While Zuffa has signed a wealth of talent over the past few months, they haven’t locked up every top fighter just yet, including the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter. Here’s your guide to the top ten fighters that currently aren’t under contract with Zuffa (UFC/WEC) courtesy of Scott and myself…
1. Fedor Emelianenko (26-1-0-1) – The best fighter in the world, period. He has beaten a who’s who of heavyweights from around the world and is looking pretty much unstoppable at this point. The only thing we have against him is that he doesn’t fight often enough but it’s technically not his fault anyway. Both K-1 and the UFC are vigorously attempting to sign the hottest free agent on the market right now. Old rumors had him going to the UFC while the latest set has him staying in Japan. Only time will tell where Fedor is going to end up.
2. Josh Barnett (20-5) – Probably the second biggest FA on the market, Barnett hasn’t ruled out signing with any organization. He’s an extremely talented heavyweight and a former UFC Heavyweight Champion at that. Has split a pair of fights with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. His ‘Achilles’ heel’ seems to be Mirko Cro Cop - Barnett has lost to him in three straight tries. Has the skill set to beat anyone in the world. Has said that he would love to return to the US but the guy is a legend in Japan.
3. Matt Lindland (20-5) – The one fighter that the UFC should have never let go. Lindland was set to challenge Rich Franklin for the UFC Middleweight Title until the UFC terminated his contract because of an unapproved sponsor being on his shorts. Lindland has won 5 out of 7 fights since then - his only losses have been against Quinton Jackson and Fedor who both compete in higher weight classes than “The Law”. Has said that he currently does not want to be locked up by a single organization.
4. Takanori Gomi (27-3-0-1) – Gomi was the top ranked lightweight in the world for what seemed like forever until he was submitted by both Marcus Aurelio and Nick Diaz in less than a year. His losses have come against the cream of the crop and he’s beaten just about everyone else out there. Gomi is the current PRIDE Lightweight Champion as well the winner of the PRIDE Lightweight Grand Prix in 2005. He has stated that he has no interest in leaving Japan to compete at this time and has publicly said he is interested in signing with K-1.
5. Denis Kang (27-8-1-1) – Reports have Kang signing with K-1 any day now. If he does indeed ink a deal with K-1, he is expected to take on Kazushi Sakuraba in September in what could possibly be Saku’s final fight. Kang put himself on the map by fighting his way to the finals of the PRIDE Welterweight Grand Prix, defeating Akihiro Gono, Murilo Rua, and Amar Suloev before ultimately losing a split decision to Kazuo Misaki. He is widely considered one of the most well-rounded middleweights in the world today.
St. Petersburg, Russia - The Russian Red Devils capitalized on their comrades’ support to emerge victorious from Russia’s ICE Palace Arena on Saturday, April 14th in the most anticipated pay-per-view event of the year, BodogFight: Fedor Emelianenko vs Matt Lindland, Clash of the Nations.
The star-studded mixed martial arts card lived up to its billing, with Fedor Emelianenko, the #1 ranked heavyweight in the world taking on the #1 ranked middleweight, Matt “The Law” Lindland, in the main event. In the end, the sold out crowd, which included Russian President Vladimir Putin, got what they wanted, as their beloved champion improved to 26-1 after forcing his brave American challenger to tap out in the very first round.
BodogFight announces today a mammoth card for a Superfight pay-per-view spectacular that promises to be raved about for ages. On Saturday, April 14, live from the ICE Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, “BodogFight: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Lindland, Clash of the Nations” takes place before an international audience in what will be an unforgettable event in mixed martial arts history.
Here are the full results from IFL - Houston.
- Antonio McKee def. Gabe Rivas - TKO (Knee Injury)
- Vladimir Matyushenko def. Dwayne Compton - Submission (Armbar)
- Chad Griggs def. John Marsh - TKO (Strikes)
- Savant Young def. Ed West - Decision (Unanimous)
- Matt Ver Halen def. Masaaki Izena - Decision (Unanimous)
- Ben Rothwell def. Matt Thompson - TKO
- Jay Hieron def. Victor Moreno - Submission (Rear Naked Choke)
- Benji Radach def. Ryan McGivern - TKO
- Chris Horodecki def. Bart Palaszewski - Decision (Split)
- Mike Ciesnolevicz def. Alex Schoenauer - Decision (Split)
- Matt Lindland def. Carlos Newton - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
News and Notes
- Travis Lutter failed to make weight at the weigh-ins yesterday coming in at 186.5 lbs so the fight is now a three round non-title fight.
- Matt Lindland added another solid win to his record last night when he submitted former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton.
- Tonight UFC 67: All or Nothing will take place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center and we’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’. Be sure to tune in at 10 PM EST for blow by blow coverage.
- The odds on Cro Cop vs. Sanchez are unreal. Take a look at this:
At the Mandalay Sports Book, you had to lay down US$1,000 just to make $100 on a Filipovic win. A $100 bet on Sanchez, in contrast, would win you $600.
- Hammer House member Rob Wince suffered a tragic loss on Wensday evening when he found his son dead in the basement of his house. His son accidentally killed himself by playing the ‘choking game’. Our thoughts go out to the Wince family during this tough time.
MMA on Tap: UFC 67: All or Nothing Preview
Canada.com: Cro Cop: Fighter-turned-politician makes UFC debut Saturday night in Las Vegas
Sherdog: Lindland Stops Newton
News and Notes
- The next WEC show will be March 24th at The Joint in Las Vegas, Nevada.
- PRIDE has added the following bouts to their upcoming show Pride 33: Second Coming:
* Takanori Gomi vs. Nick Diaz
* Hayato Sakurai vs. Mac Danzig
* Kazuo Misaki vs. Frank Trigg
* Kazuhiro Nakamura vs. Travis Wiuff
- Matt Lindland has confirmed through ‘The Fight Network’ that he signed a three-fight deal with BodogFight. All of the fights will take place in the heavyweight division.
- It’s looking like Tito Oritz vs. Forrest Griffin II is a strong possibility for UFC 70 in Manchester.
News and Notes
- Renato “Babalu” Sobral will make his return to the octagon at UFC 68 on March 3rd when he faces Jason Lambert. Sobral last appeared in the octagon at UFC 62 when he suffered a devastating knock out loss to the hands of the UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.
- Martin Kampmann will be fighting on the upcoming UFC 68 card, his opponent is currently unknown.
- It looks like Matt Lindland will be making his way over to BodogFight to face PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
- Last night Dana White took part in a special chat for all of the ‘UFC Fight Club’ members. Here is some interesting information that came out of the chat…
Mason: Have you ever considered having a legends type fight on a card, such as Randy vs. Bas Rutten?
Dana White: We always want to put on the fights the fans want to see. I would love to bring Bas back.
rickrock: Would you like to see Wanderlei Silva back in the octagon? Has there been any steps taken to try and sign him?
Dana White: I would love to have Silva in the UFC, it’s always my goal to get the best fighters in the world to fight for us. Hopefully we will see that fight in 2007.
Poundem: Dana, were do you see the UFC in 5 years from now?
Dana White: Poundem, I see us GLOBAL.
tootall2: Do you intend to keep bringing the better - fighters from other organizations, or is there a plan to absorb other organizations, such as Pride - and thanks for bringing excitement back to professional fighting.
Dana White: Totall, it’s my goal to acquire all the best fighters in the world and if things go my way, I will have them all by the end of year.
Poundem: What is your plan for Fedor, or do you have one? Would you like to get him in the UFC?
Dana White: Poundem, I want Fedor and everyone else in the UFC.
DrWu: If you could change one thing about the rules of fighting in the octagon, what would it be and why?
Dana White: I would add knees to the head.
dnkyntz: Could you talk about the rumors regarding Zuffa acquiring Pride?
Dana White: Obviously we are out there acquiring other MMA companies right now and if Pride is for sale, I’m interested.
Raiderbeast:Before leaving tonight, can you tell us if another big Pride fighter will show up in the UFC anytime soon?
Dana White: Count on it!!
For the folks back home, the 5-7 Fisher was going to the relatively big city of Bettendorf, Iowa to train in some sport he called mixed martial arts. He might as well have told them he was going to be the star in a high-wire trapeze act, because that probably got more recognition from mainstream America in 2002.
But fast forward to 2006, and Fisher has not only carved out a niche for himself in MMA, currently the fastest growing sport in the world, but he’s one of the featured fighters on a Spike TV fight card on January 25th and his face is plastered on the event’s poster. So when he visits family in Cashiers, things have changed a bit for him.
“They love it,” said Fisher. “They keep up with it, and when I go back home they say, ‘hey, I saw you on TV the other day,’ and it’s a big deal to them. It’s nice to know that I have fans. Before I made it on TV, I’d go back home and people would say ‘what are you doing now?’ I’d tell them and they’d go ‘Oh jeez,’ and it was kind of a joke until they saw it on TV and they saw that there were real punches and real kicks and now there’s a respect that goes along with it.”
MMAWeekly: UFC Champ Ready for Cro Cop and Couture
Both Matt Lindland and BodogFight have announced that Lindland has agreed in principle to face Pride Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko on April 6th at Bodog’s event in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Fedor was originally supposed to take on Jeff Monson at Bodog’s show in March but contract talks never went anywhere and we reported that the fight was officially cancelled yesterday.
American Top Team has stated however that Monson may still fight Fedor’s brother, Aleksander Emelianenko at the event instead.
Lindland is expected to sign an official contract with Bodog later tonight and says that he will come up from 185 lbs and weigh-in at about 210 lbs for the fight in April.
I’ll be sure to give an update whenever more information becomes available…
News and Notes
- Former UFC Welterweight Champion Carlos Newton will take on Matt Lindland in a “superfight” on the IFL fight card Feb. 2 in Houston.
- A few days ago Seth Petruzelli released a MySpace bulletin which said that his fight at UFC Fight Night 8 was off. Petruzelli recently released another bulletin saying he may still be on the card.
Petruzelli’s bulletin said “Hey guys, I still have to train and go weigh in the 25th for the UFC…my opponent injured his ankle. They are trying to find me a new fight on short notice but it doesn’t look good. So I still have to go ready to fight just in case. Thanks and I hope to be back fighting for you all soon!”
- As we reported yesterday, The Gracie Fighting Championships: Evolution event has been postponed due to unknown circumstances. This is an unfortunate turn of events as the GFC: Evolution card was looking very solid with UFC veterans Jeff Monson, Wes Sims, Nick Diaz, Renato Verissimo, and others. Hopefully the get things sorted out and find a new date for the show soon. The response so far from fighters and fans is fairly negative, here is what Randy Harris and Marco Avellan had to say on ‘The Underground’.
Marcos Avellan - “I’m obviously super bummed out. One of my biggest disapointments was for all the people who made a lot of sacrifices so that I could train for this fight. My brother and other FFA instructors picked up the slack for me and taught all my classes for the past six weeks. My wife had to deal with my temper tantrums because of the weight cutting and training - I’m the first to admit I’m a bit difficult to deal with when training full time and dieting.
And then Lloyd Irvin trained me personally for a week… and Eric “El Tigre” Castanos and Paulino Hernandez took a ton of time out of their personal schedules to train me.
So thank you to all of them, you guys did an AWESOME job getting me ready and we’ll do it again one more time when the fight is rescheduled.
In the meantime, to my students, I’m back! I miss all you guys and am looking forward to teaching some classes again!
And about the GFC, I think they are trying their best to resolve this the best they can. I used to promote shows (not nearly as big as the GFC) and it is a TOUGH business. A lot of people don’t realize some of the crazy monkey wrenches that get thrown your way as a promoter. Believe me… if anyone is suffering from this… they are taking it the WORST. I really think they did everything they could to treat the fighters A+... I genuinely believe they probably had no other choice.
So a strong recovery to all those involved with this show - fighters, spectators, and promoters.
Randy Harris - “Yes I was told postponed but as far as I am concerned it has been cancelled. I wouldn’t plan on attending it ever again. People have spent money on plane tickets and more and they are now out! BAD BAD business!”
- 01/13/07 American Bushido: “2007 Grand Prix Round 1” in McCook, IL.
- 01/13/07 Battle in the Cage VI: “Aftermath” in Denver, CO.
BodogFight, the mixed martial arts (MMA) reality television phenomenon and brainchild of digital entertainment mogul Calvin Ayre, will be the official Presenting Sponsor for “Turning Point”, a 10-bout Sportfight mega-card set for Saturday, January 6, at the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
“We are extremely excited about this opportunity to work with Randy Couture and Matt Lindland,” says Calvin Ayre, the founder of Bodog.com Entertainment who recently returned from the filming of BodogFight: St. Petersburg. “Randy is an MMA legend and role model for the sport while Matt is an Olympic silver medalist who understands the commitment required to become one of the world’s top competitors. Since combining their athletic and coaching qualities together, it’s no wonder that Team Quest is producing a distinguished list of incredible fighters.”