The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that middleweight contender Ivan Salaverry will make his long awaited return to the octagon May 26th when he takes on Terry Martin at UFC 71.
Ivan Salaverry got the axe from the UFC in 2005 after his lackluster performance against Nate Marquardt at UFC Fight Night live on Spike TV. Salaverry is 3-2 in the UFC with victories over Andrei Semenov, Tony Fryklund and Joe Riggs.
Salaverry’s opponent, Terry Martin, is coming into the octagon on a three fight winning streak. Martin is 1-2 in the UFC with a victory over Jorge Rivera and losses to Jason Lambert and James Irvin.
Icon Sport has officially announced that their new middleweight champion Robbie Lawler will defend his belt June 30th when he faces tough Hawaiian brawler Kala Kolohe Hose.
Icon Sport MW Champion Robbie Lawler sports a MMA record of 14-4 and a Icon Sport record of 3-1. Lawler recently won back his middleweight title when he knocked out UFC and PRIDE veteran Frank Trigg late in their five round title fight.
Kala Kolohe Hose sports a MMA record of 3-1. Hose lost his first MMA bout to IFL veteran Reese Andy but since then he has gone 3-0 with all of his fights ending by KO.
Icon Sport: Fearless
Tentative fight card:
Robbie Lawler vs. Kala Kolohe Hose
Renato Verissimo vs. TBD
Mark Oshiro vs. Tony Rodriguez
Bronsen Pieper vs. Sadhu Bott
Poai Suganuma vs. Richard Desforge
Jeremy Williams vs. Mike Malone
Mark Kurano vs. Jose Diaz
Tyson Nam vs. Devon Chong
Kaleo Kwan vs. Jeremy Castro
Wayne Parrin vs. TBD
Keoni Bryant vs. TBD
UFC President Dana White and heavyweight title contender Mirko Cro Cop held a conference call with the media earlier today discussing this weekend’s event. Many topics were covered over the hour session including Cro Cop’s thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga, the immediate plans for PRIDE’s future, the contract status of Mauricio Rua and Fedor Emelianenko, and much more.
Let’s just say that we have everything covered. Read and enjoy…
Cro Cop’s Thoughts on Gabriel Gonzaga:
Cro Cop was very straight forward in answering questions about Gonzaga. He stated that Gonzaga will not have an answer for everything that Cro Cop is going to bring to the Octagon on Saturday. He said that he is at full health for this weekend. He will not being using PRIDE’s theme music when he walks to the Octagon. Instead he will use his usual “Wild Boyz” song.
Cro Cop also said that he isn’t worried about Gonzaga’s ground skills and that it is his all-around game that presents the biggest problems matchup-wise:
“I have trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lot, have experts in my gym. I feel comfortable even on the ground. I am aware he is a jiu-jitsu world champion, but I am pretty versed in ground fighting now. Of course my basis is stand up, but even if we go to the ground, I am not scared.
Gonzaga is a solid, good fighter. He is a tough guy. He won’t hesitate to fight toe to toe. He is a first class fighter. I will try to keep it in a stand up position. I don’t want to underestimate him” stated Cro Cop.
Cro Cop on Couture, Liddell, Fedor, and Big Nog:
Cro Cop said that he would love for to have a rematch with Fedor Emelianenko in the near future but he is currently focused on his fight with Gonzaga and then winning the UFC Heavyweight Title before that can happen. He said that Randy Couture’s age will not be a factor if and when they fight because he has already shown that it hasn’t been a factor in past fights. He stated that while he doesn’t have any preference on his opponents in the UFC, he has a feeling that he will be fighting Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira very soon.
Cro Cop also made it known that he will be unable to cut enough weight to make it down to the 205 lb weight class, meaning that if a dream match with Chuck Liddell is to happen, that Liddell will have to come up to heavyweight and fight…
“I have no space to go down, maybe if I chop off my hand or something. I definitely can’t go down” said Cro Cop.
Dana White on Big Nog, Fedor, Wanderlei Silva, Sakuraba, and Liddell:
White stated that Nogueira was signed by the UFC as a free agent and that talks began about a month ago. He also stated that there is currently no timetable for his first fight nor any ideas on who his first opponent may be.
White said that at the time he originally made that Wanderlei Silva-Chuck Liddell announcement for UFC 65, it was going to be the biggest fight in MMA history. He now says that it isn’t the case until Silva wins a few more fights to make up for his KO losses to Cro Cop and Dan Henderson. Silva currently has four fights left on his six fight contract to do so.
According to White, the UFC is currently trying to figure out the status of Fedor. Fedor’s contract isn’t exclusive to PRIDE and that Zuffa and PRIDE FC Worldwide will not accept non-exclusive contracts for their fighters. White did say however that Fedor is under contract to the company and that if another rival promotion tried to sign him, he would slap them with an injunction immediately.
Despite the heavy rumors that Mauricio Rua has signed a contract that will allow him two fights in PRIDE and two fights in the UFC, White says that the rumors are not true. Also Kazushi Sakuraba is not under contract with PRIDE and White isn’t aware of the reasoning behind him being brought out to address the crowd during PRIDE 34.
White Talks About Changes to PRIDE and the Lightweight Grand-Prix:
White has confirmed once again that PRIDE will be changing to the unified rules of mixed martial arts (the rule set that the UFC uses) as well as the same round structures and weight classes. PRIDE will continue to use a ring instead of a cage. Also fight cards will be announced weeks in advance of an event, just like the UFC does now. Does everyone recall the PRIDE 34 mess?
PRIDE will not have a super heavyweight division and the crazy matchups the promotion used to hold including Butterbean, Giant Silva, and Bob Sapp will not take place anymore. White stated that all employees currently with PRIDE will keep their jobs with the exception of Gary Millen and Frank Trigg. They have been fired and will be replaced with a completely new announce team.
White said that it is still undecided in terms of whether or not the Lightweight Grand-Prix will take place at 155 lbs or 170 lbs. White denied all rumors about Diego Sanchez and Matt Hughes taking place in the tourney as there will not be any UFC fighters participating:
“There will be no UFC fighters in the tournament. The UFC and PRIDE are completely separate companies. You won’t see UFC vs PRIDE until we do the big event” said White.
White Discusses UFC’s status with HBO and ESPN:
The UFC will debut on HBO as soon as this summer according to White. The deal actually isn’t complete but is in the final stages of being finalized. White didn’t say much about things but did mention that the HBO will be doing their own production and announcing of events rather than having the UFC do things along with Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan. White said that it wasn’t easy for him to agree to that…
The UFC will still broadcast shows on HBO, Spike TV, and PPV. Spike TV will be made up mostly of guys from The Ultimate Fighter television shows. Shows on HBO will be mixture of TUF guys, international stars, and other UFC fighters. PPV shows would then have the best of the best.
ESPN will now be covering the UFC on a regular basis according to White. The coverage will include both weigh-in and fight results…
White Talks About Possible UFC Fights and Events in the Near Future:
White said that UFC 72 will either be on PPV or Spike TV. He mentioned Chicago, Washington DC, Boston, Atlanta, and Philadelphia all as possible sites that may hold future UFC events. Florida will also hold another UFC event in the near future according to White.
White said that the “Inside the UFC” TV show wasn’t scrapped and that the company is currently working on a date to bring the show back to the air.
White announced a slew of possible matchups - If Andrei Arlovski defeats Fabricio Werdum on Saturday, he will most likely fight the winner of Mirko Cro Cop and Randy Couture should Cro Cop get poast Gabriel Gonzaga as well. Sean Sherk will defend his lightweight title in Sacramento, California against Hermes Franca. Tito Ortiz vs Rashad Evans and Anderson Silva vs Nate Marquardt will also take place on that card. Georges St. Pierre will most likely be fighting next in August against an opponent that has yet to be determined…
White on Tito Ortiz:
White’s comments were short and sweet when asked about the current situation between himself and Tito Ortiz:
“Tito is living in a fucking bubble right now” said White “You saw what happened. I showed up and he didn’t. He’s not afraid of me, but he has people around him telling him it was a bad idea. He is out there making himself look like a jackass. He should shut his mouth and worry about Rashad Evans.”
NEW YORK - After months of deliberations, one of the most anticipated showdowns in mixed martial arts history will finally come to fruition when former UFC middleweight champion, Frank Shamrock, battles fellow knockout artist and consummate showman, “The New York Badass” Phil Baroni, for the vacant Strikeforce world middleweight (185 lb. limit) championship during the main event of “Judgment Day,” a live, Pay Per View televised Strikeforce-EliteXC cage fight card that will take place at San Jose, California’s HP Pavilion on Friday, June 22nd.
Also returning to action during “Judgment Day,” undefeated world San Shou kickboxing champion and middleweight mixed martial arts contender, Cung Le, will battle UFC veteran, Tony “The Freak” Fryklund. Strikeforce’s latest recruit, 2003 K-1 North America tournament champion, Carter Williams, will face the hard-hitting Paul Buentello in a heavyweight matchup. Off the heels of his stunning knockout victory over KJ Noons, Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett, will take on Victor “Joe Boxer” Valenzuela.
Joey Villasenor and former Pride star, Murilo “Ninja” Rua, will lock horns with the vacant EliteXC middleweight title at stake. On February 10th, Villasenor pulled off a stunning upset by outmaneuvering and, eventually earning a unanimous judges’ decision over David “The Crow” Loiseau. Villasenor’s career is highlighted by a 15 fight winning streak that he put together between December 2002 and April 2006. A member of the famed Chute Boxe fight squad in Brazil, Rua was last seen in action on September 30th when he submitted British kickboxer, Mark Weir, with an arm triangle choke in the second round of their meeting.
Sherdog is reporting that Rich Franklin will meet Martin Kampmann in the main event of the UFC’s inaugural event in Ireland on June 16th.
It is also being reported that Dana White will officially announce the contest and the event during tonight’s UFC Fight Night 9 on Spike TV. On top of that, a possible bout between Forrest Griffin and Hector Ramirez is being rumored.
MMA Weekly’s rumor page also has Tyson Griffin vs Clay Guida as a possible matchup for the event as well…
MMA Weekly is reporting that Dean Lister has undergone surgery on a torn biceps muscle in his right arm and will be out of action for 3-4 months.
Lister tore the muscle during a training session last week and went into surgery the very next day to have the injury repaired. The next few weeks will consist of Lister’s arm being in a sling. A rehabiliation program will follow after that.
Because of the injury, Lister will be able to compete in this year’s ADCC. Lister stated that he believes he will be healed and ready to make his return to the UFC later this summer.
Here are results from the IFL weigh-ins that took place yesterday.
Clint Coronel (155) vs. Connor Huen (155)
Zack George (155) vs. Danny Suarez (155)
Condors (So. Calif.) vs. Sabres (Tokyo)
Adam Lynn (158 lbs) vs. Savant Young (155.5 lbs)
Rodrigo Ruas (170.5) vs. Antonio McKee (170)
Jeremy Williams (185) vs. Kazuhiro Hamanaka (184)
Justin Levens (197) vs. Vladmir Matyushenko (204.5)
Antoine Jaoude (235.5) vs. Wayne Cole (221)
Razorclaws (San Jose) vs. Anacondas (Los Angeles)
Brian Ebersole (202 lbs) vs. Alex Schoenauer (204.5 lbs)
Brian Foster (184) vs. Benji Radach (185)
Josh Odom (155) vs. Chris Horodecki (154)
Donnie Liles (170) vs. Jay Hieron (170.5)
Dan Christison (263) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (232)
The Honolulu Advertiser is reporting that Frank Trigg, fresh off a victory over Kazuo Misaki at Pride 33 this past weekend, will defend his ICON Sport Middleweight Title against Robbie Lawler at the promotion’s event - ICON Sport: Epic on March 31st.
The event is said to be taking place at the Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii.
Kazushi Sakuraba will be fighting Jurij Kiselov at K-1’s next Heros show on March 12th.
K-1 also announced two additional bouts, bringing the complete card thus far to this:
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Jurij Kiselov
Vitor Riberio vs Ryuki Ueyama
Caol Uno vs Ali Ibrahim
Kazuyki Miyata vs Kultar Gill
Melvin Manhoef vs Yoshiki Takahashi
Yoshihisa Yamamoto vs Katsuyori Shibata
Hiroyuki Takaya vs Andre Dida
David Loiseau will be heading to New Mexico in the next few weeks to begin training with renowned trainer Greg Jackson apparently.
Loiseau stated that he and Jackson both approached each other after his loss to Joey Villasenor and agreed to start working together. Both Loiseau and Jackson are very excited to be working with each other:
“I think Greg Jackson is a genius when it comes to MMA,” said the 27-year-old Loiseau. “It’s all about the chemistry, the fighter-trainer thing. With the changes I want to make, I think Jackson is man to bring me to the top.”
“It’s gonna be a ‘give and take’ relationship for sure,” said Jackson. “I think Dave’s got a lot of potential and I look forward to working with him.”
Working with Jackson also means that Loiseau and possibly his good friend UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre will be training along side his opponent from last weekend, Villasenor, as well as current UFC title contenders Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, and Nate Marquardt…
“He [Jackson] has an army of great fighters and I am excited about joining the camp,” said Loiseau. “Every time Georges came back he would have so many great things to say about them.”
“I have so much to share with them technique-wise,” Loiseau agreed. “I’m not one to keep it to myself and I am definitely open to new lessons. The more you share the better you become.”
Looking at the stable of fighters currently training under Jackson and the success that they are having, he must definitely be doing something right…
News and Notes
- Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic will be facing Gabriel Gonzaga at UFC 70 in Manchester, England.
- ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ veterans Chris Leben and Kalib Starnes will clash in the octagon at some point in May.
- UFCJunkie.com is reporting that Team Jackson fighter Nathan Marquardt has been granted at title shot at UFC 72.
- In a recent article on Sherdog.com, Josh Gross reported that Brandon Vera’s final UFC fight will come against heavyweight prospect Jake O’Brien.
I do have it on good authority, though, that Vera will fight Jake O’Brien. All signs point to the UFC doing anything it can to leave a black mark on Vera as he appears headed in another direction.
DEEP: 28th Impact - 02/16/07
ROF 28: Evolution - 02/16/07
NAAFS: The Midwest Combat Challenge 2 - 02/17/07
CFC III: Combat Fighting Championship III - 02/17/07
GMC: Cage Force 2 - 02/17/07
Shooto: Professional Shoot 2007 - 02/17/07