Middleweight

CKA: Feb 15, 2007

News and Notes

- WEC veteran Cole Escovedo is now suffering from paralysis from the waist down due to a staph infection…

According to a post by Laura Escovedo on MMA.tv and confirmed by Reed Harris of the WEC, Cole contracted a staph infection back in December that went unchecked because he just thought it was a spider bite or something of that sort. By the time he was diagnosed in January with staph, the infection made its way into his spine and paralyzed him from the waist down.

Cole was hospitalized and underwent an operation to alleviate some of the fluid that had built up on his spine due to the infection. He has since been released from the hospital and is now at home with a walker and is set to begin therapy.

At the time of publication, it was unknown whether Cole’s paralysis is a permanent or, hopefully, a temporary condition.

- More news on the whole Kurt Angle situation and who he might be signing with:

With a lighter schedule working with rival promotion Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) and a recovery from numerous health issues, 38-year-old Angle says he’s poised to enter the MMA world in 2007 with a number of suitors courting the former Olympian. At the top of the list, says Angle, is the newly formed Elite XC, which enjoyed a strong debut this past Saturday on the premium channel SHOWTIME.

“It looks like I’m going to sign with them (Elite XC) but then all of a sudden Dana White comes along last week and calls Dixie Carter (President of TNA) and says ‘Why is Kurt going to Showtime? I want to talk to him; he should be fighting for Spike, for UFC.”

Pro Elite’s Gary Shaw issued a “no comment” this morning regarding any contact they’ve had with Angle. Dixie Carter, President of TNA, who would not comment on Angle’s negotiations with any company but did confirm that the wrestler’s TNA contract allows him to do MMA, but only if TNA agrees it is best for him. Inquiries to the UFC were unanswered; while Angle says he’d need at least six to eight months of solid training before entering the cage or ring for a mixed martial arts debut.

“I can’t go in there with just my amateur wrestling skills,” said Angle. “I need to learn every facet of fighting, I need to learn how to protect myself with striking, submission holds, some jiu-jitsu and how to strike a bit better.”

- KOTC Canada’s next event, Capital Chaos, will take place on March 28th at the Robert Guertin Arena in Hull, Quebec…

- Elite XC Head Gary Shaw stated that a rematch between Renzo Gracie and Frank Shamrock will most likely take place this fall.

- Our rumors section has also been updated…

Two Fights Added to UFC 69

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced two more fights set to take place at UFC 69: Shootout.

Kendall Grove will clash with Alan Belcher in a middleweight showdown. Grove is currently 2-0 in the UFC with victories over Ed Herman and Chris Price. Grove’s opponent, Alan Belcher, is 1-1 in the UFC with a victory over Jorge Santiago and a loss to middleweight contender Yushin Okami.

Also on the card will welterweight bout between Marcus Davis and Pete Spratt. Pete Spratt is currently 3-2 in the UFC with victories over Zach Light, Robbie Lawler and Jeremy Jackson. Marcus Davis is 2-1 in the UFC with his latest victory coming over Shonie Carter at UFC Fight Night 7.

UFC 67: All or Nothing Preview

Here is a preview John and I put together for UFC 67: All or Nothing.

Main Card Bouts:
Mirko Cro Cop vs. Eddie Sanchez
Anderson Silva vs. Travis Lutter
Quinton Jackson vs. Marvin Eastman
Roger Huerta vs. John Halverson
Scott Smith vs. Patrick Cote

Preliminary Bouts:
Ryoto Machida vs. Sam Hoger
Tyson Griffin vs. Frank Edgar
Jorge Rivera vs. Terry Martin
Dustin Hazelett vs. Diego Saraiva

Also be sure to tune in at 10 PM EST as we’ll be doing one of our patented ‘Live Blogs’ for the PPV.

Continue reading "UFC 67: All or Nothing Preview"

CKA: Jan 29, 2007

News and Notes

- Icon Sport has announced that it has signed Renato Verissimo to a multi-fight deal. Verissimo will make his debut at the organization’s February 9th event…

- Jason “Mayhem” Miller is rumored to be on the next WEC card which will take place on March 24th.

- Team Quest member Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou has signed a multi-fight contract with Pride. He will make his debut at Pride 33 where he will take on Antonio Rogerio Nogueira…

Recommended Reads

Sherdog: Monday Morning Reverie - Who Woulda Thunk It?

CKA: Jan 24, 2007

News and Notes

- Rage in the Cage has announced the finalized card for their event this Saturday night…

Rich Beecroft vs Gilbert Aldana
Lars Haven vs Bryan Pardoe
David Valadez vs Billy Terry
Jason Harris vs Jeff Horlacher
William Diaz vs Joe Cronin
Jeremy Floyd vs Ray Robinson
Robert Meehan vs Danny Martinez
Lyle Tenfingers vs George Hartman
Jason Parent vs Mike Mada
Tomas Rodriguez vs Joe Martin
Omur Corr vs Mike Peterson
Nick Smith vs Austin Pascucci
Doug Moore vs Derithe Harper
Ty Gilstrap vs Adam Alband

- Duane Ludwig till take on Shinya Kamuzawa at Ring of Fire 28: Evolution on February 28th…

- Benji Radach is the newest member of the IFL’s Los Angeles Anacondas. He will be fighting at middleweight for coach Bas Rutten.

- Shooto World Welterweight Champion Tatsuyva Kawajiri relinquished his title yesterday after announcing he would be able to defend his belt at the next Shooto event on February 17th because of a broken left thumb.

Recommended Reads

Miami Herald: Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Rashad Evans to main event local UFC event
Sherdog: Clanging Cajones

Lindland Speaks Out About Possible UFC Return

In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, Matt Lindland was asked about his discussions with the UFC on possibly coming back and challenging Anderson Silva for the UFC Middleweight title.

What was his answer? I don’t think it’s something that Dana White will be happy to hear…

“There’s a lot on the horizon…I’m going to be the most active free agent out there. I’m not going to sign exclusive deals with any one organization, I just think that’s a bad move right now for any fighter that wants to move his career ahead.

I think you’ve got to have the flexibility to be able to fight in different organizations, and any organization that wants to lock you down for multiple agreements is only looking out for their best interests, and as a fighter you’ve got to look for your own best interests. You’ve got to be able to fight where the fights are. I’ll fight anybody and I’ll fight in any organization that doesn’t want to force somebody to sign long-term contracts.

Yes, we did talk to the UFC about the possibility of me fighting for them as well, and right now it’s not looking like that’s going to come to fruition, but it’s something that I’m definitely interested in exploring in the future months, or maybe even next year, who knows?”

With all of the other middleweight contenders in the UFC booked for fights later this year already, does this mean that Mike Swick is the number one contender?

While browsing the web, I came across an interesting post on a message board. The user was saying that the UFC is wrong in trying to bring in Lindland and that they are continuing to not go after foreign talent. He also said that they were trying to get rid of Silva.

I don’t think that’s the case…

If you haven’t noticed, the amount of foreign talent in the UFC is more than ever before. Granted it isn’t big name international talent like Pride and other organizations sport, it’s foreign guys nonetheless. Bottom line, why don’t they go after the big guys?

Has it occurred to anyone that they might want to develop their own guys inside their own organization? It’s exactly what Pride has done with Fedor, Wanderlei, Barnett, Shogun - They will forever be aligned with the company, bringing the organization a huge amount of recognition for years to come.

In my opinion, the UFC is making a good decision in the long run by signing rising, younger stars and developing them rather than going out and signing every big-name free agent out there.

As for the UFC talking with Lindland about returning - First off they should have never let him go in the first place. He was the number one contender for the title and they let him slip away by refusing to talk about a new contract - that’s why Nate Quarry fought Rich Franklin at UFC 56 - Lindland was supposed to be Franklin’s opponent, not Quarry who was probably the last person who deserved a title shot at that point.

The UFC isn’t trying to get rid of Silva, they are just trying to not make the same mistake twice. Swick isn’t ready for Silva, Dana already knows that, that’s why he wants him to fight at least one more time before he gets a title shot.

However with Lindland currently out of the picture, it seems like Silva’s next fight might be against just another Quarry…

Leben-MacDonald at UFC 66?

Sherdog is reporting that Chris Leben will take on Jason MacDonald at UFC 66 on December 30th…

For more analysis on this potential matchup, let’s bring in my sidekick, Scott White.

Scott, what are your thoughts on this matchup between two extremely talented middleweights?

The way i look at it is, Leben will have the advantage standing and Macdonald will have the edge on the ground. Macdonald can easily win the fight, its just going to come down to who imposes their will and excuses their game plan the best. If MacDonald can withstand Leben’s strikes and take the fight to the canvas he’ll be fine. I wouldn’t be suprised to see this one go to a decision. I don’t know much about MacDonald’s striking ability but if he is technically sound he may be able to stand with Leben much like Santiago did before Leben caught him throwing a lazy shot. MacDonald is a very big middleweight as well so he should have the strength advantage.

Shamrock’s Final Hurrah; Ortiz’s Road Block

Tomorrow night’s UFC Fight Night will mean different things to different fighters. Will tomorrow night be Ken Shamrock’s last fight, win or lose? Is Shamrock just an easy obstacle for Ortiz to hurdle over right before his December rematch with Chuck Liddell for the UFC Light-Heavyweight title.

Kendall Grove, Matt Hamill, and Ed Herman are all TUF3 guys who will be returning to the octagon against MMA veterans. Rising UFC welterweight contenders Thiago Alves and John Alessio will face off on the undercard as well.

Another fight that intrigues me - Nathan Marquardt fighting for the first since UFC 58 against Crafton Wallace. Why Marquardt hasn’t fought since March is a mystery to me. After his victory over Joe Doerksen, Marquardt was considered one of the top contenders to Rich Franklin’s middleweight belt. Since then, a handful of middleweights have gained ground and Marquardt isn’t considered in the same breath as Mike Swick, David Loiseau, and Chris Leben anymore.

Some media coverage for the readers…

UFC: Tito Ortiz - Shamrock First, Liddell Later
Miami Herald: Shamrock’s fighting mad; Raw hatred fuels Ortiz, Shamrock
Doghouse Boxing: Tito Ortiz speaks; disses Ken Shamrock
Florida Sun-Sentinel - The ultimate rematch
Tampa Tribune: UFC’s Ortiz Still Man Of People
Houston Chronicle: Ortiz, Shamrock ready for final chapter
Sherdog: Ken Shamrock Training Pictures
UFC: John Alessio - Just Getting Started
Boston Herald: Alessio, Alves to meet on October 10th
MMA Weekly - Ed Herman Ready for UFC Fight Night

Major Strikeforce 3 Card Changes

There are some pretty major changes to the card that have to be announced…

Wesley “Cabbage” Correira has taken himself off of the card due to medical reasons. The fighter he was scheduled to face, Ruben Villareal was dropped off of the card for reasons that aren’t known at this time. It is speculated that they were unable to find an opponent for him at the last minute.

Bobby Southworth will also be unable to compete at the event due to an injury that he suffered during a recent training session. Taking his place against Anthony Ruiz, will be Trevor Prangley.

Prangley was scheduled to fight Bryan Pardoe but that bout is now cancelled…

Penn Talks St. Pierre, Pulver

In case anyone is wondering, BJ Penn is already on weight for his upcoming fight against Matt Hughes on September 23rd…

“I’m in good shape. I’m at 169 pounds right now,” said Penn regarding his conditioning.

Penn was on the radio this week discussing how the fight with Hughes came about, the injury to Georges St. Pierre, and possibly fighting Jens Pulver once again. He gave plenty of interesting answers to say the least.

When asked how the match came about, Penn said, “I heard that St. Pierre might be hurt. We told Joe Silva to let us know if St. Pierre is hurt just in case you need a replacement. He [Silva] called a couple days later and said it’s on.”

With the unexpected injury, St. Pierre’s loss became BJ’s gain. “George is a great guy, no disrespect to him,” said Penn. “He’s such a tough guy. He worked his way back to the title fight. It is sad that he didn’t get the title fight… I think he made the right choice. It’s good to be at your best to come in for a fight of that caliber.”

I’m guessing that he already knew he would be the one to get the call if Georges was really hurt, which he happened to be. I know that some have said that St. Pierre should have rested some more and given training shot but BJ is right about this - A fighter wants to be 100% for this kind of opportunity.

St. Pierre had a pretty tough road back to the title compared to some fighters that lost the first time around and only won 1 or 2 fights before they got another shot - Frank Trigg and Carlos Newton are perfect examples.

Penn was also asked if he would give St. Pierre a title shot if he was to win the title from Hughes at UFC 63. His answer: an emphatic yes…

So what about Jens Pulver?

When asked about possibly dropping down in weight to face Jens Pulver in a rematch (Pulver beat Penn in 2002) , BJ responded, “Of course. In a second… I’d do it in a second. I’ll do it anytime. Let’s do it. I’m ready to go.”

“I want to be known as a champion,” added Penn. “I don’t want to be known as a great fighter. I want to be known as the best.”

Very interesting. If BJ is victorious over Hughes, I wonder if he will go with his original plan to win the belts at welterweight, lightweight, and middleweight. That would be awesome to watch.

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