Signed, sealed and delivered!
Today the UFC announced the signing of former PRIDE middleweight champion and top ranked light heavyweight Wanderlei Silva. According to the UFC’s article, Silva will make his return to the octagon in December after spending nearly 7 years in PRIDE.
“Many fighters have a dream of fighting for the UFC, and as a champion for six years in Japan, my dream has always been to have the UFC belt,” said Silva. “Today, I’m one step closer to this goal.”
When asked about the signing Dana White was ecstatic calling it the pinnacle of his seven year career.
“As crazy as this sounds, this is the pinnacle of my seven year career in this company,” said UFC President Dana White. “I’m so excited to have this guy under contract. He grabbed my arm and looked me in the eyes like one of his pre-fight staredowns and he said ‘I’m gonna fight so good for you, you’re gonna see the best fights ever from Wanderlei Silva.’”
“This guy is a real fighter,” said White. “He reminds me of Chuck Liddell, and he’s the kind of fighter that all fight fans love to see fight. He’s a gunslinger. He will get in harm’s way to inflict damage and pain. This guy comes out like a speeding train and never stops. He goes for the finish, he likes to knock people out, and I just think he’s going to bring so much excitement to the UFC, I feel like I’m going to jump out of my skin.”
Wanderlei Silva has spent the last 7 years in PRIDE amassing a record of 18-4-1 (1 NC). Silva holds victories over the likes of UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Kazuyuki Fujita, Ricardo Arona, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Hidehiko Yoshida, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Guy Mezger, and Kiyoshi Tamura.
News and Notes
- Dana White and company held the official press conference for UFC 74 yesterday. The most interesting thing to come out of it? Probably something that many of us have known for a while now - When asked about Brandon Vera’s next opponent, White responded with “most likely Tim Sylvia.”
Some press conference coverage:
- UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture will be featured on ESPN’s Rome is Burning later today at 4:30 PM EST. Couture is expected to discuss his preparation for his title defense against Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 74, his bout with former champ Tim Sylvia at UFC 68, and Gonzaga’s brutal knockout of Mirko Cro Cop at UFC 70.
- Wild Bill’s Fight Night has become the latest MMA promotion to earn a television deal:
Wild Bill’s Fight Night, the biggest and most successful MMA event series in the state of Georgia, recently acquired a television deal with Comcast On Demand. Past MMA events from Wild Bill’s Fight Night are available now through Comcast’s On Demand service. All future Wild Bill’s Fight Night cards will be televised on Comcast.
- ION Television has announced that it will no longer be broadcasting BodogFight programming beginning in February 2008. ION stated that MMA is no longer appropriate for the channel’s new style of family programming.
- Apparently George Foreman loves mixed martial arts:
“I love the UFC. I love it,” Foreman said. “If they had had that back when I was coming up, in 1966, it would have been my sport. Man, I love it. And you know what? Nobody would have pulled the rope-a-dope on me.”
- CBS Sportsline writer Sam Caplan has joined the ranks of UFC Junkie.
Roger Sportsnet: Gonzaga on my Mind
MMA Weekly: Randy Couture on Steroids in MMA
Sprawl ‘n Brawl: MMA History Lesson: The Fight That Almost Was
CBS Sportsline: Five Ounces of Pain: Fedor’s next destination should be the UFC
MSNBC: Soft-hearted ‘Rampage’ ready to bring the heat
Fight Opinion: Friday fight notes: A bad week just got worse for K-1
Hall of Fame Boxing Referee Richard Steele and Steve Oshins, co-owners of Steele Cage Promotions, LLC and the International Fighting Organization, LLC (IFO), announce their September 1st card at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. After a blazing debut with Fireworks in the Cage I on July 7th, highlighted by Marvin Eastman vs. Rob Kimmons, Steele Cage will unleash the sequel with Fireworks in the Cage II.
“Steele Cage will continue with its goal of giving the fans what they want, exciting well-matched fights. Fireworks in the Cage II will be similar to the first one, with some young talented fighters looking to make a name for themselves as well as ones that have enjoyed the limelight and are looking to stay on top,” stated Steele.
The sequel will bring another star studded cast with UFC, Pride and IFL veteran Travis “The Diesel” Wiuff (45-11) fighting another UFC vet Chris “The Exorcist” Price (11-2) for the IFO Light Heavyweight World Title.
Zac “The Red Devil” George (12-1) has fought for the IFL and is a 3 time Oklahoma State Wrestling Champion. George also participated in the IFO’s July 7th event, but this time he will be fighting for the IFO Lightweight World Title versus Chris “The Mad Dog” Mickle (22-9-1). Mickle is the current Extreme Challenge Champion at 155lbs.
Steele Cage will also feature the entertaining Tony “The Freak” Fryklund (14-9) and Justin “Executioner” Levens (9-6) in separate bouts. Fryklund will fight Kyle Gibbons (5-2) at 170lbs. “The Freak” is well known to MMA fans having fought for UFC, WEC and Strikeforce. Levens (9-6), a UFC, WEC, and IFL veteran himself takes on Nate James (3-3) at 185lbs.
News and Notes:
- Sherdog has released their first ever top 10 which covers 8 weight classes (flyweight to heavyweight).
Here is the heavyweight top 10…
1. Fedor Emelianenko
2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
3. Gabriel Gonzaga
4. Mirko Filipovic
5. Josh Barnett
6. Randy Couture
7. Tim Sylvia
8. Andrei Arlovski
9. Fabricio Werdum
10. Aleksander Emelianenko
- In a recent interview with Sherdog.com Fedor Emelianenko’s manager confirmed that the rumors of Fedor signing a five-fight $5 million deal with FEG were false.
- Our rumors section has been updated…
Over the past few days UFC Junkie has been on a roll breaking news about several fights set to take place at UFC 76 and 77.
• Eric Schafer vs. Stephan Bonnar at UFC 77
• Marvin Eastman vs. Damian Maia at UFC 77
• Jorge Gurgel vs. Doug Evans at UFC 77
• Jeremy Stephens vs. Nate Mohr at UFC 76
• Justin McCully vs. Christian Wellisch at UFC 76
• Matt Grice vs. Jason Black at UFC 77
• Josh Burkman vs. Forrest Petz at UFC 77
- FCFighter.com is reporting that Manny Tapia has suffered a knee injury which has forced him to pull out of his Sept. 5, WEC 30 title bout with Chase Beebe.
Sportsnet: MFC owner eyes bigger picture
UFC Junkie: MMA Wagering 101
UFC HP: Griffin and Tavares give a Peek into the Future at UFC 76
Yahoo! Sports: Stevenson climbing the lightweight ladder
PRIDE veteran Kazuhiro Nakamra will make his UFC debut on Sept. 22 at UFC 76: Knockout when he steps into the cage with Lyoto Machida.
Hiroshima’s Nakamura (11-6) will be making his UFC debut after fighting his entire career for the PRIDE organization. Owner of wins over Murilo Bustamante, Kevin Randleman, and Igor Vovchanchyn, this light heavyweight Judo standout has also locked horns with Dan Henderson, Wanderlei Silva, Josh Barnett, and Mauricio ‘Shogun’ Rua, making him one of the most battle-tested veterans at the elite level of the game. He will be a tough challenge for the unbeaten Machida, who holds a stoppage win over Rich Franklin and who is 2-0 in the Octagon, with wins over Sam Hoger and David Heath.
“I’ve never hand-picked an opponent.”
Those words from the mouth of former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell were spoken in order to shoot down a slew of rumors that popped up last week concerning Liddell possibly hand-selecting Keith Jardine as his opponent at UFC 76.
Liddell discussed the Jardine rumors as well as the usual fight selection process he went through in the UFC with MMA Weekly:
“There would be no reason to hand-pick Jardine. The only time I’ve ever asked for a guy is when I asked to fight Kevin Randleman because I wanted to fight a guy that had a name at the time because they kept giving me guys as little known as I was. I think that’s the only time I’ve ever asked for someone specifically.”
“They talked to me about fighting Wanderlei in September, and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s fine. Cool. Perfect.’ Then I heard it fell out. I assumed they were going to put me with Shogun [Rua] because I knew he was on the same card. I figured they would put me with Shogun, but they came to me and said they wanted me to fight Keith. I’m not complaining. I don’t argue with people about who I’m going to fight. I fight whoever they tell me to,” explained Liddell.
Various sites reported that Liddell was offered a choice between Jardine, Mauricio Rua, Kazuhiro Nakamura, and Ryoto Machida.
Bodog has announced the matchups set to take place on the sixth season of BodogFight. The taping will take place August 24th and 25th on the Squamish Nation Indian Reserve in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Sami Aziz (Sweden) vs. Hiroyuki Abe (Japan)
JR Sims (USA) vs. DJ Taiki (Japan)
Rodrigo Damm (Brazil) vs. Darren Elkins (USA)
Per Eklund (Sweden) vs. Rafael Dias (USA)
Ryan Bow (Japan) vs. Santino Defranco (USA)
Chris Ade (Canada) vs. Koji Oishi (Japan)
Nick Thompson (USA) vs. Mark Weir (UK)
Piotr Jakaczynski (Sweden) vs. Dan Hornbuckle (USA)
Chris Wilson (USA) vs. Ray Steinbeiss (USA)
Diego Gonzales (Sweden) vs. Steve Berger (USA)
Tim McKenzie (USA) vs. Yuichi Nakanishi (Japan)
Kyacey Uscola (USA) vs. TBA
Steve Byrnes (USA) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (Russia)
Antony Rea (France) vs. Steve Steinbeiss (USA)
Mikhael Zyats (Russia) vs. Buddy Roberts (USA)
Assuerio Silva (Brazil) vs. Constantin Gluhov (Russia)
Andrew Pederson (Canada) vs. Scott Lincoln (USA)
Dan Evensen (USA) vs. Dominic Richards (Canada)
Kristof Midoux (France) vs. Brad Morris (Australia)
Megumi Fuji (Japan) vs. Lisa Ward (USA)
Carina Damm (Brazil) vs. Jessica Aguillar (USA)
Rosi Sexton (UK) vs. Julia Berezekova (Russia)
Kelly Kobold (USA) vs. Julie Kedzie (USA)
Tama Chan (Japan) vs. Molly Helsel (USA)
The UFC has officially announced that Mauricio “Shogun” Rua will make his UFC debut Sept. 22, 2007 at UFC 76: Knockout when he faces Forrest Griffin.
“Shogun” Rua (16-2) has solidified himself as one of the top light heavyweights in the world defeating the likes of Alistair Overeem, Kevin Randleman, Ricaro Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, and Quinton Jackson while fighting in PRIDE. Shogun is an extremely well rounded fighter who possesses excellent BJJ and Muay Thai skills. In 2005 Shogun was able to capture the PRIDE Middleweight Grand Prix belt defeating Alistair Overeem and Ricardo Arona.
Rua’s opponent, Forrest Griffin, sports a mixed martial arts record of 14-4. Griffin appeared on the debut season of The Ultimate Fighter and eventually came out the victor of the light heavyweight division. Griffin made a splash early scoring impressive victories over Stephan Bonnar, Bill Mahood, and Elvis Sinosic. At UFC 59 Griffin faced Tito Ortiz in what turned out to be one of the better fights of the year. In the end Ortiz scored the decision victory. Since that time Griffin has gone 2-1 with victories over Stephan Bonnar and Hector Ramirez. His sole loss came to the hands of Keith Jardine.
UFC 76 should live up to the name of knockout as Chuck Liddell will also be appearing on the card when he faces fellow striker Keith “The Dean of Mean” Jardine.
The IFL has announced the fighters set to participate in the upcoming IFL World Grand Prix. The first round of the Grand Prix is set for November 3rd at the Sears Centre in Chicago, with the finals taking place December 29th at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT.
No. 1 Wagnney Fabiano (Dragons) vs. No. 4 John Gunderson (Lions)
No. 2 Chris Horodecki (Anacondas) vs. No. 3 Bart Palaszewski (Silverbacks)
Alternate: Shad Lierley (Tiger Sharks)
No. 1 Delson Heleno (Pitbulls) vs. No. 4 Mark Miller (Red Bears)
No. 2 Antonio McKee (Sabres) vs. No. 3 Jay Hieron (Anacondas)
Alternate: Pat Healy (Lions)
No. 1 Benji Radach (Anacondas) vs. No. 4 Brent Beauparlant (Dragons)
No. 2 Matt Horwich (Wolfpack) vs. No. 3 Brian Foster (Razorclaws)
Alternate: Fabio Leopoldo (Pitbulls)
No. 1 Vladimir Matyushenko (Sabres) vs. No. 4 Alex Schoenauer (Anacondas)
No. 2 Mike Whitehead (Scorpions) vs. No. 3 Mike Ciesnolevicz (Silverbacks)
Alternate: Jamal Patterson (Pitbulls)
No. 1 Ben Rothwell (Silverbacks) vs. No. 4 Roy Nelson (Lions)
No. 2 Antoine Jaoude (Condors) vs. No. 3 Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks)
Alternate: Bryan Vetell (Pitbulls)
Look for more information regarding the Grand Prix later today.
Today Pro Elite and Showtime held media conference call promoting their new show “ShoXC: Elite Challenger Series” which is scheduled to debut Friday, July 27 at 11 PM EST live from the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California.
Present for the call was Doug DeLuca, Gary Shaw, and Ken Hershman.
Summary of the conference:
• Showtime plans on holding four ShoXC events before the end of the year. There were no specific dates mentioned for final three shows but they did say they would like to hold one in August, October and December.
• The main event this weekend will be K.J. Noons vs. Edson Berto. Also on the card will be a King of the Cage/Gladiator Challenge welterweight championship unification match between Jeremiah Metcalf and Aaron Wetherspoon.
• EliteXC plans on holding a card September 15th in Hawaii. The card is expected to feature an EliteXC middleweight title bout between Murilo Rua vs. Robbie Lawler. Shaw stated numerous times that the bout agreement has not yet been signed.
• Shaw was not sure when Frank Shamrock would be returning, but he did say that Shamrock won’t be fighting Nick Diaz in September. Diaz recently went on the record calling out Frank Shamrock saying “I watched his last fight and no disrespect intended, but I think I would whoop his ass.” Diaz is currently serving the suspension he received from the NSAC after testing positive for Delta-9-THC following his gogo-plata victory over Takanori Gomi. Due to the positive test the NSAC decided to change the result of the fight to a no contest.
• Gina Carano’s future is bright with EliteXC, she signed a multi-year contract with the company. The face of female MMA.
• There has been interest in bringing Frank Trigg into the mix at 185 lbs.
• Jeremy Lappen was involved with the Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou deal. EliteXC thought they had him as they flew him into the last event and treated him very well and then at the last minute someone threw him a large offer that Shaw was not willing to match. Rumor has it K-1 offered Sokoudjou “significantly more money” than the $200,000 per-fight that Pro Elite offered.
• Gary Shaw hinted at implementing a 160 lbs. weight class. Shaw stated that through his experience in boxing he knows that there are guys who fight at 160 lbs. that cannot get to 155 lbs. so it provides them with another option. Nick Diaz would be a perfect fit for the potential division.