanti said. “I have to fight the best to become the best. I’d like other fighters from PRIDE to follow the footsteps of Kazushi Sakuraba and Ikuhisa Minowa and join HERO`S. I’d like to face current PRIDE lightweight champion Takanori Gomi if he joins HERO’S.”
“I know a lot about Gomi,” said the 23-year-old American Top Team product. “He has good hands and is one of the best in the world and has an exciting style. I studied his game since he fought my teammate Marcus Aurelio two times.”
Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti sports a mixed martial arts record of 14-1-1 with decisive victories over the likes of Vitor Ribeiro, Nam Phan, Rani Yahya, Hiroyuki Takaya, and Michihiro Omigawa.
Takanori Gomi sports a mixed martial arts record of 27-3 with victories over the likes of Hayato Sakurai, Luiz Azeredo, Marcus Aurelio, and Mitsuhiro Ishida. Gomi hasn’t fought since February when he was submitted with a gogoplata by Nick Diaz at PRIDE 33: The Second Coming. The fight was later ruled a no contest when Nick Diaz failed his post-fight drug test. According to the article, Gomi could join K-1 Hero’s when his contract with PRIDE expires at the end of September.
YOKOHAMA - Gesias Calvancanti prevailed in two fights tonight to defend his Belt in the Hero’s Middleweight World Championship 2007 Tournament Final at the Yokohama Arena.
The twenty-four year-old mixed martial arts fighter was one of three Brazilians in the final four of the 70kg/154lb tournament. The bouts were fought under Hero’s Rules, two five-minute rounds.
The first of the semis featured chute boxer Andre Dida of Brazil and fan favorite, accomplished grappler Caol Uno of Japan.
With a edge in striking, Dida was content to stay on his feet, while Uno wanted to take this one to the mat. Dida did better in the early going, powering a couple of uppercuts and a hard knee to Uno’s face to bloody an eye and send the Japanese fighter to the mat. But Uno was capable on his back, employing bicycle kicks to keep the aggressive Brazilian at bay. Uno dove in looking for a leg takedown but Dida intercepted and the two were re-stood. Now it was Uno who tested with the jab while Dida circled, and the first ended without further damage.
The bout between Sergei Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem is considered an open-weight contest. Neither fighter was required to weigh-in.
Vitor Riberio originally failed to make weight the first time around but eventually made it within the lightweight limit.
Gesias Calvancanti (155 lbs) vs. Vitor Riberio (156 lbs)
Caol Uno (155 lbs) vs. Andre Dida (154 lbs)
Kazushi Sakuraba (184 lbs) vs. Katsuyori Shibata (184 lbs)
Kid Yamamoto (137 lbs) vs. Bibano Fernandes (137 lbs)
Ikuhisa Minowa (196 lbs) vs. Kevin Casey (195 lbs)
Melvin Manhoef (192 lbs) vs. Fabio Silva (193 lbs)
Zelg Galesic (185 lbs) vs. Yoon Dong Sik (185 lbs)
Kazuyki Miyata (155 lbs) vs. Harvey Harra (154 lbs)
Wataru Takahashi (154 lbs) vs. Tashiro Nishiuchi (154 lbs)
Takenori Sato (185 lbs) vs. Kenji Nogai (184 lbs)
We have a lot of stuff to report this morning…
News and Notes
- EliteXC has announced a total net loss of $11.9 million between January and June 2007 according to UFC Mania.
- IFL heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski has announced that he has joined Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in order to continue with his training…
- FEG formally announced three bouts for the upcoming K-1 Hero’s event on September 17th. The semifinals of the 2007 154 lb tournament will roll on when Caol Uno takes on Kultar Gill and Gesias Calvancanti goes up against Vitor Ribeiro. Ikuhisa Minowa and Ralek Gracie will compete in a non-tournament bout.
- Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s October 12th event will feature the return of Ricardo Almeida. Almeida’s opponent will be Dennis Hallman.
- American Top Team has stated that Denis Kang is expected to sign with an organization in the next few weeks and is targeting September as a possible date of return.
- Palace Fighting Championships has announced that Justin Levens will fight Kenny Ento for the vacant PFC World Middleweight Championship on October 18th:
“These are two of the most popular and intense fighters to ever compete in the Valley,” Printup said. “Levens has faced tougher competition, but Ento is an extremely tough match up. He’s tall, rangy, has excellent submissions and underrated stand up. Levens is an absolute animal, who has only lost to top-level fighters.”
- The IFL Finals on September 20th in Hollywood, Florida will now feature two superfights as well as the IFL Championship. Seth Petruzelli and Rolles Gracie Jr. will meet in a light heavyweight bout. Aaron Riley and Ryan Schultz will clash in the night’s other superfight.
- The weigh-ins for UFC 74 will begin at 6 PM EST and will start to be broadcast on ESPNEWS at 7:15 EST. As always, they will also be available to watch online for free on a slew of sites, including UFC.com, Yahoo! Sports, and MSN.
- Tickets for UFC 77: Hostile Territory are slated to go on sale starting on August 22nd…