K-1 parent company FEG held a press conference earlier this week to officially announce that Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will meet for the first time in their careers on New Year’s Eve at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan.
Rickson Gracie was originally rumored to be on the card but will now most likely fight early next year according to FEG officials, against the winner of Sakuraba-Funaki:
“I want to have Rickson fight as soon as possible next year,” said FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa. “Even if it is not in our ring, even in another organization, I would send these champions to fight.”
Gracie was originally set to take on Funaki for the second time in his career at the event but it was Funaki who decided that he would rather face a different opponent:
“I’ve already lost once to Rickson, so Sakuraba is the better choice,” Funaki said.
Other fighters Tanigawa mentioned as possibilities to fight on the card include Hidehiko Yoshida, Kid Yamamoto, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ikuhisa Minowa, Katsuyori Shibata, and Masato Kobayashi.
K-1 parent company FEG announced that Japanese legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will clash for the first time on December 31st at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!!
Sakuraba (22-10-1-2) is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Yurij Kiseliov and Katsuyori Shibata while losing an unanimous decision to long-time rival Royce Gracie over the summer.
Funaki (38-11-1) has not fought since May of 2000 when he was submitted my Rickson Gracie at C2K: Colosseum 2000.
Speaking of Rickson Gracie, he is rumored to also be on the card, possibly making his return against Hidehiko Yoshida.
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)
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- We are planning on posting an updated MMA on Tap Top 10 at some point this week.
- If you haven’t already, be sure to check us out on myspace.
- K-1 Hero’s and their parent company FEG held a press conference on Tuesday announcing two additional bouts and a new opponent for Ikuhisa Minowa.
Kazushi Sakuraba will be fighting at the event on September 17th but it won’t be against rumored opponent Denis Kang. Instead Sakuraba will be taking on Katsuyori Shibata. Also announced was a middleweight bout between PRIDE veterans Zelg Galesic and Dong Sik Yoon.
Ikuhisa Minowa will no longer be taking on Ralek Gracie as Gracie was forced to pull out of the bout for undisclosed reasons. Minowa will now face Kevin Casey, who will be making his professional MMA debut.
- So the real reason why Andrei Arlovski isn’t being booked by the UFC has finally been revealed - He only has one match left on his contract and the UFC won’t use him until he signs an extension.
Steve Sievert of The Houston Chronicle comments:
The big Belarusian is currently on the UFC sidelines because he has only one match left on his contract. As we know (see Brandon Vera), the UFC doesn’t make key bouts with a fighter who could be on his way out of the organization. After talking with Joe Silva last weekend, that’s actually a possibility.
While the UFC matchmaker stopped short of saying the organization doesn’t need the former heavyweight champ, comments such as “where else is he going to go” and the contract “has to make sense for us” send a clear message as to who has the upper hand in the ongoing negotiations. The UFC won’t book Arlovski until the contract issue is resolved.
Arlovski (11-5) wants a big payday. However, the harsh reality is he’s a mediocre 2-2 in his last four and just hasn’t been impressive since 2005. A year ago, the UFC couldn’t afford to let Arlovski walk. Today, the heavyweight division has ample fire power, and doesn’t need Arlovski to make big fights.
- Cub Swanson has announced via his myspace page that his fight with Jens Pulver has been rescheduled for November 3rd.
Fighting Jens Pulver in WEC November 3rd at the Hard Rock in Vegas. Pulver had a knee injury so we had to push the fight back.
- Sam Caplan wants people to stop stealing content from his site. You let me know if it happens again Sam, I’ll take them out…
News and Notes
- Tony Bonello has been forced to withdraw from his scheduled bout against Jon Murphy at this Saturday’s ShoXC Elite Challenger Series event. A replacement opponent for Murphy has not yet been named.
- Cub Swanson says that he may not be competing in the WEC’s September 5th event now that Jens Pulver has bowed out of their bout with a knee injury:
“It’s fifty-fifty right now that I’ll fight in September,” said Swanson, a hot local talent on the San Diego circuit whose budding career could have surely benefited from the higher profile match-up with the former UFC lightweight champion.
“It’s unfortunate,” said Swanson. “I just finished training for a month in Big Bear and I’m in shape.”
Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network describes Swanson’s current situation as “the WEC placing him on standby.”
- MMA Weekly is reporting that yet another Korean news website is stating that Denis Kang has signed with K-1 Hero’s and that his first bout will be against Kazushi Sakuraba on September 17th.
A Korean website called “joynews.inews24.com” is reporting that Denis Kang has been signed by K-1’s Heroes to a lucrative 2-year contract.
Apparently, Kang’s management is citing the ability to continue to compete in Spirit MC, a Korean MMA promotion in which Kang is one of the biggest draws and holds a title, as the deciding factor in signing the contract with K-1 Heroes.
Korean news is also reporting that Kang’s debut is scheduled for September 17 against Kazushi Sakuraba. Neither Kang nor K-1 has yet confirmed this, however, and there is some speculation that Sakuraba may be injured.
The website does bring up two new points - Sakuraba’s possible injury and the fact that Kang would be free to still compete in Spirit MC, which happens to be holding a tournament right now to try and crown a number one contender for Kang’s heavyweight title in that promotion.
- UFC Junkie is reporting that Nate Mohr has been forced to pull out of his proposed bout with Jeremy Stephens at UFC 76. Mohr has apparently suffered a possible broken hand. Officials close to Stephens have stated that he has still been promised a spot on the card and that the UFC is currently searching for a replacement opponent. The UFC had yet to officially announce the Mohr-Stephens bout.
- UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will be featured tonight in Spike TV’s special, “100% Natural”. Spike will air three programs featuring Couture in them: UFC Unleashed featuring Couture’s win over Tim Sylvia at UFC 68 at 10 PM, Countdown to UFC 74 at 11 PM, and then UFC All Access: Randy Couture at 12 AM.
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced that Anthony Bivins and Cesar De La Torre have both been fined and suspended for testing positive for marijuana.
De La Torre last competed at Total Fighting Alliance on August 11th in Santa Monica, Calif. He lost by TKO to Justin Schalk. De La Torre has been fined $500 and his suspension runs from the conclusion of the bout on August 11 through November 9, 2007.
Bivins tested positive following his most recent bout for Cage Combat on August 18th in Yuba City, Calif. He defeated Tyson Schoel by triangle choke. Bivins was also fined $500 and his suspension runs from the conclusion of the bout on August 18 through November 16, 20007.
- The New Jersey State Athletic Control Board has added a female referee to it’s staff for the first time in it’s history:
Kim Winslow will officiate her first MMA fight under the NJSACB at Ring of Combat XV Friday, Sept. 7 at the Tropicana Casino in Atlantic City, N.J. Promoted by Louis Neglia, the event will be televised on pay-per-view. Ring of Combat XV will feature preliminary fights in the Beasts of the Northeast Tournament.
Winslow, a Reno, Nev. resident, has refereed in an amateur capacity in several other jurisdictions, according to the NJSACB. The 39-year-old has shadowed pro referees at UFC and IFL shows. Winslow trained regularly in jiu-jitsu and Muay thai for several years at the Reno School of Combat.
Sherdog: Canada’s Top Light Heavyweight? Hollett Thinks So
UFC Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter 6? Will Include Small Rules Change
UFC Mania: Disjointed Lesnar interview shames MMA heavyweights
MMA Madness: A look back at K-1’s Las Vegas Grand Prix
Catching up on things in the world of MMA…
- The Fight Network is reporting that officials at American Top Team have stated that Denis Kang is still in negotiations with K-1 and has not yet signed with the promotion:
American Top Team representatives have confirmed that popular Vancouver, British Columbia fighter Denis Kang is in negotiations to sign a five-fight deal with the K-1 HERO’S promotion. Rumors have been circulating about a possible match-up pitting Kang against Japanese legend Kazushi Sakuraba Sept. 17 at the Yokohama Arena in Kanagawa, Japan, but the ATT would not confirm the pairing.
- Tonight’s episode of IFL Battleground will preview the 10 matchups that will take place in the opening round of the upcoming IFL Grand Prix. It will air 8 PM EST on MyNetworkTV.
- Highly regarded trainer Greg Jackson has announced that Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team”>Georges St. Pierre has now become an official member of his training team. St. Pierre is excited to be able to train with the likes of Nate Marquardt, Rashad Evans, and Keith Jardine on a regular basis:
“It’s absolutely great, and I think I am blessed because I am lucky to be able to train with such a great group of guys and under Greg Jackson, who is the best MMA coach in my book,” St. Pierre says. “People say you’re only as good as your training partners, and I believe that is the truth.”
- Continuing with some more St. Pierre news - His former manager, Stephane Patry, who also serves as president of TKO, is stating that St. Pierre is still contractually obligated to him. St. Pierre says that is just not the case:
“My manager now is Shari Spencer. She takes care of my sponsorships and my fights, as well,” St. Pierre says. “It’s nothing personal. Me and Stephane are still good friends. We were not in agreement about some stuff in training, and we were not agreeing to some stuff regarding my management.”
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Masakazu Imanari will return to Cage Rage to take on Jean Silva at Cage Rage 23 for the promotion’s World Featherweight Title. Silva will be dropping down from lightweight to featherweight for the first time in his career.
- Jorge Gurgel announced at an open house for his gym over the weekend that he will be facing Alvin Robinson at UFC 77.
Some media links as well…
Sherdog: Georges St. Pierre Training Pictures
MMA Weekly: Pellegrino Hunting Down a Title Shot
The Fight Network: Murphy’s Law
UFC Junkie: What’s Next for Wanderlei Silva?
Yahoo! Sports: Gonzaga sniffs out his biggest opportunity
Rogers Sportsnet: Koscheck eager to get it on
Fight Opinion: Monday maintenance: Lots of activity in the UK
Fightlinker: Brandon Vera is back and I don’t care
Bloody Elbow: More Doubts About GSP
MMA Analyst: An Interview with Cub Swanson, WEC featherweight contender
Portuguese MMA website Portal do Vale Tudo released a report yesterday stating that Denis Kang is expected to sign a contract with K-1 Hero’s and will fight Kazushi Sakuraba at the promotion’s September 17th event.
The website apparently was in contact with American Top Team’s Alex Davis who was able to break the news.
MMANews.com posted a rough translation of the main portion of the article:
After counting a little of its work as to manager in interview to the Vestibule of the Vale Tudo Magazine, Alex J. Davis entered in contact with us. With the end of Pride, many athletes are migrating for other events, and the fans wanted to know where walked the vice-champion of the Pride Bushido GP at 83kg, Denis Kang.
The fighter finishes to sign a contract with the HERO’s and goes to enter in the organization against the former champion of the Pride, always the dangerous Kazushi Sakuraba. The fight will be in day 17 of September, in Kanagawa, in the same show that will count on the ends of the HERO’s.
We reported yesterday in our CKA via MMA Weekly that Kang was expected to sign with an organization over the next few weeks and was targeting the month of September as a possible date of return. I don’t think anyone imagined that an announcement would come this soon…
When Quinton Jackson said that PRIDE offered him a $2,000 bonus to lose to Kazushi Sakuraba earlier this week, I actually kind of believed him. Jackson has seemed to be an outspoken but honest individual throughout his career.
PRIDE officials denied the claim the next day to no one’s surprise but it’s DSE attorney Tawnya Wojciechowski’s comments from today’s Fight Network radio show that really have me thinking that DSE is digging themselves into a hole by being outspoken concerning this matter.
Her comments from today’s show:
“I have the signed copy of his contract that we negotiated back in 2001,” Wojciechowski said. “The compensation that was structured for that particular event was that he would receive a fighting fee of $10,000. He was to receive a bonus if he won by either a submission hold, TKO or KO – he would receive $4,000 for the win. If he lost by KO, TKO or a referee’s stop, excluding a tapout, he would get $2,500, basically to make the fight more exciting. There was no bribe involved.”
So let get this straight, there was a bonus for winning and there was also a bonus for losing the fight? Are you kidding me? That’s the first time in history that I’ve heard of a bonus being potentially awarded to a fighter for losing a fight and it doesn’t make any sense. You give out bonuses for winning and that’s it. You don’t out extra money for losing.
The Sakuraba fight was Jackson’s PRIDE debut. Your first fight in the biggest MMA promotion in the world at that time and you are going up against Sakuraba of all people. What if Jackson was scared out of his mind and decided to just bag the fight for an extra two grand? Technically Jackson isn’t lying in this case. PRIDE actually did offer him $2000 to lose the fight. Granted that PRIDE’s intentions may only have been to make the fight more exciting for the fans, the event actually took place. Now I don’t know whether or not Jackson misinterpreted the offer or PRIDE actually meant what Jackson is claiming - I guess we will find out the truth eventually.
An interesting thing to point out is that KOTC founder and Jackson’s agent at the time of the fight is agreeing with Jackson…
“When Quinton got there, one of the guys that I sent directly there with him was with him when he was approached by [the two PRIDE executives] and offered an additional $2,000 to lose the fight by submission,” Trebilcock said. “To my understanding from both Quinton and my guy who I sent over there with him, that is what happened.”
As far as DSE filing a potential lawsuit, nothing is happening as of yet according to Wojciechowski:
“I need some time to investigate this, as this was just brought to my attention this morning,” Wojciechowski said. “Obviously, I’d like to get a hold of the actual interview that was done. If Quinton is making these statements, they are not true. I have irrefutable evidence to prove that they are not true. Hideki Yamamoto and Yukino Kanda did not engage in any bribing activity.”
“Quinton has highly neglected to add to the story that he was going to be paid almost double bonus if he had won,” Wojciechowski said.
We will definitely continue to follow this story…
The California State Athletic Commission announced today that MMA legend Royce Gracie tested positive for traces of Nandrolone, an anabolic agent, following his decision victory over Kazushi Sakuraba.
Mixed martial arts icon Royce Gracie, best known as the slender gi-wearing Brazilian who twisted oversized competitors into knots during the early days of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, tested positive for traces of Nandrolone, a commonly used anabolic steroid, following his decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba, June 2 in Los Angeles, the California State Athletic Commission revealed Thursday.
The CSAC has suspended Gracie from June 2, 2007 through May 30, 2008 and issued him a fine of $2,500. Gracie has until July 13th to appeal the suspension.