Jason MacDonald. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Jason Day has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled middleweight bout against Jason Lambert at UFC 88 after suffering an arm injury during a recent training session. He will reportedly be replaced by fellow Canadian veteran Jason MacDonald according to Sherdog.com.
Day suffered an elbow and biceps injury that will keep him out of action for an indefinite period of time states MMA Weekly. He is scheduled to have an MRI on his arm in the coming days, which is expected to give him a time-frame for his recovery.
Following his disappointing submission loss to Demian Maia at UFC 87 last month, MacDonald will be stepping in to face Lambert, who will be making his middleweight debut at the event, on short notice with a little less than three weeks of training time.
Kurt Pellegrino. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
A lightweight bout between former divisional contenders and skilled grapplers Kurt Pellegrino and Thiago Tavares has been announced along with an additional preliminary fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s September venture into Atlanta, Georgia.
The organization confirmed the bouts earlier today.
Pellegrino is coming off of a devastating submission loss to “Ultimate Fighter 5” winner Nate Diaz at UFC Fight Night 13 in a bout that Pellegrino dominated up until the second round. Tavares established himself a dangerous lightweight contender following a surprising submission win over Jason Black last year but has since lost two out of his last three bouts. Most recently, Tavares was knocked out by Matt Wiman at UFC 85: Bedlam last month.
The other previously rumored bouts announced today included Ryo Chonan vs. Roan Carneiro, Dong-Hyun Kim vs. Matt Brown, and Tim Boetsch vs. James Lee.
B.J. Penn throws a jab at Joe Stevenson during their championship bout at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a night of quick fights and surprising stoppages, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is still that damn good.
Penn submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Joe Stevenson with a rear naked choke in the second round to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title and become the second fighter in history along with current heavyweight champ Randy Couture to win championship gold in two different weight classes.
The lively 8,412 inside the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England saw Penn surprise Stevenson with an uppercut that sent the California native down to the mat in the opening seconds. Penn pounced on his opponent but Stevenson was able to maintain his composure and survive Penn’s initial assault.
The former welterweight champion controlled Stevenson on the ground for the remainder of the first round, opening up a vicious cut in the middle of Stevenson’s forehead with just over a minute left in the round. Stevenson would end up donning a crimson mask for the rest of the fight.
The two had an even exchange on the feet to start the second stanza but that ended once Penn started to pick Stevenson apart with looping lefts and uppercuts. The bout was stopped at one point to have the doctor check Stevenson’s cut but the stream of blood avoiding Stevenson’s eyes already gave those watching the doctor’s answer.
Stevenson fell victim to another Penn (12-4-1) uppercut once the bout was restarted, signaling the beginning of the end for “Daddy.” Penn used punches and elbows to force Stevenson (28-8) out of position enough to be able to give up his back, which Penn quickly took without a second thought.
Penn was able to sink in a rear naked choke and Stevenson was forced to tap out without putting up much of a fight. The win finally gave Penn the UFC lightweight title in what was his third career attempt at the belt.
After the fight Penn acknowledged that he was trying to make his third try a successful one.
“Joe is a great guy,” said Penn. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I put everything into this. I wanted to make sure it was three times the charm and not three strikes you’re out.”
Penn also went out of his way to send former champion Sean Sherk a message now that Sherk will be challenging Penn in his first title defense later this year.
“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.
“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”
We will be going live at 1:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 80: Rapid Fire, which will take place live from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
UFC 80 features a lightweight championship bout between former welterweight title holder B.J. Penn and top contender and Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Joe Stevenson. Also on the card is a rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum and a welterweight clash between Marcus Davis and Jess Liaudin.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the afternoon and night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
Joe Stevenson weighs-in for UFC 74: Respect. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow afternoon’s UFC 80: Rapid Fire are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
MMA on Tap will start live coverage of the event starting at 1:00 PM EST tomorrow.
BJ Penn (154 lbs) vs Joe Stevenson (154 lbs)
Fabricio Werdum (247 lbs) vs Gabriel Gonzaga (255 lbs)
Jess Liaudin (170 lbs) vs Marcus Davis (169 lbs)
Wilson Gouveia (205 lbs) vs Jason Lambert (204 lbs)
Jorge Rivera (185 lbs) vs Kendall Grove (186 lbs)
Antoni Hardonk (244 lbs) vs Colin Robinson (238 lbs)
Paul Kelly (170 lbs) vs Paul Taylor (170 lbs)
James Lee (206 lbs) vs Alessio Sakara (206 lbs)
Per Eklund (155 lbs) vs Sam Stout (155 lbs)
MMA Mania is reporting that light heavyweights Alessio Sakara and James Lee will face off against each other at UFC 80: Rapid Fire which is set to take place at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England in January.
According to Sakara’s management team, the fight against Lee will be Sakara’s last at 205 lbs:
In addition, representatives indicated that this will be the last fight for Sakara at 205 pounds in the near future — he plans to dip down to middleweight (185 pounds) regardless of the result in the United Kingdom.
Just some random thoughts from this past weekend’s Pride 33: The Second Coming show.
It was a great show put on by DSE, which is great considering the amount of mismatches that most thought plagued the fight card. Stunning KO upsets (Lil’ Nog especially), an absolute war between Nick Diaz and the Fireball Kid Takanori Gomi that saw the UFC vet Diaz choke out Gomi with a gogoplata, and another highlight KO of Wanderlei Silva by Dan Henderson highlighted the event. While the production style of Pride may take some getting used to in the American market, the event was a much better representation of Pride than their first foray into the US this past October.
PRIDE 33 FULL RESULTS
Dan Henderson def. Wanderlei Silva by KO at 2:08, Round 3
Nick Diaz def. Takanori Gomi by Gogoplata at 1:46, Round 2
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua def. Alistair Overeem by TKO at 3:37, Round 1
Sergei Kharitonov def. Mike Russow by Armbar at 3:46, Round 1
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Mac Danzig by TKO at 4:01, Round 2
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou def. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira by TKO at 0:23, Round 1
James Lee def. Travis Wiuff by Guillotine Choke at 0:39, Round 1
Frank Trigg def. Kazuo Misaki by Unanimous Decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
Joachim Hansen def. Jason Ireland by Armbar at 2:33, Round 3
That being said, there are some stories out there that claim the results of Pride 33 will hurt the promotion in the long run. The first one by Zach Arnold was first printed on BoxingScene.com.
PRIDE 33 will go down as an event that, on paper, had a fight card line-up that looked like a turkey but produced some exciting fights. Short-term, the event was successful. Long-term, however, major damage was done to several of PRIDE’s key Japanese assets.
There is no turning back to Japan now for PRIDE. *Read More*
Arnold goes on to intricately detail how the surprising results will hurt Pride, especially in their stronghold of Japan itself.
A few days later, Al Yu, a Japanese columnist for MMAWeekly who specializies in covering the Far East MMA scene for the site, offered very similar setiments to Arnold. He even called it a disaster, the same as Arnold.
Operating under financial turmoil, DSE continued forward with their second U.S. show in hopes to make a further impact in a market currently dominated by the UFC. Pride 33: The Second Coming produced many exciting fights and was easily one of the best events of the year. Of the nine scheduled fights, only one went to a decision. So why was it a disaster?
What makes an organization is its stable of fighters. Pride’s large roster consists of some of the best fighters in the world. Any time a marquee fighter loses, it can have an adverse affect on an organization. In this case, four of Pride’s stars faltered on a crucial night for the Japanese organization.
There is no question that the event itself was a huge success, especially fight wise. The key will be where the PPV buy numbers end up, especially considering how poor the PPV numbers for the October event turned out. Let’s hope for the best.
Finally, for the first time ever, Pride CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara made a comment that did not deny that Pride may be up for sale. In the past, he has always firmly denied the sales rumors. From Loretta Hunt’s article on the Fight Network…
“Maybe,” PRIDE CEO Nobuyuki Sakakibara answered of rumors that the PRIDE organization could go up for sale. “Today[‘s] show is very good [though].”