Alan Belcher weighs-in for UFC 77: Hostile Territory. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that undefeated middleweight prospect Rob Yundt will replace Alan Belcher against a returning Ricardo Almeida at UFC 81: Breaking Point, which will take place this Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
Belcher has been forced to pull out of the bout after coming down with a severe case of bronchitis.
Yundt has fought all six of his fights inside the confines of the Alaska Fighting Championship, the same promotion where the UFC discovered current lightweight Doug Evans. Only one of Yundt’s fights has gone the distance. His last bout was a TKO win over Oscar Granado in October.
Ricardo Almeida will make his long-awaited return to MMA against Alan Belcher at UFC 82 in February according to Matt Hill of MMA Weekly.
Belcher apparently confirmed the fight earlier today with Hill.
Belcher shook off a 1-2 start in the UFC to rack up impressive victories over Sean Salmon and Kalib Starnes in consecutive fights earlier this year. The fight will be Belcher’s sixth in the Octagon and the third remaining fight on his current contract.
Almeida has not fought since earning an unanimous decision over Ryo Chonan at PRIDE Bushido 3 in 2004. Almeida fought to a 1-2 record in the UFC, losing to Matt Lindland and Andrei Semenov while submitting Eugene Jackson in between defeats.
As you probably already heard, the UFC has officially announced the signing of former pro wrestler Brock Lesnar.
Lesnar is expected to make his UFC debut in February.
Ricardo Almedia’s signing with the UFC has also been made official by the company.
No formal announcement of Wanderlei Silva’s next opponent was made, despite claims that Silva was set to do so himself.
MMA Junkie ran into Silva at the event and asked him about the rumored matchup:
MMA Junkie bumped into the former PRIDE champion in downtown Cincinnati on Saturday, and the fighter couldn’t help smile when we asked him about a rumored fight with Liddell.
“Dec. 29 I go into the ring and finally beat (Liddell),” Silva said. “Unless Chuck (is) scared, we fight then.“
Tim Sylvia challenged fellow heavyweight Cheick Kongo after his victory over Brandon Vera:
“We don’t know what’s going on with Randy [Couture] right now,” Sylvia said. “He’s a little bit in limbo. I don’t want to sit my ass down and wait for him, so I think Cheick and I should fight.”
However White has stated that Sylvia will most likely fight Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira for the UFC Heavyweight Title early next year.
UFC President Dana White announced the winners of the usual performance bonuses at the post-fight press conference:
Knockout of the night - Anderson Silva
Submission of the night - Demian Maia
Fight of the night - Jason Black vs Matt Grice
Each fighter will receive a bonus of $40,000, the highest that has ever been given out.
White also announced that UFC 77 broke the official gate record at the U.S. Bank Arena, bringing in a total of $2.54 million.
Randy Couture will hold a public press conference this coming Thursday to discuss his depature from the UFC.
White mentioned that the UFC would return to Ohio next March. He also said that Boston, Chicago, and Atlanta are all being considered to host shows next year.
Alex Marvez of FOX Sports is reporting that Franklin is expected to consider retirement.
Yushin Okami’s contract with the UFC apparently expired after last night’s fight with Jason MacDonald.
When asked about a future opponent for Silva, White threw Thales Leites, Ricardo Almeida, and David Terrell out there as possibilities.
GRACIEMAG.com is reporting that Ricardo Almeida has come out of retirement and signed a six fight contract with the UFC.
“Cachorrao” sports a mixed martial arts record of 8-2 with victories over the likes of Ikuhisa Minowa, Kazuo Misaki, Nathan Marquardt, and Ryo Chonan.
Before signing, Almeida looked into five different offers. His first bout should be scheduled for the beginning of 2008. “The final goal of my return was to get to the UFC, so I thought why not go straight there at once,” said Cachorrao to GRACIEMAG.com.
The Renzo Gracie black belt made his UFC debut in May 2001 at UFC 31: Locked and Loaded losing by disqualification to Matt “The Law” Lindland. Almeida returned four months later at UFC 33: Victory in Vegas submitting Eugene Jackson partway through the first. Almeida’s final UFC appearance came in January 2002 at UFC 35: Throwdown where he suffered a TKO loss to the hands of Russian slugger Andrei Semenov.
Almeida also spent time fighting in both PRIDE and Pancrase amassing a record of 6-0. After a 3-year retirement, Almeida was scheduled to make his MMA return against Dennis Hallman at Cage Fury Fighting Championship on October 12th but the event was canceled at the last minute. Almeida will now appear in the UFC sometime in early 2008.
Almeida will be an excellent addition to the UFC middleweight division.
We have a lot of stuff to report this morning…
News and Notes
- EliteXC has announced a total net loss of $11.9 million between January and June 2007 according to UFC Mania.
- IFL heavyweight Krzysztof Soszynski has announced that he has joined Dan Henderson’s Team Quest in order to continue with his training…
- FEG formally announced three bouts for the upcoming K-1 Hero’s event on September 17th. The semifinals of the 2007 154 lb tournament will roll on when Caol Uno takes on Kultar Gill and Gesias Calvancanti goes up against Vitor Ribeiro. Ikuhisa Minowa and Ralek Gracie will compete in a non-tournament bout.
- Cage Fury Fighting Championship’s October 12th event will feature the return of Ricardo Almeida. Almeida’s opponent will be Dennis Hallman.
- American Top Team has stated that Denis Kang is expected to sign with an organization in the next few weeks and is targeting September as a possible date of return.
- Palace Fighting Championships has announced that Justin Levens will fight Kenny Ento for the vacant PFC World Middleweight Championship on October 18th:
“These are two of the most popular and intense fighters to ever compete in the Valley,” Printup said. “Levens has faced tougher competition, but Ento is an extremely tough match up. He’s tall, rangy, has excellent submissions and underrated stand up. Levens is an absolute animal, who has only lost to top-level fighters.”
- The IFL Finals on September 20th in Hollywood, Florida will now feature two superfights as well as the IFL Championship. Seth Petruzelli and Rolles Gracie Jr. will meet in a light heavyweight bout. Aaron Riley and Ryan Schultz will clash in the night’s other superfight.
- The weigh-ins for UFC 74 will begin at 6 PM EST and will start to be broadcast on ESPNEWS at 7:15 EST. As always, they will also be available to watch online for free on a slew of sites, including UFC.com, Yahoo! Sports, and MSN.
- Tickets for UFC 77: Hostile Territory are slated to go on sale starting on August 22nd…