Matt Hughes

Sorting Out the UFC Welterweight Situation

This thing is a mess…

Well as I’m sure everyone already knows, UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra has been forced to pull out of his scheduled title defense against Matt Hughes at UFC 79 next month after suffering a pair of herniated discs in his lower back.

So what happens now?

Well one thing we know for certain - Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva are going to headline UFC 79.

Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports leaked some information about what UFC officials are considering in terms of possibly finding Hughes another opponent:

According to a UFC official, if Serra is out for a long period of time and Hughes agrees to fight on Dec. 29, the two most likely candidates for an opponent would be Jon Fitch or Thiago Alves.

Fitch I can agree with, Alves I can not. In fact I think that Hughes and Fitch would be a great matchup. However we can throw it out the window according to MMA Mania because not only can Fitch not make it to the event, he won’t even be in his country:

MMA Mania can confirm that Fitch is not available to fight that weekend. In fact, he told us today, “I’m not even going to be in the country. I’ll be in Vietnam tending to some personal matters.”

Hughes will most likely only be fighting next month if Serra is going to be out of action for a long period of time. So if Serra is going to miss more than a couple months, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the UFC bust out the infamous interim title. But if Serra is only going to be out until February or March, Hughes would be wasting his time in taking a fight next month.

Alves should not be getting a shot at any kind of title in my opinion, not yet. He’s lost to Fitch and Spencer Fisher and needs to at least defeat a top 5-6 welterweight in the UFC before he gets a chance at the big dogs. The same goes for Marcus Davis in my opinion.

Josh Koscheck is coming off of a loss so that’s not going to happen. Diego Sanchez is coming off of two losses and probably won’t be fighting at 170 lbs for much longer. Karo Parisyan may have missed yet another title opportunity due to injury once again after revealing that he fought Ryo Chonan with a broken left hand last weekend.

So who does that leave? How about Georges St. Pierre?

If St. Pierre isn’t being considered to replace Serra, he’s going to be waiting a hell of a long time for a title shot, quite possibly almost an entire year. I think the idea of an interim title would be enough to get St. Pierre to agree to the fight on short notice. That and if he’s been active in the gym and not just sitting around waiting until a couple months before his next fight to get back into shape.

On top of that, it would finally settle the series between Hughes and St. Pierre. It would also make the welterweight title picture a lot more clearer. The winner of Hughes-St. Pierre would fight Serra in the spring if he is able to come back. If Parisyan and Fitch are matched up in March as rumored, that creates yet another number one contender.

The UFC will probably have a better idea on what have to decide after Serra meets with doctors this weekend. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens.

Matt Serra Injured; Withdraws From UFC 79 Bout

The UFC has announced that Matt Serra suffered a back injury while training which has forced him to withdraw from his Dec. 29 title bout with former champ Matt Hughes.

“This is devastating news because they were so looking forward to fighting each other, said White.

“Unfortunately injuries happen and I look forward to Serra recovering quickly, and to getting him back into the Octagon.”

Serra had just finished a Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling training session and was demonstrating a move when he became gripped with pain and fell to the floor. Serra went to the hospital and underwent an MRI, which revealed the herniated discs in his lower back.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do,” said Serra. “I’ve never had a back injury before; I could hardly get off of the MRI table. There is no way I can train through this, and I’m devastated, especially because this was such an important fight. I was looking forward to fighting Matt Hughes. All my training was going phenomenally until Monday – All I can do now is to get better and to fight again as soon as possible.”

The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 8

The show starts off with a recap of last week’s fight of course, where George Sotiropoulos picked apart Jared Rollins en route to a TKO victory.

That means that the last preliminary fight will be Tommy Speer vs Jon Koppenhaver. Profile pieces are done on both fighters. Speer is just like Matt Hughes in that he has a farm back home and runs it with his brother. Also like Hughes, Speer usually relies on his natural “farmer strength” and ability to win most of his fights.

Koppenhaver on the other hand doesn’t have very much. No mother, no father, only a few friends. Koppenhaver visually shows the emotional toll that his path in life has taken on him. The most eye-opening part of the show was when “War Machine” recalls attempting to save his father from a heart attack by using CPR when he was only 13 years old.

Both fighters weighed-in fine. It’s fight time.

Now I picked Koppenhaver to win this fight. I thought that Speer wouldn’t really put forth much effort in the Octagon. Matt Hughes nearly made my point a reality if it wasn’t for his attempts to try and fire Speer up during practice.

Seconds into the fight Koppenhaver lands a right and cuts Speer wide open. He takes Speer down and quickly takes his back. Speer is bleeding all over the mat and Koppenhaver spends the majority trying to sink in a rear naked choke. I could have sworn that I saw Speer tap out at one point. Members of Team Serra were even screaming it. However neither fighter nor referee Steve Mazzagatti acknowledged it. With just about two minutes left, Speer flips Koppenhaver over and spends the rest of the round pounding at him.

The second round was all Speer as he immediately took Koppenhaver down after a blocked kick and spent the rest of the time there. Koppenhaver did a better job of protecting himself in the second but he wasn’t able to get back to his feet.

The judges scored the bout 20-18 in favor of Speer. I personally thought that it should have gone to sudden death. How the judges could have scored the first round for Speer after he spent nearly three minutes barely hanging on is beyond me.

Round 5 Releases First Set of Figures

In response to the rapid growth of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Round 5 has just released the first official line of MMA collectible figures. The collectibles are set to launch in North America in over 1000 different stores this holiday season. They will also be available internationally online.

“This first series showcases the most exciting championship fighters to date, in their most well known poses,” said Barron Lau, Marketing Director of Round 5. He continues to explain, “Series 1: Champions, will include fan favourites; Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson, Tito ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ Ortiz, Matt Hughes, and Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture. Each collectible is expertly sculpted, stands 6” tall and is fully pose-able. Select characters even include accessories such Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson’s signature chain. Each fighter had direct input in the design and development of their own collectible figure including the look, feel and pose. We are honoured to be releasing these collectibles at a time when the sport has achieved so much success.”

The collectible figures are sculpted by famous McFarlane artist and owner of INU Art design studio, David Cortes. He is best known for sculpting comic-related and mainstream characters like Hellboy, Spawn, and the Incredible Hulk. Cortes takes great pride in the level of detail and likeness captured in the 6” tall caricature-style figures. 

Interest in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has grown dramatically over the past several years, surpassing both boxing and professional wrestling in popularity and Pay-Per-View sales in some areas of the world, to currently become one of the fastest growing sports around. “Due to the mainstream rise in popularity of professional MMA, the response from our website has been tremendous. These collectibles will be the hottest sellers for the upcoming Christmas season,” said Damon Lau, CEO Round 5.

The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 7

The show starts off with a recap of last week’s controversial Ben Saunders-Dan Barrera fight. Matt Hughes is pissed to put it lightly. After throwing some verbal bombs at Barrera for not following directions and sticking to the game plan they had put together, he storms out of the room in anger.

Dana White finds Hughes sitting in the gym by himself and asks him what his problem is. Hughes explains that his fighters aren’t listening and aren’t even trying. Hughes says that he has no idea how to fix the problem. White recommends that he beat his fighters down in practice and that’s exactly what Hughes intends to do.

After attempting to fire his team up with a pep talk where he tells his guys that the only reason he is still on the show is because he has to be, Hughes puts his squad through a grueling practice. Hughes’ methods aren’t taken too kindly by Jared Rollins and Tommy Speer, who haven’t even fought yet. Mac Danzig says that Hughes should find an alternative way to release his anger. He says that he would expect Hughes to be angry at a veteran fighter like him but not a bunch of guys who only have 2-3 fights to their name.

It’s time to pick this week’s fight. Hughes says that Rollins wants to fight Sotiropoulos and that’s exactly what happens. Danzig considers both to be the 1-2 fighters below him in terms of overall talent. Rollins injures his ribs during practice and breaks down once he learns that it might be a serious injury. He goes to the hospital only to find out that his ribs are bruised.

Back at the house, George and Ben Saunders get into a constant argument about George not having the decency to wake the rest of his teammates up for practice and causing them to nearly be late. George tells Saunders that he should be able to take care of himself and that he’s not his mother. Saunders argues that George doesn’t care about the team and is only here for himself.

Both Rollins and George successfully weigh-in for the fight. A near scuffle resulted in an intense staredown between the two. The fight starts out at a slow pace. George is the only one throwing hands while Rollins is content to feel things out for the first minute of the fight. They scramble on the ground at one point and Rollins nearly gets an armbar but they quickly return to the feet. George starts picking Jared apart on the feet and eventually lands an uppercut that drops Rollins. George pounces on him and continues to pound away until it’s obvious that Jared has been put to sleep.

Next week will feature the final preliminary bout between Jon Koppenhaver and Tommy Speer.

CKA: Oct 25, 2007

News and Notes

- ProElite.com will be streaming Randy Couture’s press conference live at 4:30 PM EST.

- A roundup of coverage of last night’s TUF episode:

UFC: The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes - Episode Six Recap; Matt Hughes’ Blog - Week Six
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Controversy Strikes TUF 6
Inside Fighting: Paul Georgieff; Tommy Speer
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 6
OC Register: Mac Danzig’s Ultimate Fighter Blog (Episode 6)
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 6 Recap
UFC Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 6 recap and discussion
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter Season 6: Episode 6 Recap
Five Ounces of Pain:  TUF 6: Episode 6 Thoughts/Recap

- Strikeforce originally stated that two-minute rounds would be used during their inaugural middleweight tournament next month but the California State Athletic Commission has stepped in and changed the bout duration to five full minutes.

- Some other numbers from UFC 79…

Official attendance - 16,054
Total live gate - $2,519,850

- Sean Salmon has revealed through MMA Junkie that he will be fighting at Strikeforce next month against an opponent yet to be determined and at the next HDNet Fights event on December 15th against Jason “Mayhem” Miller:

Now, onto upcoming fights (or what I am permitted to say, anyway): I am “for sure” fighting on the Strikeforce card on Nov. 16. However, Eugene Jackson (my original opponent) is injured and can’t fight. I know Cung Le’s opponent has fallen through, and I would like nothing more than to fight him. Here we go again:

Either way, I have been assured that I am on this card, but I’m most likely an “alternate bout” to the tournament. I can’t complain about that, as I would be honored to fight anyone in that four-man field.

Next up, I have been given permission to announce that I will be fighting Jason “Mayhem” Miller on the Dec. 15 HDNet Fights card.

- Last night Brian Knapp of The Fight Network announced that James Thompson and Jon Murphy were set to clash at EliteXC: Renegade on November 10th. However Sam Caplan and Five Ounces of Pain are reporting that the fight is not signed and Murphy was never even approached about a potential fight against Thompson:

When contacted by Five Ounces of Pain, Murphy indicated that no one with EliteXC has contacted him about the possibility of fighting Thompson. He went on to add that he’s currently suffering from a serious shoulder injury and does not believe he’d be able to take the match even if it is offered.

Murphy went on to indicate that a match with Thompson is one he’d welcome in the future and that he hopes it’s a bout available to him once he’s healthy again.

- Herb Dean recently sat down for an interview with The Winnipeg Sun and discussed his controversial decision to stop the Frank Mir-Tim Sylvia heavyweight title bout at UFC 48 after Sylvia suffered a broken arm:

That experience was never more evident back in 2004, when Dean was the referee in UFC 48. In the heavyweight championship fight between Tim Sylvia and Frank Mir, Sylvia broke his arm in the first round. Dean, understanding the headstrong mentality of some of the fighters, saw this and jumped in right away, stopping the fight. He knew if he didn’t, Sylvia would have kept going and possibly suffered more damage.

“He was upset, the crowd was upset,” Dean remembers, “but it turns out they caught in on video, they had a good angle of it, so I was vindicated. For a minute I was wondering where I was going to hide. I was looking for a good hiding spot or a large police officer.

“It’s happened more than once, but that was my defining match as a referee.”

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
3-5 PM EST - The Jordan Breen Show
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio

CKA: Oct 23, 2007

I always knew that The Garv’s hands were deadly...

News and Notes

- Our rumors section has been updated.

- Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar will most “The Tuffest 25 Moments of The Ultimate Fighter” tonight at 8 PM EST on Spike TV. It will be a two-hour long special highlighting the most memorable, drama-filled, and controversial moments that have taken place during the six seasons of the reality show.

- An episode of UFC Unleashed will air at 7 PM EST on Spike TV, just before the TUF special. Three fights will be shown: Chuck Liddell vs Renato Sobral from UFC 62, Matt Hughes vs Georges St. Pierre from UFC 65, and Andrei Arlovski vs Tim Sylvia from UFC 51.

- Tickets for the first round of the IFL Grand Prix in Chicago apparently only cost $12:

In an attempt to actually fill a venue, it looks like the IFL is offering tickets to its World Grand Prix on November 3rd in Chicago for only $12. The semi-finals, held in Florida, supposedly pulled in over 7,000 attendees, but those numbers (from the IFL) can lie and it’s hard to believe they are selling these tickets if they are so cheap. But tt’s a great deal if you live in the area and there should be some exciting matchups on the card.

- MMA News is claiming that the UFC was advertising Chuck Liddell vs Wanderlei Silva on the front of the site yesterday and then removed the text later on.

- UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva has told Sherdog that he would love to fight Matt Hughes:

Prior to that loss, Hughes speculated on retiring with both the welterweight and middleweight titles. If he can get past Matt Serra (Pictures) in December, he would be primed for a middleweight showdown with Silva.

“I would love to fight Matt Hughes (Pictures) if the UFC asked me to,” the Brazilian said. “He is a great fighter, and those are the people I want to fight.”

When pressed for a breakdown of a proposed match with the former welterweight champion, Silva demurred. “I am not going to comment on that,” he said, “other than saying it would be a great fight.”

Radio Schedule

12-1 PM EST - TAGG Radio
1-3 PM EST - The Jordan Breen Show
3-5 PM EST - The Stephen Quadros Show
3-4 PM EST - The Fight Network Radio
9-10 PM EST - MMAWeekly’s Sound Off
11 PM EST - Knockout Radio

The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 3

A lot of drama and a not-so-good fight describes the third episode of The Ultimate Fighter 6.

The show starts off with a recap of last week’s Price-Arroyo fight and then Bam! Joey Scarola wants to go home already again.

Serra tries to talk him out of it but nothing is working. His teammates give a shot. No go. Pete Sell tries his best but fails. Then the Dana stops by the house and offers some words of encouragement to Scarola. Ultimately it wasn’t enough as Scarola packed his bags and walked out of the house. Along with it he lost his job at Serra’s gym as well as his best friend. Oh well, it was his decision.

They show that Billy Miles is missing his family back home but nothing comes of it.

The fighters are allowed to watch UFC 72 from inside the house. Hughes comes over and brings food for his team. Serra brings nothing.

Eventually it was time to pick the next fight and Hughes decides to match up Billy Miles with John Kolosci. Apparently Kolosci has wanted to fight Miles since the start of the show.

Both fighters make weight and it’s fight time.

They poked away at each other with some jabs to start the bout. Everyone thought that Kolosci would want to stand with Miles but he goes ahead and shoots in for a takedown. Miles stuffs it for a moment but eventually ends up on his back. Kolosci throws some weak shots and Miles sweeps him, ending up on top. Miles just lays there and Kolosci sits up against the cage. During a scramble both try to stand up and Kolosci locks in a guillotine that forces Miles to tap out in about two seconds.

Next week looks like fun as Dorian Price flips out at the camera crew.

The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 2

I almost forgot that The Ultimate Fighter was on last night. Hopefully everyone else didn’t forget about the switch to Wednesday like me.

The show started out with a recap of Mac Danzig’s win over Joe Scarola last week. Scarola’s negative feelings about the house and being on the show are the focus of the episode. He goes back and forth concerning whether or not he should leave. He hasn’t left yet as of the end of this show.

Since he was eliminated from the competition, Serra is now using Scarola as a coach on his team, which works out since Scarola’s ground game is probably better than everyone else on Team Serra.

It’s kind of unfortunate that Scarola is on the show at all, let alone on Serra’s team. It just seems that Scarola is too much of a burden for Serra. Serra is obviously an emotional guy but he can’t be letting the actions of one person, no matter who it is, dictate whether or not he’s going to be there at practice for the team. Next week Dana White looks to be having a talk with Scarola from what was shown on the preview. It will be interesting to see what happens.

So Hughes gave everyone on his team Bibles to read a passage. A couple members of the team didn’t really care for it and didn’t read. Hughes’ was frank about it and let everyone know that it was optional. Of course once Serra heard about it he flipped out. I think Hughes did the right thing in making it optional but I still think that he should have run the idea by his fighters before whipping out the Bibles out of nowhere. I’m not going to dive deep into the whole religion debate because I respect the fact that people have different beliefs. Enough said.

It was Serra’s turn to pick the fight and he selected Matt Arroyo to take on Dorian Price.

Not sure if anyone else took note of this but Hughes made a huge mistake when he told Price, Lawler, Fiore, and company that Arroyo was a striker and that his striking was poor anyway. They were even laughing about it. In reality, Arroyo’s strength is his ground game. Interesting error on Hughes’ part.

As for the fight: They exchanged some strikes on the feet during the opening moments of the bout. Price connected flush with a jumping knee right on Arroyo’s jaw but Arroyo shook it off. Arroyo was able to take Price to the ground and then pounded on him until Price rolled to his back. Arroyo locked in a rear naked choke and Price tapped out.

Next week looks pretty crazy as everyone seems to get drunk as skunk while watching UFC 72.

White Planning January UFC Event for Montreal

UFC President Dana White has stated that the UFC is planning on holding their January event at the Bell Centre in Montreal according to R.J. Broadhead and Rogers Sportsnet.

The most interesting thing to come out of the interview between White and Broadhead was that Montreal native Georges St. Pierre most likely wouldn’t be on the card. With St. Pierre set to get a title shot against of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes title bout taking place in December, St. Pierre will most likely have to wait until at least the early spring before either Hughes or Serra would be ready to fight.

However White did say that the UFC was also planning on holding an event later next year with St. Pierre in the main event:

“We’re planning to come to Canada a lot,” said White.

I’m surprised that White was able to find an empty weekend at the Bell Centre, especially in January. Hopefully everything works out and we see the UFC heading north early next year.

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