Brock Lesnar. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
It’s only been two days since the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s debut show in Minnesota and the after-effects of the event are already being hotly-discussed around the MMA world. While the show may not have delivered in terms of brutal and quick stoppages, each fight that took place was filled with technical exchanges and exciting moments. There wasn’t much more the hardcore fan could ask for.
However the results of the bouts, primarily those that took place on the televised main card, have left questions in terms of the futures of some fighters. Will Georges St. Pierre actually rematch B.J. Penn later this year? What’s next for Brock Lesnar, Kenny Florian, and Roger Huerta? Here’s my thoughts on the answers to those…
Will St. Pierre and Penn fight before the end of the year?
Yes. Without a doubt. It’s a fight that even UFC President Dana White has been going crazy about even before St. Pierre fought and defeated Jon Fitch this past weekend. We all know Penn is stubborn when it comes to his goals and it seems like his dream to become a multi-division champion won’t be leaving him anytime soon. St. Pierre is currently at the top of his game in every aspect, especially mentally, meaning that he won’t be turning down any kind of fight at the moment.
Showtime posted a video to their Youtube channel of highlights from June 14th EliteXC: Return of the King.
It’s a short video, not an in-depth recap, but if you’re wondering whether or not the mess at the end of the show made the cut: yup, there’s a snippet of that in there too.
Nate and Nick Diaz. Photo courtesy of ProElite.com
In terms of the fights that took place last night at EliteXC’s “Return of the King” show in Hawaii, the event was a success. Just about every fight on the card was filled with action from start to finish and each of the televised bouts had explosive and definitive endings, especially the main event, which saw lightweight champion K.J. Noons successfully make his first title defense by quickly stopping former training partner Yves Edwards in the first round.
However morally and ethically, the event was an epic failure.
The biggest reason was what happened after Noons had his EliteXC championship gold wrapped around his waist for a second time. In an attempt to hype a potential rematch between Noons and Nick Diaz, whom Noons defeated last November, EliteXC officials brought Diaz into the cage, his younger brother Nate, a current UFC lightweight, in tow.
Diaz, still suited up in fight gear from his bout against Muhsin Corbbrey earlier in the night, basically told Noons to “man up” after the champion’s hometown crowd disapproved of a second bout between the two when asked by Noons.
“Don’t be scared, homie,” Diaz said. He followed up by flipping Noons the middle finger while the younger Diaz opted to exchange words with Noons’ father, Karl Sr.
K.J. Noons. Photo by Esther Lin/ProElite.
The King’s return was a good one.
Fighting in his home state of Hawaii for the first time under the Elite Xtreme Combat banner, K.J. Noons successfully defended his EliteXC lightweight title for the first time, scoring a quick and brutal first-round stoppage of longtime veteran Yves Edwards in the main event of Saturday night’s “Return of the King” event.
Noons and Edwards wasted no time, quickly meeting in the center of the cage to exchange punches right from the opening bell. Although Edwards stunned Noons at one point, the fast-paced exchange on the feet suddenly came to a halt when Noons caught Edwards with a short right hand that sat him down on the canvas. Noons pounced on Edwards and unleashed a furious barrage of unanswered punches and elbows that forced referee Mario Yamasaki to step in and save Edwards.
“Yves caught me, rocked me,” Noons said after the fight. “But once I knocked him down I knew I had to go in and finish it.’’
Noons post-fight celebration was marred by the entrance of Nick Diaz, still suited up in fight gear from his bout against Muhsin Corbbrey earlier in the night, along with his younger brother and current UFC lightweight Nate Diaz, into the cage. In an attempt to hype a potential rematch between the two, the younger Diaz opted to exchange words with Noons’ father, Karl Sr.
The words soon escalated to threats and before long the elder Noons and the Diaz brothers grabbed one another, forcing ringside officials, color commentator Bill Goldberg, and everyone else in the cage to jump in and prevent an all-out brawl. The Diaz brothers quickly jolted from the cage, holding their trademark middle fingers high in the air while walking backstage.
Nate Diaz. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Miletich Fighting Systems product Josh Neer will return to action against rising star Nate Diaz at the yet-to-be-announced UFC Fight Night 14 on September 17th, which will likely precede the debut of the upcoming eighth season of “The Ultimate Fighter” on Spike TV.
Diaz’s camp confirmed the previously rumored bout through their official website, graciefighter.com earlier today.
After winning the fifth season of “The Ultimate Fighter”, Diaz has gone on to win all four of his bouts inside the confines of the UFC, most recently overcoming a tough first-round to submit skilled grappler Kurt Pellegrino at UFC Fight Night 13 in April.
Neer returned to the UFC in April after taking a hiatus to fight in smaller shows and earned an unanimous decision over longtime veteran and American Top Team mainstay Din Thomas at UFC Fight Night 13. It was Neer’s first UFC win since he upset Joe Stevenson at Ultimate Fight Night 4 in April 2006.
According to the report, Diaz’s fight against Neer may serve as the main or co-main event of the show. Additional rumored fights on the card include Houston Alexander vs. Eric Schafer, Tamden McCrory vs. Luke Cummo, and Alan Belcher vs. Ed Herman as well as Mac Danzig vs. Clay Guida, which could be moved from it’s current slot at UFC 87: Seek and Destroy according to our friends at MMA Junkie.
Kenny Florian throws a knee at Joe Lauzon. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The ‘Battle of Boston’ went in Kenny Florian’s favor last night as he relentlessly pressured fellow Massachusetts native Joe Lauzon before ultimately stopping his foe with an onslaught of unanswered strikes during the latest edition of UFC Fight Night at the at the Broomfield Events Center in Denver, Colorado.
What originally was booked as a friendly matchup between two lightweight contenders slowly evolved into a heated exchange of pre-fight trash talking. The tension between the two was evident from the start of the fight as an intense staredown changed into a quick exchange of punches.
Lauzon quickly down Florian down in the first minute. An unorthodox attempt by Florian to use elbows from the bottom was foiled by referee Herb Dean after one of the blows cut the back of Lauzon’s head open. Florian then used solid submission defense to escape knee bar and heel hook attempts before eventually closing out the round delivering strikes from the top position.
Florian turned up the heat at the start of the second round. A swift body kick led to Florian scoring a takedown and transitioning to half-guard. The veteran of the inaugural season of “The Ultimate Fighter” then rained down unanswered punches and elbows on Lauzon for nearly two full minutes. Despite a good job of covering up and limiting damage, Dean decided that Lauzon had enough, moving Florian even closer to another shot at the lightweight title that was once in his reach.
“Joe’s a great competitor and I knew it was gonna be a tough fight,” Florian said after the bout. “That’s what I wanted.”
As I’m sure regular visitors to this site have noticed, we haven’t had many updates since Saturday afternoon. A combination of David moving, others not being around, and myself coming down with the flu attributed to that. However fear not as we’re back in business. So here’s us playing catch-up once again, hopefully for the last time in a long time.
UFC 81 Generates Approximately 650,000 Buys
UFC 81: Breaking Point, which featured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeating former two-time champion Tim Sylvia to win the interim UFC heavyweight belt and fellow former heavyweight title holder Frank Mir submitting one-time professional wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, generated close to 650,000 PPV buys according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
In my interview at Jarry Park leading up to UFC 81, I mentioned that the UFC would likely be pleased with the amount of buys the event would generate, mostly because of the mainstream popularity of Lesnar from his various ventures in professional sports. It turns out UFC 81 will now rank as the third-highest-grossing event in UFC history.
Future Fights Galore!
A good amount of upcoming fights have been revealed over the past few days. Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Terry Etim will meet at UFC 84 in May according to MMA Junkie, who confirmed that both fighters have agreed to sign bout agreements. Five Ounces of Pain has learned that Doug Evans has been released from the UFC and has signed on with EliteXC, who will pit him against Wilson Reis in his debut in April.
Gracie Fighter has announced that Nate Diaz has been added to UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2nd, making that an unheard of eleven total fights on that card. MMA Junkie says that he’s expected to face Kurt Pellegrino. Major props are in order to our friends at Fightlinker, who have reportedly successfully petitioned to have Spike TV increase the broadcast time of the event from two hours to three.
Nick Diaz will return to action against Muhsin Corbbrey according to Five Ounces of Pain. Don’t believe what “Babalu” says, Tito Ortiz-Ryoto Machida is still on according to Ed Soares, who serves as Machida’s manager. Chris Fries of TAGG Radio’s Lights Out Show confirmed that the fight was still a go with Soares earlier today.
Wanderlei Silva says that he would consider a drop down to middleweight in order to rematch Dan Henderson. Denis Kang tells The Fight Network that he will participate in DREAM’s middleweight grand prix in April. Gracie Mag has details about the first toxicology report released concerning Ryan Gracie’s death. Paul Buentello tells MMA Weekly that he wants Kimbo Slice.
MMA Mania is reporting that Ultimate Fighter 5 winner Nate Diaz will be back in action at UFC Fight Night 12 when he takes on recently victorious Alvin Robinson.
The fight will be Diaz’s third in the UFC and also his third bout in 2007. He won his UFC debut when fellow TUF 5 cast mate Manny Gamburyan was forced to submit in the first round of their bout after injuring his shoulder at the TUF 5 Finale. Diaz then finished off Junior Assuncao with a guillotine choke at UFC Fight Night 11.
Robinson was stopped with strikes by Kenny Florian in his UFC debut at UFC 73 but bounced back in a big way last month at UFC 77 where he dominated Cincinnatti native Jorge Gurgel en route to a bloody unanimous decision win in his favor.
This fight is an interesting clash of styles. If the fight goes to the ground as expected, Diaz may find himself on his back for the majority of the fight. I’d give Diaz the edge in the submission department but it’s going to be fun to see if Robinson’s ground and pound attack will be able to negate Diaz’s jiu-jitsu skills.
Tonight we will be going live at 7 PM EST, covering UFC Fight Night 11 with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
While you are waiting for the event to start, feel free to check out our coverage of the event which includes predictions, weigh-in results, and much more:
UFC Fight Night 11 Weigh-In Results
Tap Selections: UFC Fight Night 11
Exclusive: Swick vs Goulet Off
Spencer Fisher Injured, Kenny Florian Fills In
Bouts Added to UFC Fight Night 11
Martin, Leben to Clash at UFC Fight Night 11
Swick and Goulet Signed for UFC Fight Night 11
Leben Declines Swick Fight; Goulet Now in the Picture
Din Thomas vs Kenny Florian
Chris Leben vs Terry Martin
Nate Diaz vs Junior Assuncao
Nate Quarry vs Pete Sell
Jonathan Goulet vs Dustin Hazelett
Thiago Alves vs Kuniyoshi Hironaka
Leonard Garcia vs Cole Miller
Gray Maynard vs Joe Veres
Luke Cummo vs Edilberto de Oliveira
The UFC has announced a slew of fights set to take place September 19th at UFC Fight Night 11.
UFC Fight Night 11
Din Thomas vs. Spencer Fisher
Chris Leben vs. Terry Martin
Nate Diaz vs. Junior Assuncao
Mike Swick vs. Jonathan Goulet
Gray Maynard vs. Joe Veres
Cole Miller vs. Leonard Garcia
Pete Sell vs. Nate Quarry