Wesley “Cabbage” Correira has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout with James Thompson at Cage Rage 22 this Saturday after suffering a broken ankle during a recent training session.
Cage Rage has also announced that Correira will be replaced by Kimo Leopoldo in the bout. Leopoldo has not fought since October of 2006 when he was stopped by Wes Sims in the first round of their bout at Extreme Wars 5.
Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett has been released from his PRIDE contract and is now a free agent according to his website:
The time has finally arrived to unleash the power of pro wrestling again on the MMA world. That’s right, I am finally free from my former contract and open to hearing all offers. Great news for sure and coincidently just on the heels of my last blog explaining why I wasn’t fighting. Somewhere I think I just heard a star imploding.
Of course the first thoughts are: will I or won’t I fight in the UFC? Truthfully, I have spoken with Dana and Lorenzo recently and the UFC is well aware that I have no beef with them. There are no personal issues keeping me from signing with the UFC. I just have not received any offers from them yet.
Many have seen me on Bodog and may think I am automatically headed to or signed with them. While I have a good relationship with the promoters and have two fighters fighting next season, I have not signed any deals with Bodog.
I am looking to get back in the game and I want to be with a promotion that treats me as a valuable part of the organization. I hope I can find that kind of place this time around, not just for my sake but for all of my fans worldwide as well.
Now…who’s ready to see somebody get buried into the canvas?
UFC President Dana White was apparently unaware of the news that Barnett had been released on his contract until UFC matchmaker Joe Silva informed him according to The Fight Network:
“I’ve got some lawyers in here that would probably disagree,” said White with the news, but UFC matchmaker Joe Silva scaled the dais quickly and whispered into White’s ear.
“Barnett was released from his contract,” White then stated. “Barnett is a free agent.”
So Barnett was released from his PRIDE deal and White didn’t know about it? Maybe White isn’t involved with the whole PRIDE ordeal than we think. This isn’t the first time something like this has happened…
The trend of future UFC matchups being revealed is continuing this week and UFC President Dana White is a big part of it.
White announced a trio of possible future matchups at the post-fight press conference for UFC 73:
- Anderson Silva will meet Rich Franklin for the second time in a UFC Middleweight Championship bout on October 20th in Franklin’s hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio. It was announced that Franklin would face the winner of last night’s bout between Silva and Nate Marquardt after UFC 72 and White confirmed the situation last night.
- White also announced that BJ Penn has decided to stay in the lightweight division and will challenge Sean Sherk for his UFC Lightweight Title in November.
- Mirko Cro Cop will take on Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira later this year provided that he is victorious over Cheick Kongo at UFC 75 according to White.
White also stated that Chuck Liddell will most likely fight again in September during an interview yesterday on the Scott Ferrall Show:
“Chuck is probably going to fight again in September,” White said yesterday on the radio program. “We’re working on a big fight for him. We don’t have it done yet, but Chuck is chomping at the bit to jump back in there and fight again.“
This contradicts previous reports that had White saying that Liddell now wouldn’t be able to fight again until November.
White made clear about yet another possible matchup during an interview with The Gainesville Sun that would take place at UFC 76: Maurico Rua would make his UFC debut against Ryoto Machida.
Rua, a 205-pound Muay Thai specialist, is scheduled to start at UFC 76 on Sept. 22. White said Rua’s most likely first opponent will be Ryoto Machida (10-0), though Forrest Griffin said he would like the fight.
Screens from ESPN’s recap of UFC 73
In order to remain a champion, one has to beat the best the opposition has to offer. Both Anderson Silva and Sean Sherk did just that on Saturday night, winning their fights in convincing fashion. With their respective roads now temporarily cleared, both fighters seem like they may stay on top for quite a while: a trend that we haven’t seen recently, at least in this upset-filled year.
UFC 73 turned out to certainly be ‘Stacked’ with action-packed fights from beginning to end. While the show’s production moved a bit faster than usual because of time constraints, each fight on the card equaled the pace. The majority of those in attendance at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento, California might not have agreed according to their unusual reactions throughout the night, but the event definitely lived up to the hype.
Anderson Silva successfully defended his UFC Middleweight Title with a first round TKO victory over Nate Marquardt. The fight was back and forth until Silva (19-4) connected with a straight left hand that dropped Marquardt (25-7-2) to the mat. Silva then got on top of Marquardt and rained down unanswered right hands until referee John McCarthy stepped in to halt the bout.
Marquardt stayed down on the mat for a few moments afterwards, obviously shaken up. Silva thanked all of his trainers and coaches during a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan. He also continued his growing love affair with American fans with praise and thanks as well.
“I love fighting for these fans,” Silva said. “I enjoy fighting in front of these fans fight after fight. They are always gracious.” Silva will now most likely go on to rematch former champion Rich Franklin this fall.
Sean Sherk won yet another five round unanimous decision and was able to keep his UFC Lightweight Title after defeating top contender Hermes Franca. Sherk (32-2-1) was able to control Franca (18-6) throughout the course of the fight, pressing the action and not letting Franca get up from the ground.
Franca landed multiple big knees to the chin of Sherk but was unable to generate any more offense than that. After the fight, Sherk stated that he was very impressed with Franca’s skills on the ground and his defense as well.
“Hermes was great on the ground. Definitely an awesome Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu guy.” said Sherk. “He did a good job of keeping his face from getting hit and kept me close the entire fight.”
Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 73: Stacked 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, media coverage, and much more:
UFC 73: Stacked
Tito Ortiz vs. Rashad Evans
Anderson Silva vs. Nathan Marquardt - UFC Middleweight Title
Sean Sherk vs. Hermes Franca - UFC Lightweight Title
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira vs. Heath Herring
Kenny Florian vs. Alvin Robinson
Stephan Bonnar vs. Mike Nickels
Chris Lytle vs. Jason Gilliam
Frankie Edgar vs. Mark Bocek
Jorge Gurgel vs. Diego Saraiva
The Fight Network is reporting that former UFC heavyweight champion Ricco Rodriguez has received an offer from Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic to come down to Croatia to teach him the nuances of the octagon.
“He’s asked me to come out and show him some of the ground-and-pound techniques, getting out and up from the bottom, the mechanics of the cage,” says Rodriguez, who has mastered key outings in both apparatus during his eight-year career. “We’ll be exchanging information. There’s absolutely a difference between the ring and a cage.”
The Fight Network is reporting that PRIDE veteran Alistair Overeem has signed a three-fight contract with K-1 HERO’s and he will compete in the organization’s heavyweight division.
“We signed the contract over the weekend, just after the fight with Michael Knapp [in K-1 Amsterdam],” confirmed Golden Glory representative Martijn De Jong. “We’re excited and expecting big things.”
Overeem expects his next K-1 appearance to come at the K-1 HERO’s show on July 16th at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan.
The UFC has officially announced that Cheick Kongo and Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will clash in a heavyweight showdown Sept. 8th at UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion in London, England.
Dana White also confirmed the match today on ESPN’s The Hotlist:
“Mirko ‘Cro Cop’ is fighting Cheick Kongo from France,” said White. “He’s six foot four and two hundred and forty pounds – he’s huge. They are both strikers. Cheick Kongo is a very good striker and he’s good with his feet, knees and hands – it’s going to be a very interesting matchup.”
Cro Cop spoke at a recent UFC press conference saying:
““I am one of the most dangerous strikers in the world, but unfortunately, I did not prove that reputation in my last fight,” said Cro Cop.
“It was a great shock for me and I believe for all my fans and I was very disappointed. But I am a true professional and fighting is my life so I’m training harder than ever. And in the next fight I will be better than ever so I hope you will all be there to see it. I am going to beat my opponent. As I already told you, it was a shock for me and many people ask me if I am okay, if I am injured – it didn’t look good – that my ankle twisted, that my knee was looking bad, but it’s okay now. I have started running already, I started full training already and I am dying for my next fight.”
UFC 75: Champion vs. Champion currently features Dan “Hollywood” Henderson vs. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Michael Bisping vs. Matt Hamill, and of course Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Cheick Kongo.
Since we didn’t get a CKA up this morning and there is a ton of news to report, I thought we would do a little catching up on things…
Couture, Jackson Nominated for ‘Best Fighter’ ESPY
UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture and UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton Jackson were announced as nominees yesterday for the Best Fighter category in the 15th annual ESPY Awards.
Couture and Jackson are joined by boxers Miguel Cotto, Floyd Mayweather Jr, and Manny Pacquiao as finalists. Fans will be able to vote at the ESPY’s official site until July 7th for the winner. The awards will be televised on July 15th.
Dana White: Shamrock Rumors False; Set to Release Him From Contract
UFC President Dana White stated to Yahoo! Sports Kevin Iole that he never even thought about having Ken Shamrock take on Michael Bisping at UFC 75 in England. He also said that he is considering releasing Shamrock from the remainder of his contract.
“I don’t know if he wants to fight, but we haven’t spoken to him and I’m not planning to use him,” White said.
UFC Officially Announces UFC 74: Respect
The UFC officially announced UFC 74: Respect set for August 25th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Two bouts were announced: Randy Couture will defend his UFC Heavyweight Title against Gabriel Gonzaga. Also former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre will take on top-rated contender Josh Koscheck.
Tickets for the event will go on sale Sunday, July 8th.
Cote Meets Grove at UFC 74
Patrick Cote has announced via a post on The Underground forum that he will face Kendall Grove at UFC 74.
ESPN’s LeBetard Talks MMA on The Sports Reporters
ESPN commentator Dan LeBetard declared MMA as ‘the sport of tomorrow’ during ESPN’s annual Sunday morning show, The Sports Reporters.
LeBetard’s comments were as follows:
“Tomorrow’s sports fans, ages 18 to 34, have spoken,” LeBetard said. “Generation YouTube wants fights in a cage and submission holds and a bloody sport that appeals to the short attention span more than the ponderous 12 rounds of De la Hoya-Mayweather. Dying hockey would kill for the kind of future and attention and pub MMA has. Boxing is yesterday’s sport; MMA is tomorrow’s.”
You can watch the clip of the segment here via ESPN Motion.
IFL: Las Vegas, CFFC 5 Attendance Numbers
The Nevada State Athletic Commission released the attendance numbers for IFL’s Las Vegas event earlier this week. According to the NSAC, the event only brought in $93,270 at the gate. The number seems a bit low, especially when the IFL reported that the arena was sold out with a crowd of 3,200. Well apparently the IFL fibbed a little bit. It turns out that only 996 tickets were sold for the event and the IFL gave out 1,842 complimentary tix.
The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board announced that CFFC 5: Kimbo vs Mercer rang up a paid crowd of 7,286, not counting any complimentary tickets that the promotion may have given away.
Burnett, ProElite Developing Reality MMA Series
Reality TV producer Mark Burnett is planning on producing a series based on MMA in conjunction with ProElite, the parent company of Elite XC.
The most interesting thing about all of this is that Burnett now owns part of ProElite according to Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network:
As part of the agreement between Mark Burnett Productions and ProElite, Burnett was afforded the right to buy up to 17 million shares of ProElite stock at $3 a share in eight portions tied to the success of the joint venture. The format for the planned MMA series is still in the “exploration stage,” according to the report.
Here is a preview we put together for UFC 72: Victory.
Main Card Bouts:
Rich Franklin vs. Yushin Okami
Forrest Griffin vs. Hector Ramirez
Tyson Griffin vs. Clay Guida
Jason MacDonald vs. Rory Singer
Ed Herman vs. Scott Smith
Marcus Davis vs. Jason Tan
Eddie Sanchez vs. Colin Robinson
Dustin Hazelett vs. Stevie Lynch
Also be sure to tune in at 3 PM EST as we’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’ for the PPV.