Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 71: Liddell vs Jackson 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 an official preview, predictions, media coverage, and much more:
UFC 71: Liddell vs Jackson
Main Card Bouts:
Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson
Karo Parisyan vs Josh Burkman
Ivan Salaverry vs Terry Martin
Keith Jardine vs Houston Alexander
Chris Leben vs Kalib Starnes
Din Thomas vs Jeremy Stephens
James Irvin vs Thiago Silva
Wilson Gouveia vs Carmelo Marrero
Alan Belcher vs Sean Salmon
Here is a preview John and I put together for UFC 71: Liddell vs. Jackson.
Main Card Bouts:
Chuck Liddell vs. Quinton Jackson
Terry Martin vs. Ivan Salaverry
Josh Burkman vs. Karo Parisyan
Houston Alexander vs. Keith Jardine
Kalib Starnes vs. Chris Leben
Thiago Silva vs. James Irvin
Sean Salmon vs. Alan Belcher
Jeremy Stephens vs. Din Thomas
Carmelo Marrero vs. Wilson Gouveia
Also be sure to tune in at 10 PM EST as we’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’ for the PPV.
A rumor is now going strong due to a posting on the fiveouncesofpain.com blog that says Tito Ortiz will be fighting Rashad Evans at UFC 71 rather than teammate Keith Jardine. The blog’s writer, Sam Caplan, works for CBSSportsline and is very credible. Here’s his post…
It’s been reported in multiple outlets that Tito Ortiz will fight Keith Jardine at UFC 71 in May. I believe Tito may have even confirmed the bout himself. However, while interviewing Dana White for CBS Sportsline yesterday Dana indicated Tito’s opponent at UFC 71 will be Rashad Evans so I’m not so sure he’ll be fighting Jardine.
Look for my exclusive interview with Dana to appear on Sportsline in the next couple of days.
If so, this fight would either elevate Rashad to title fight contender or show that he needs a bit more time to sharpen his skills.
This might also open up Keith Jardine for a title bout with Chuck Liddell as they are searching for an opponent for Liddell since Quinton Jackson has stated he’d like another fight before facing the Light Heavyweight Champion. This of course is pure speculation on my part.
Well I guess this would be the perfect opportunity to introduce you to our newest feature - From The Mailbag. Basically if you send in a question, we will try our best to answer it and post it on the site under this heading. Simple as that…
C Rizzle writes:
If Rampage gets through Eastman and I figure he will, do you see Dana matching him up with Liddell right away? (I see him getting 2 fights before a title bout) If not and you are going to give him another bout before the title fight, I could very well see Dana matching him up with Evans, and in light of Evans comments saying he would “knock Jackson out”, I think this could have some merit to it. Or do you see him fighting a Sobral, Jardine, etc. What are your thoughts?
Basically I think it’s all going to come down to what Dana White decides to do. The Light-Heavyweight division is absolutely stacked, we already know that. The problem is that there is no legitimate number one contender to Chuck Liddell’s belt.
Could Quinton Jackson get an immediate title shot if he beats Marvin Eastman? It’s very possible and only because there isn’t any other fighter that is a step ahead of the rest right now and would be a just challenger.
If Rashad Evans and Keith Jardine are forced to fight or else they are terminated from their UFC contracts, I think the two will fight. If not, another scenario Dana may be visualize is Tito Ortiz vs Keith Jardine and Quinton Jackson vs Rashad Evans. Another thing that may prevent this is the fact that Forrest and Tito are heavily rumored to be fighting at UFC 70.
Michael Bisping is still going to have two or three more fights before he is seriously considered just like the rest of The Ultimate Fighter alumni. Renato Sobral and Jason Lambert are scheduled to fight at UFC 68 so that takes them out of the picture for now…
But where does this leave Liddell? Is he going to have to go through another UFC 57-UFC 62 stretch where he doesn’t fight? Will Dana try to grab Wanderlei Silva again? There’s so many possible scenarios that could happen, it’s too early to really to gage what’s going to happen until some of these fights go down and future matchups are finalized.
Anyway there are my thoughts on the situation. Hope I answered your question well enough…
A lot of interesting news and notes were brought to light after last night’s event were over…
- The Wrestling Observer reported last night in it’s live play-by-play of the fight that Diego Sanchez would tentatively be facing Josh Koscheck at the UFC’s event in April. (UFC 69 which will take place in Houston, Texas) MMA Weekly now has the fight listed as a rumor as well. It makes me wonder if something was said or at least shown on the video screen during the preliminary fights seeing how Wrestling Observer just plopped that note in there out of nowhere.
- Sean Salmon was rushed to the hospital last night right after the event was over. Those at the event said that he was motionless on the mat for upwards of seven minutes. He received a CAT scan that came up negative at the hospital and was released in the wee hours of the morning. He is doing fine and is now vacationing with his family.
- UFC President Dana White announced at the post-fight press conference that Hermes Franca would be getting a shot at Sean Sherk’s UFC Lightweight belt at some point during the summer when Sherk is able to fight again. Sherk is currently recovering from shoulder surgery that will keep him out of action for at least another month or two.
- The most interesting thing to come out of last night’s press conference was an exchange between Dana White and Rashad Evans that was reported by the Los Angeles Times.
Perhaps the most interesting exchange took place after the show at the press conference. When a reporter asked about a prospective match with Evans vs. Keith Jardine, who made a name for himself by knocking out Forrest Griffin on Dec. 30 in Las Vegas, UFC President Dana White said that sounded like a great idea. Evans shot back that he trains regularly with Jardine in Albuquerque, and he would never fight him. White said that if he made the match, he’d fight him. Evans shot back that he would not, and the awkward exchange ended at that point.
Other fighters have put friendships aside to move up the rankings in the past… Will see it happen between these two in the near future?
Crooks wants to know:
What’s next for Tito Ortiz?
Thanks for the question Crooks. At this point it’s tough to say what’s next for Tito Ortiz. He is in a situation where he has lost twice to the current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion. The one positive for Ortiz was he looked great in the fight with Liddell. It’s tough to say what the UFC will do next for Tito, he may get a comback fight much like Matt Hughes and Rich Franklin against someone who is tough but should be beaten.
I currently think the best match the UFC could put together is a showdown between Renato “Babalu” Sobral and Tito Ortiz. The one downer is the fact that both guys are coming off tough losses to Chuck Liddell. The UFC may want to give them a chance to get a win or two before they set this one up but they desperately need to in the near future. The fans want it and both guys are very popular, marketable fighters.
Ortiz hasn’t hesitated from speaking his mind on the situation with Babalu either as he called him a “B level fighter”. The war of words took place in September after Babalu lost to Chuck Liddell at UFC 62. Ortiz went onto the radio and said:
“Renato Babalu is not really as good as they try to make him to be. They kind of painted the picture more of what they think. I think that was a typical fight for Liddell. That fight will go the same way each and every time. The first time went 2 minutes and 30 seconds and this second one went 1 minute. Renato Babalu is nor really that great of a fighter. He’s a great ‘B’ fighter and an average ‘A’ fighter. He’s not at the level of (Randy) Couture, Liddell or myself.”
Babalu fired back saying:
“I earned my title shot after my results in the octagon. I won my way up to the title shot against Liddell and Tito has his fight guaranteed on a contract. I won my way up with 10 wins in a row with the last three being in the UFC by submission. Tito had two victories in his recent UFC fights with the judges helping him… very controversial results, not convincing!!! Even though I believe it’s impossible, I really hope Tito beats Liddell because it will be easier to smash his face and get the title from him instead of Liddell.”
It’s tough to say who will be next but we know one thing, Quinton “Rampage” Jackson and Tito Ortiz won’t be locking horns in the octagon as they are both friends and training partners. As you said in your email there have been “rumors” floating around that he may get matched up with either Babalu, Evans, Griffin, or Jardine.
Right now I’d say Jardine or Babalu would be the most likely to be Ortiz’s next opponent. Jardine is coming off of a big win over Forrest Griffin and he is now in a situation where he has to face the division’s best and he’ll find that in Ortiz. After that I’d say Babalu vs. Ortiz is next with the winner getting tossed back into title contention. I don’t see Griffin vs. Ortiz happening right now as both guys are coming off of tough losses and being poster boys of the UFC it will do neither fighter any good losing. Griffin doesn’t want to face a healthy Tito Ortiz after being knocked out by Keith Jardine.
One thing we need to keep in mind is the UFC also acquired the contract of Lyoto Machida so he is a possible opponent for all of the top guys in the division. He will be fighting Sam Hogar at UFC 67 and if he wins that the future will be bright.
So at this point I’d say Jardine seems like the front-runner followed by Babalu.
Feel free to e-mail us your thoughts or questions.
Here are the weigh-in results for UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II.
Chuck Liddell (205) vs. Tito Ortiz (205)
Forrest Griffin (205) vs. Keith Jardine (205)
Chris Leben (186) vs. Jason MacDonald (184)
Andrei Arlovski (236) vs. Marcio Cruz (236)
Michael Bisping (205) vs. Eric Schafer (205)
Thiago Alves (170) vs. Tony DeSouza (171)
Gabriel Gonzaga (244) vs. Carmelo Marrero (220)
Rory Singer (185) vs. Yushin Okami (284)
Anthony Perosh (236) vs. Christian Wellisch (235)
Here’s a few links to fill you in on what sports writers around the country are saying about UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz II…
LA Daily Times: UFC finds ultimate success
St.Petersburg Times: It’s not all fun and games
UFC: Chuck Liddell: the Last of the Mohicans
Globe and Mail: Liddell, Ortiz meet the media
UFC: Liddell lingers as the Last Piece in the Ortiz Puzzle
OC Register: UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz preview
LA Times: Liddell confident he’ll beat Ortiz
LV Review Journal: Trainer on top with Liddell
UFC: Jardine Ready for A Blue Collar Battle on Saturday
ESPN: UFC 66 Makes ESPN’s Top 100 Sports Events for 2006
UFC: The MMA Resurrection of Jason MacDonald
UFC: Chris Leben – Revenge Now, Redemption Later
FOX: Does Ortiz Believe He Will Win?
Keith Jardine and Forrest Griffin
Carmelo Marrero and Gabriel Gonzaga
Jason MacDonald and Chris Leben
Thiago Alves and Tony DeSouza
Christian Wellisch and Anthony Perosh
Marcio Cruz and Andrei Arlovski
Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell
Eric Schafer and Michael Bisping
UFC 66 Press Conference - Ortiz and Liddell
UFC 66 Press Conference - Jardine, Griffin, Schafer, Bisping
Liddell vs. Ortiz II Predictions
It has been announced that ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ season 1 champion Forrest Griffin will battle fellow TUF star Keith Jardine at UFC 66: Liddell vs Ortiz 2.
Griffin’s last fight came at UFC 62: Liddell vs. Sobral where fans saw Griffin earn a unanimous decision victory over Stephan Bonnar. Shortly after the fight it was revealed that Bonnar tested positive to an anabolic agent.
Keith Jardine is returning to action for the first time in nearly 5 months. Jardine was scheduled to face Mike Nickels at UFC 64: Unstoppable but the fight was cancelled hours before it was susposed to take place because Nickels injured his back. Jardine is coming off of a decision victory over Wilson Gouveia and his only UFC loss came to Stephan Bonnar.
UFC.tv is reporting that Mike Nickels suffered a back injury and the fight is now off. The show will continue with eight fights.
Due to a late back injury, Mike Nickels has been forced to withdraw from his light heavyweight preliminary bout tonight at UFC 64 against Keith Jardine. There will be no replacement bout and UFC 64 will go on with eight fights.