With the upcoming UFC Light Heavyweight Championship match between Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin on tap for this weekend, some interesting tidbits from the UFC have started to surface. Let’s get to them.
Franklin to 205?
Ever since being handled easily for a second time by middleweight champion, Anderson Silva, there has been speculation on what would be next for former champion Rich Franklin. Many figured Rich would move to light heavyweight, a weight class he had competed in before, including in the UFC. Our great friend Ariel Helwani at MMARated have disclosed that Rich will indeed be moving up. But even more interesting is the bout set for him, that being Matt Hamill of TUF 3 fame.
The bout is set for UFC 88 at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, GA on September 6, 2008. It will likely be the co-main event just under the headline bout between Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans.
Jesse Taylor is back
Continuing on the rumored matchups, it appears that Jesse Taylor’s firing from the Ultimate Fighter will not be for long. MMAJunkie has confirmed with both fight camps that Taylor will face the man who replaced him in the TUF 7 Finale fight, CB Dollaway, The fight will take place at this months UFN 14 card, set to broadcast live on SpikeTV on July 19, 2008.
Taylor gained a good deal of press for all the wrong reasons when he became the first TUF finalist to be thrown off the show after he qualified for the Finale. Taylor, in a drunken stupor, was seen via video tape kicking the window out of a limo and being verbally combative in various Las Vegas casinos via security video. UFC President Dana White threw Taylor off the show after the completion of tapings. Semi final losers CB Dollaway and Tim Credeur then fought with Dollaway advancing to the finals where he lost to Amir Sadollah for a second time.
This card is significant in that it is being televised in direct competition to the Affliction PPV card featuring Fedor Emelianenko vs Tim Sylvia. At this point the UFN 14 card look like this:
Anderson Silva vs. James Irvin
Frankie Edgar vs. Hermes Franca
Brandon Vera vs. Reese Andy
Anthony Johnson vs. Kevin Burns
Jake O’Brien vs. Cain Velasquez
Brad Blackburn vs. James Giboo
Rory Markham vs. Brodie Farber
Dale Hartt vs. Shannon Gugerty
Nate Loughran vs. Johnny Rees
Jesse Taylor vs. C.B. Dollaway
Former PRIDE middleweight and welterweight champion Dan Henderson talks to MMARated.com hosts Ariel Helwani and UFC ring girl Arianny Celeste in terms of what his future career holds. Interesting tidbits that Henderson discusses includes a planned bout against Rich Franklin that would have headlined the UFC’s upcoming event in England that didn’t happen, the amount of fights left on his current deal with the UFC, why he intends to stay at middleweight, and who he would like to fight next in order to propel himself back into title contention.
Georges St. Pierre. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
One year removed from his original upset loss to Matt Serra, Georges St. Pierre was finally able to avenge the defeat, dominating Serra on the mat over two rounds en route to regaining his UFC welterweight title in UFC 83’s historic main event.
The raucous crowd packed inside Montreal, Quebec’s Bell Centre saw St. Pierre surprise many in the opening seconds of the fight as he opted to take Serra down. After being on the receiving end of an array of strikes, Serra eventually worked his way back to his feet before finding himself on his back once again.
Any chances for another first-round Serra knockout were spoiled in a big way. With a mouse forming under Serra’s right eye, the Long Island native came out from his corner looking to throw down at the start of the second round. St. Pierre unfortunately had a different idea.
St. Pierre scored yet another early takedown. Serra mounted a bit of offense once the fight hit the feet, connecting with a head kick. However with fatigue setting in, Serra was unable to capitalize, allowing St. Pierre to land a handful of stiff jabs before shooting in for a takedown.
Once on the mat, St. Pierre unleashed a barrage of unanswered punches and knees to the body that forced Serra to cover up and referee Yves Lavigne to ultimately stop the fight, handing St. Pierre the title that he likely should have never lost in the first place.
“My strategy going in was to make it a physical fight,” St. Pierre said in his post-fight interview with Kenny Florian, who filled in for usual color commentator Joe Rogan. “I wanted to make him tired as much as I could because I know have the conditioning. I was trying to mix it up as much as I could.”
Matt Serra and Georges St. Pierre pose at the pre-fight press conference for UFC 83: Serra vs. St. Pierre II. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s UFC 83: Serra vs. St. Pierre II show are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
The event will be headlined by current welterweight champions Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra unifying their belts in a main event rematch of their fight at UFC 69: Shootout last year, where Serra stopped St. Pierre with strikes to win the UFC welterweight title.
Former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin will also be in action, taking on the middleweight winner of the fourth season of “The Ultimate Fighter, Travis Lutter. Additional main card bouts include Nate Quarry vs. Kalib Starnes, Michael Bisping vs. Charles McCarthy, and Mac Danzig vs. Mark Bocek.
Matt Serra (169.5 lbs) vs. Georges St. Pierre (169.5 lbs)
Rich Franklin (185.5 lbs) vs. Travis Lutter (185 lbs)
Nate Quarry (185.5 lbs) vs. Kalib Starnes (186 lbs)
Michael Bisping (185.5 lbs) vs. Charles McCarthy (186 lbs)
Mac Danzig (154.5 lbs) vs. Mark Bocek (154.5 lbs)
Jason MacDonald (185 lbs) vs. Joe Doerksen (184.5 lbs)
Sam Stout (155.5 lbs) vs. Rich Clementi (155 lbs)
Ed Herman (185.5 lbs) vs. Demian Maia (184.5 lbs)
Jonathan Goulet (169.5 lbs) vs. Kuniyoshi Hironaka (170 lbs)
Alan Belcher (185 lbs) vs. Jason Day (183.5 lbs)
Cain Velasquez (235.5 lbs) vs. Brad Morris (225.5 lbs)
Screenshots from this afternoon’s weigh-ins featuring St. Pierre and Serra are after the jump, courtesy of Yahoo! Sports.
Rich Franklin weighs-in for UFC 72: Victory. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
With yet another devastating loss to Anderson Silva now behind him once again, former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin is ready to start over for the second year in a row.
Despite his heart pleading with him for a third chance at Silva, Franklin must now use his mind and focus on a new opponent that brings very little familiarity with him in the form of Travis Lutter. With trainer Matt Hume now working with Franklin full time, one of the Cincinnati sports scene’s biggest supporters has a so-called master strategist at his side.
“I don’t feel that I had enough time to work with Matt Hume going into the Silva fight,” Franklin said during a recent media conference call. “If I had more time with him things could have been different but I can’t worry about that now. Going into this fight against Travis, who obviously is a great fighter and presents a solid challenge, we’ve developed a good gameplan and I’m excited to be able to execute it.”
Franklin and Lutter are in similar situations. Both are coming off of losses to Silva. However where Franklin has been physically handled in both of his fights against the Brazilian, Lutter actually thrived and impressed many in a fight that cost him a shot at Silva’s belt due to weight cutting issues.
“I’m training for a fighter that is a completely different fighter than I’ve seen in a while,” Franklin said. “As much as I’d like to improve the mistakes I made against Silva, I can’t think about that right now. Travis gave Silva hell in their fight so I have to be prepared for what he brings to the table. It’ll be an interesting clash of styles and I’m excited to get back in there.”
Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra square off at the weigh-ins for UFC 69: Shootout. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
After years of waiting, the Ultimate Fighting Championship finally made their first trek up to Canada official when they announced UFC 83: St. Pierre vs Serra II during a press conference earlier today at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada earlier this morning.
In attendance at the press conference were UFC President Dana White and current welterweight champions Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra who will unify their belts in a main event rematch of their fight at UFC 69: Shootout last year, where Serra stopped St. Pierre with strikes to win the UFC welterweight title.
“I’m actually excited to go to Canada and fight St-Pierre in his hometown,” Serra said at the press conference earlier today. “I think this puts more pressure on him than it does me. I know he’s going to come at me hard, but I’m ready for that and I’m preparing for a great fight. I know that’s what I would do if a guy knocked me out like that. But I plan on staying the champ and taking my belt back home to Long Island.”
St. Pierre, a native of Montreal, will be fighting in front of his hometown under the UFC banner for the first time in his career. After originally speculating that St. Pierre would not be ready in time for the event due to his bout against Matt Hughes in December, St. Pierre came away with the interim welterweight belt relatively unscathed, allowing him to partake in the historic event.
“I am at the same point as I was last year when I fought Matt Serra, except this time I am fighting as the contender not the champion,” said St-Pierre. “It’s a dream come true to have this historic UFC event in Canada, I’ve waited my whole life for this opportunity, and especially fighting for – and winning – the world title in front of my people.”
It seems that a potential fight between former champion Rich Franklin and fellow middleweight Travis Lutter might be happening after all.
Despite suffering a torn meniscus that is supposed to keep him out of action for six months, The Fight Network reported yesterday on their radio show that Franklin is planning a return against Lutter at the UFC’s scheduled show in Montreal.
After doing some research, it is possible for Franklin to be healthy in time for the fight. In some cases, depending on the overall health of the person, one could bounce back and return to active competition in just 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery. With Franklin being the level of athlete he is, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was the case.
MMA on Tap has learned that the father of former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin passed away yesterday due to a heart attack. All of us here would like to send our thoughts and prayers to Rich’s family and friends during this difficult time.
Diabate to Train with Team Quest
Cyrille “Snake” Diabate has announced that he will be spending some time in the United States to train with Dan Henderson and the rest of Team Quest’s Temecula, California franchise in preparation for his first fight on American soil.
Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling skills and takedown defense during his stay:
“This is exactly the kind of opportunity I need,” says Diabate. “America is where everything is happening right now, both fighting and training-wise. In the past I haven’t had to worry
about top level wrestlers trying to take me down. But now [with upcoming fights in American promotions], things will change.”
If Diabate is looking to improve his wrestling ten-fold, he certainly picked the right place…
Grove Fought High for First Six Fights
In a recent interview with Cage Potato, Kendall Grove admitted that he fought in his first six professional bouts high off of marijuana:
See, marijuana is a touchy subject. I’m a rock star — I’ve been smoking weed since I was in the 6th grade, I can openly say that. But I’m also clean when I fight. I cut that shit out — I’m a professional. Don’t get me wrong, my first six fights, I fought high, I fought stoned. But when you get to this level, you have to take responsibility. It’s your job. I stop doing that stuff three months out.
Thompson-Rogers, “Krazy Horse” Added to EliteXC Feb Card
ProElite’s Sam Caplan is reporting that a heavyweight bout between James Thompson and Brett Rogers has been added to the undercard of EliteXC’s next event on February 16th at the United Bank Arena in Miami, Florida.
Thompson will be making his EliteXC debut at the event. He was knocked out by Neil Grove in just 10 seconds at Cage Rage 22 in July. Rogers is coming off of a submission win over Ralph Kelly at EliteXC: Renegade.
Charles “Krazy Horse” Bennett will also apparently compete on the undercard as well. Bennett has not fought since submitting Donnie Martinez with a rear naked choke at a KOTC event in October.
Eric Bradley of Team Takedown fame is expected to sign with EliteXC according to Sam Caplan. Rick Roufus has not been cleared by the California State Athletic Commission and will not fight Mark Kerr at WCO: The Return. Roufus has been replaced by Kauai Kupihea.
After watching UFC 79 and hearing all of the discussion about how Matt Hughes and Matt Serra were originally supposed to fight but Serra pulled out with an injury, I got to thinking. It wasn’t the first time that a situation like that occurred.
So I sat down and did some research. There were actually a good number of fights in the UFC that were signed and slated to happen but ended up not taking place for one reason or another. The final number was a lot higher than I expected so I went ahead and narrowed the list down to the fights that would have been the best if they were to happen at the time.
So here they are. I’ve sorted them starting with the most recent and excluding Hughes-Serra. Each instance is pretty interesting.
Evan Tanner vs Jeremy Horn (UFC 59): The two long-time MMA veterans were set to clash at UFC 59 in what was unofficially an “elimination” bout for the two of them. Horn had split his two return bouts in the UFC while Tanner had lost two straight, including his middleweight title. The bout would have been an interesting chess match between two slick grapplers but Horn ended up pulling out after injuring his back during training. Justin Levens replaced Horn and Tanner went on to submit Levens in the first round of their bout. Horn was released shortly after defeating Chael Sonnen at UFC 60.
Matt Hughes vs Karo Parisyan (UFC 56): After losing to Georges St. Pierre at UFC 46, Parisyan went ahead and racked up three straight wins over Nick Diaz, Chris Lytle, and Matt Serra to earn a title shot against then-champion Matt Hughes. The anticipated welterweight showdown was set to headline the event until Parisyan was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering an elbow injury during training. Joe Riggs stepped in for Parisyan and ended up failing to make weight, costing him his shot at the title. Hughes would go on to submit Riggs in a non-title bout and wouldn’t defend his belt again until UFC 63, making it over a full year since the welterweight title was contested. To this day, Parisyan is still yearning for another shot at the title.
Former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin will be sidelined for up to six months after suffering a torn meniscus according to a report from MMA Junkie.
Despite refuting various reports that he was fighting at UFC 82 in March, Franklin reportedly signed on to fight Travis Lutter at the event yesterday and was forced to pull out of the bout earlier this morning. Franklin will undergo surgery on the injury next month.
Apparently the injury occurred in the same knee that Franklin hurt earlier in his career:
According to J.T. Stewart, Franklin’s publicity manager, the 33-year-old fighter recently experienced swelling of his knee — the same knee in which he tore a meniscus “several years ago” in a UFC match. His doctor determined that floating particles from the first injury had caused swelling, and while examining the knee, he realized Franklin had again suffered a similar tear.