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.
News and Notes
- Rory Markham will not be participating in the Quad Cities Silverbacks’s IFL season opener because of him recovering from laser eye surgery…
“What I had in my eye is what they call a 3% retinal hole,” said Rory. “[They call it 3%] because that’s how big the hole was. It’s impact induced, so it’s from getting hit in the eye over the course of the last couple of months.
It can lead to a retinal detachment eventually, which is a very serious injury that sometimes leads to blindness,” exclaimed Rory. “Luckily I caught it early enough in stage one, that’s the earliest you can catch it.”
Markham continued, “I went in, they welded it up, and the IFL paid for it. They [the IFL] made good on their promise to insure us as fighters, which I can do nothing but thank them for that.”
- Krzysztof Soszynski has pulled out of his matchup against Ben Rothwell next weekend because of an injury he suffered while training last week.
- Kid Yamamoto suffered an arm injury during his 2007 Emperor’s Cup semi-final match and will not be able to compete to make Japan’s Olympic wrestling team…
Here are the full results from K-1 - Premium 2006 Dynamite!!
- Yukiya Naito def. Kim Dong Wook - TKO (Punches)
- Andy Ologun def. Ken Kaneko - Decision (Unanimous)
- Katsuhiko Nagata def. Shuichiro Katsumura - TKO (Punches)
- Taiei Kin def. Tokimitsu Ishizawa - KO (Head Kick)
- Hideo Tokoro def. Royler Gracie - Decision (Unanimous)
- Paulo Cesar Silva def. Chad Rowan - Submission (Kimura)
- Genki Sudo def. Damacio Page - Submission (Triangle Choke)
- Norifumi Yamamoto def. Istvan Majoros - TKO (Punches)
- Hong Man Choi def. Bobby Ologun - TKO (Punches)
- Yoshihiro Akiyama def. Kazushi Sakuraba - TKO (Punches)
Norifumi Yamamoto and Genki Sudo have pulled out of the August 5th, 154-pound HERO’s tournament.
Kid Yamamoto has taken an indefinite leave an absence from MMA to pursue his lifelong dream of competing in the Olympics. Yamamoto will work towards entering the 2007 Emperor’s Cup and then he’ll attempt to enter the 2008 Beijing Games.
Genki Sudo was forced to withdraw due to a recuring neck injury. The replacements for Sudo and Yamamoto will be Hiroyuki Takaya and Kazuya Yasuhiro. Also the final fighter that will be on the card is Hideo Tokoro.
The card now looks like this…
187-Pound Tournament Quarter-Final Match-Ups:
-Carlos Newton vs. Melvin Manhoef
-Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kestutis Smirnovas
-Rodrigo Gracie vs. Shungo Oyama
-Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Kin Taiei
154-Pound Tournament Quarter-Final Match-Ups:
-Caol Uno vs. Kultar Gill
-Hideo Tokoro vs. Ivan Menjivar
-Gesias “JZ” Calvancanti vs. Hiroyuki Takaya
-Rani Yahira vs. Kazuya Yasuhiuro