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.
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.
It’s a new season. It’s a new cast. We’re recapping each episode. Let’s get down to business.
What do you need to know? There are 16 welterweights fighting for one UFC contract, even though we all know they are going to get a shot anyway, provided they don’t fight on the show like Marlon Sims and Noah Thomas. The coaches for this season are current UFC Welterweight Champion Matt Serra and the former welterweight champ, Matt Hughes.
The first episode surprised me in that it jumped right into things. It didn’t focus on the fighters and the house as much compared to earlier seasons, maybe a change in strategy to get those who hate reality television and only watch for the fights to stay tuned.
One of Serra’s BJJ students, Joe Scarola happens to be on the show. Hughes joked with Scarola that he was going to pick him first if he had the chance, obviously starting the mind games. Serra won the coin toss, got the first pick, and selected his boy. Matt Hughes went ahead and picked Dan Barrera with his first pick. The teams ended up looking like this…
Team Serra: Joe Scarola, George Sotiropoulos, Matt Arroyo, John Kolosci, Ben Saunders, Roman Mitichyan, Troy Mandaloniz, Richie Hightower
Team Hughes: Dan Barrera, Mac Danzig, Tommy Speer, Billy Miles, Jared Rollins, Paul Georgieff, Dorian Price, Blake Bowman
Only two things of note happened during the course of the show.
Roman Mitichyan was forced to leave the show after fracturing his elbow during the fighter evaluations for Serra and Hughes. He was replaced by Jon Koppenhaver, who will join Team Serra. Mitichyan put up quite the fit and it’s kind of obvious that he isn’t that familiar with the way things go on in this country.
The other was the fight. Hughes showed no mercy and pairing up the experienced Mac Danzig against Serra’s protege in Scarola.
The fight started out on the feet but quickly went to the ground, exactly where Serra and Scarola wanted it to be. Danzig stayed on top and Scarola did a nice job of keeping Danzig in tight and preventing him from inflicting any damage. Scarola reversed position and wound up on top of Danzig but Danzig quickly locked in a triangle joke that forced Scarola to tap out with only seconds left in the first round.
Hughes’ plan worked like a charm. Next week looks pretty eventful as Scarola contemplates leaving the house and Serra has to “kick a bitch off the show”.
So once again, the UFC is attempting to go north of the border and put on an event in Canada.
Previous tries to book a show at the Bell Centre in April and November both failed earlier this year because of scheduling conflicts with the NHL. Yet UFC President Dana White is content to try again, quite possibly being fuled by Georges St. Pierre’s post-fight remark Saturday night, letting White know that an event in his hometown of Montreal would drive the fans crazy.
White made his intent to try again known at the post-fight press conference for UFC 74. There he stated that he would like to try and book an event in Montreal as early as February or March. He also said that the show would feature Georges St. Pierre challenging the winner of a December bout between Matt Hughes and Matt Serra for the UFC Welterweight Title.
Loretta Hunt of The Fight Network has mentioned a pretty good alternative solution for White’s Montreal arena troubles - the Colisée Pepsi, the former home of the now-defunct Quebec Nordiques:
An alternate location could be the Colisée Pepsi in Quebec City. The arena hosted the province’s other NHL team, the Quebec Nordiques, up until 1995 until they moved to Colorado. Colisée holds 15,750 spectators, not including floor seating. A popular concert location, the venue now plays host to some junior and senior hockey teams that have yet to finalize their home schedule, leaving a window of opportunity for White and company to lock in a date for 2008.
The capacity is certainly large enough to be a number that White is looking for and while it may not be the Bell Centre, it’s at least an opportunity to build a good foundation with the city of Quebec for future events.
Former UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre talks to ESPN about the mental changes that he made after losing the belt to Matt Serra at UFC 69. He also discusses his training with Greg Jackson and his strategy going into his fight against Josh Koscheck at this weekend’s UFC 74.
Earlier today UFC President Dana White held a conference call with various members of the media in order to discuss this weekend’s UFC 71 event. Many other topics were touched upon and just like our recap of the UFC 70 conference call, we’ve got everything covered…
White’s Thoughts on UFC 71’s main event: Chuck Liddell vs Quinton Jackson:
White came right out and said that he was very excited for the fight as is everyone. He said that the mentality of both fighters are going to make it an exciting fight. He said that Chuck’s striking is obviously going to give Jackson trouble but so will Jackson’s athletic ability for Liddell. White stated that style-wise, it’s a bad matchup for Liddell and that we were able to see that in the first fight between the two.
White pressed on the fact that Liddell has the opportunity in front of him to finally avenge every loss that he’s ever suffered. One of the most interesting things that White said was that Jackson usually “fights to the level of his competition”. He noted that Jackson beat Marvin Eastman but he did it in a fashion that nobody was really impressed by. White said that because Liddell is such a high-caliber fighter, Jackson’s game will be on that same level and he will look much better in this fight then when he fought Eastman at UFC 67.
White briefly touched on Liddell’s controversial segment on Good Morning Dallas a few months back where he appeared to be under the influence of something. White attributed Liddell’s state to the lifestyle that he lives due to being famous. White said that he and other UFC officials promptly took care of the matter when it arose and that everything is fine now concerning that situtation.
White Discusses Potential Signing of Mauricio Rua; Possible Addition of Wanderlei Silva:
It’s been rumored for about a week now that the UFC has signed Mauricio Rua. Well White went ahead and all but confirmed that Rua will be part of the UFC when he said that the winner of Saturday night’s Liddell-Jackson bout will then have to face a challenger that the UFC is bringing in. White also said that the challenger will be revealed during the UFC 71 broadcast.
When asked who that challenger could be, White said that it could be one of two people - Mauricio Rua and Wanderlei Silva. However White then talked into detail about Rua and how he will most likely be fighting Liddell within the next year, all but confirming that the UFC has come to terms with him. White also made the surprising announcement that the UFC “has to bring in Wanderlei Silva”. White said that the winner of Saturday’s fight could also possibly be facing Silva in their next fight as well.
White Gives an Update on PRIDE Sale:
The whole PRIDE ordeal was definitely the most asked question during the conference call but it was also the one topic that White couldn’t really give any definitive answers to. White blamed the reason behind his lack of a definite answer on his busy travel schedule - That doesn’t make any sense, I know but he said it. White assured everyone that the fans would still be able to see the marquee matchups between fighters of both organizations at some point this year.
White Talks Huerta Sports Illustrated Cover, Sanchez’s Thoughts on Retirement, Vera’s Status, and St.Pierre-Koscheck at UFC 74:
White praised Roger Huerta for making the cover of Sports Illustrated and went on to talk about how the sport of MMA is finally becoming mainstream and achieving the dream that White and the Fertitta Brothers had for it. He also made a mention of Chuck Liddell’s appearance on the cover of ESPN the Magazine.
The most shocking thing that was discussed during the press conference was White’s confession that Diego Sanchez nearly announced his retirement one day before UFC 69 because doctor’s thought that he had contracted Hepatitis C. Doctors ran multiple tests on Sanchez after that and they kept on coming up negative so they then ruled that he in fact did not have Hepatitis C and the test where he tested positive was faulty. According to White, the doctors still thought that something was wrong with Sanchez, but because they couldn’t figure it out, they let him fight anyway. The next day, Sanchez was diagnosed with a staph infection after an enormous hole developed on his leg.
White assured everyone that Brandon Vera was still with the company and will remain with the company for a long time to come. Vera is currently figuring out personal matters between him and his former manager before he starts actively fighting again. White stated that the winner of the fight between Josh Koscheck and Georges St. Pierre at UFC 74 would get the winner of the Matt Serra-Matt Hughes welterweight title bout at some point in the winter.
White Bashes the NJSAC, K-1, IFL, and Tito Ortiz:
White openly bashed the New Jersey State Athletic Commission for deciding to sanction the upcoming June bout between underground fighting legend Kimbo Slice and former heavyweight champion Ray Mercer. Despite the criticism, White mentioned that the UFC would most likely be returning to the state later this year. K-1 got just as much of White’s wrath for the strong possibility that their Dynamite!! USA show scheduled for June 2nd may be cancelled. White said that the promotion was insane for thinking that could fill up the Los Angeles Coliseum when in fact they have trouble filling up small ballrooms in Las Vegas for their kickboxing tournaments.
White’s bashing of the IFL and Tito Ortiz was pretty much the same as always: The IFL is “retarded” and Ortiz is a baby…
As Scott mentioned earlier, UFC highlights seemed like they were virtually everywhere last night and this morning.
Matt Serra’s upset win definitely turned some heads.
Here’s the SportsCenter highlight from ESPN 360:
Last night fans witnessed one of the biggest upsets ever as ‘The Ultimate Fighter 4’ winner Matt Serra defeated Georges St. Pierre to win the UFC welterweight title. During the post-fight press conference Dana White stated that Serra’s first title defense would likely come against former champion Matt Hughes.
During the event Dana White announced the signing of heavyweight ace Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira to a two-year contract.
The UFC gained a great deal of exposure last night as highlights of UFC 69: Shootout could be seen on ESPN, TSN, Rogers Sportsnet and many other major television stations across the country.
TATAME is reporting that undefeated light heavyweight Thiago Silva will make his UFC debut May 26th at UFC 71. Silva (9-0) is the under 93kg Fury FC Grand Prix Champion. Training with Chute Boxe, Silva has showcased excellent striking ending 7 of his 9 fights by knock out.
TATAME is also reporting Alexandre Franca “Pequeno” Nogueira has received an offer from the UFC. Pequeno is 12-4-2 with the majority of his victories coming by submission.
UFC on Spike TV:
Tuesday, April 10th: UFC Unleashed 9 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: The Ultimate Fighter 5 10 PM EST
Thursday, April 12th: Countdown to Dana vs Tito 11 PM EST
Friday, April 13th: Countdown to Tito vs Dana Replay 12 AM EST
Tonight we will be going live at 10 PM EST, covering UFC 69: Shootout with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave comments throughout the night…
Check out our official predictions as well: UFC 69: Shootout Predictions
UFC 69: Shootout
Main Card Bouts:
Georges St. Pierre vs. Matt Serra
Diego Sanchez vs. Josh Koscheck
Roger Huerta vs. Leonard Garcia
Mike Swick vs. Yushin Okami
Kendall Grove vs. Alan Belcher
Marcus Davis vs. Pete Spratt
Thales Leites vs. Pete Sell
Luke Cummo vs. Josh Haynes
Heath Herring vs. Brad Imes
Also check back at 3 AM EST as we’ll be covering PRIDE 34: Kamikaze.
News and Notes
- There’s not much in the form of MMA news this morning but there certainly is concerning this site…
- We will be live blogging UFC 69: Shootout starting at 10 PM EST. We also will be live blogging PRIDE 34: Kamikaze as well at 3:00 AM EST. Grab some energy drinks and be sure to stay with us for a huge night of MMA action.
- PRIDE will be broadcasting PRIDE 34: Kamikaze tonight for the first time ever live from Japan. The event will start at 3:00 AM EST and is available on PPV.
- Be sure to check back later today for our predictions on both events…
- Our already popular MMA on Tap Top 10 will be updated at some point next week with the results from this weekend…
- For those IFL fans out there, the promotion is holding an event in Moline, Illinois tonight. The Quad City Silverbacks and Nevada Lions will square off. The other team matchup will be the Seattle Tiger Sharks vs Chicago Red Bears. The event’s superfight will be Jeff Curran vs Kevin English.
- I don’t want to be a hater but part of me is kind of glad this is DSE’s last show. At least Zuffa will have things organized better…
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