Gilbert Melendez (155.5 lbs) vs. Tetsuji Kato (154.8 lbs)
Bobby Southworth (204 lbs) vs. Bill Mahood (202 lbs)
Eugene Jackson (184 lbs) vs. Joe Riggs (184 lbs)
Josh Thomson (155.5 lbs) vs. Adam Lynn (155 lbs)
Falaniko Vitale (195 lbs) vs. Ron Fields (194 lbs)
Matt Lee (160.7 lbs) vs. Jorge Masvidal (159.3 lbs)
Daniel Puder (222.7 lbs) vs. Richard Dalton (225 lbs)
Billy Evangelista (154.7 lbs) vs. Clint Coronel (154.7 lbs)
Dewey Cooper (204.2 lbs) vs. Adam Smith (209 lbs)
Luke Stewart (169.6 lbs) vs. Sam Liera (169.3 lbs)
Anthony Figueroa (132.5 lbs) vs. Miguel Linares (135 lbs)
Eddie Millis (183.7 lbs) vs. Daniel McWilliams (178.5 lbs)
I give this guy an A for effort. Hopefully the UFC considers him at least.
News and Notes
Everyone is excited about the return of Gilbert Melendez…
Sherdog: Melendez Makes 2007 Debut in Strikeforce
MMA Weekly: Melendez Returns More Determined Than Ever
Yahoo! Sports: Melendez the best fighter you might not know
Bloody Elbow: The World’s #1 Lightweight Fights Saturday at the Playboy Mansion
CBS Sports: Q&A with Strikeforce lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez
- Jordan Breen says that the UFC is trying to secure another TV deal in Japan with WOWOW:
In the most recent issue of the Japanese combat sports periodical Gonkaku, Zuffa co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta said he hoped to ink a new deal with Japanese satellite channel WOWOW next year. He added that an agreement could be accomplished sooner rather than later.
While a deal is far from complete, this is good news for Japanese MMA fans. As of March 2007, WOWOW has just over 2.43 million subscriptions in Japan. After the channel’s UFC 70 telecast in April, network executives had officially announced that they could not reach a contractual agreement with Zuffa to continue broadcasting UFC events.
- Din Thomas will most likely be out for at least four months according to MMA Weekly.
You may remember that Thomas injured his knee while attempting to take Kenny Florian down in their fight at UFC Fight Night 11. It turns out that Thomas suffered a torn meniscus, stretched anterior cruciate ligament, bruised femur, and a damaged tibia and will be required to undergo arthroscopic surgery within the next two weeks.
- Falaniko Vitale has been added to the Strikeforce card for this Saturday and will make his Strikeforce debut against Ron Fields.
- 411 Mania has confirmed with B.J. Penn’s camp that he is booked for UFC 79 in December.
- Tonight’s episode of Human Weapon on The History Channel will feature Strikeforce welterweight Cung Le.
- The second installment of Inside MMA will be broadcasted tonight at 9:30 PM EST on HDNet. Tonight’s episode will feature a segment on Shane Carwin, a visit to Duke Roufus’ MMA school in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, highlights, and rankings. Hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten will be joined by guests UFC referee “Big” John McCarthy, Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, and Chris Bruno.
- Still looking for something else to watch? Spike TV will be airing a replay of UFC Fight Night 11 tonight starting at 9 PM EST.
- Zach Arnold is reporting that Kazuhiro Nakamura and his management team, J-Rock, plan to file an appeal with the CSAC:
J-ROCK, the management team of Kazuhiro Nakamura, fired back at the California State Athletic Commission in the Japanese press on Thursday. The company released a statement on behalf of Nakamura, denying that he was guilty of using marijuana and that they are appealing the ruling. They want a drug test re-examination and are considering the current ruling a mistake. (In the statement, J-ROCK claims that they talked to Nakamura after the news of the failed drug test came out. Nakamura stated that he had no motive whatsoever for using marijuana and has not used marijuana.)
- Sam Caplan has an excellent interview with UFC light heavyweight contender Houston Alexander at Five Ounces of Pain. A single father taking care of six kids while fighting in the UFC, hosting his own radio show, and traveling the country to lecture on the culture of hip hop. Holy shit.
Undefeated Strikeforce World Lightweight (155 lb. limit) Champion, “El Nino” Gilbert Melendez (12-0), will take on former Shooto star, Tetsuji Kato (18-7), in a non-title bout during the highly-anticipated Strikeforce extravaganza at The Playboy Mansion on Saturday.
“This is definitely a challenge because it’s a bigger guy dropping down in weight and he’s got a lot of experience,” said the 25-year-old Melendez, whose start on the first-ever mixed martial arts fight card at the world-famous home of entertainment mogul Hugh Hefner, will be his first of 2007. “It’s been a while since I fought so I’m super pumped about coming back.”
Melendez’s last effort, a meeting with superstar Tatsuya “Crusher” Kawajiri during Pride Fighting Championship’s star-studded “Shockwave 2006” affair in Japan on New Year’s Eve, was the American’s toughest challenge thus far in his five-year professional career. Melendez showed tremendous poise as he handled Kawajiri intelligently before walking away with a unanimous decision victory following the close of two rounds. The win propelled the American young gun into the world rankings of every major, independent ratings system.
“I take it as a compliment, but I just see myself in the top 10,” said Melendez of the recognition he has gained by the various outlets, a number of which position him as high as three amongst all lightweights around the globe. “Any of the guys in the top 10 are capable of being number 1 on any given day. That’s how I see it and I think I have a lot more to prove. I really appreciate that people do give me that ranking and I want to prove them all right, but I think it’s gonna take a couple more wins to prove it.”
News and Notes
- Sam Caplan of Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Ricardo Arona is not close to signing a deal with the UFC, or any organization for that matter:
While Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer has already said as much, FiveOuncesOfPain.com can confirm that there is very little validity to the rumors that Ricardo Arona is close to finalizing a deal with the UFC.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com contacted a source close to Arona via e-mail and that source has indicated that he will be in Europe for the next 40 days, making a deal almost impossible to complete. Furthermore, Arona has made no mention to the source about the possibility of signing with the UFC.
- Speaking of Caplan, it seems that he has added Adam Morgan to his team at Five Ounces. I that brings Adam’s total of websites written for to four. Adam is a monster.
- The Fight Network’s Great Fight North column has some good news inside:
Jonathan Goulet is hoping to fight next in November despite dislocating his elbow against Dustin Hazelett at UFC 76.
Bill Mahood’s fight against Bobby Southworth at this weekend’s Strikeforce event will not be for Southworth’s Strikeforce World Light Heavyweight Title.
Denis Kang is apparently training for a return at an October or November K-1 Hero’s event.
- MMA Junkie is reporting that Dean Lister may be taking on Jordan Radev at UFC 79 in December:
UFC rookie Jordan Radev (11-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) will likely face Dean Lister (9-5 MMA, 2-1 UFC) at UFC 79 in December.
MMAjunkie.com learned of the fight from a source close to the fighter, but Ken Pavia, Radev’s agent, said he couldn’t comment on the report or confirm that a deal was close to being signed.
- In a recent interview with FOX Sports, UFC President Dana White stated that he’s still confident he can sign Fedor and Brock Lesnar still isn’t officially with the UFC:
He also was very confident of signing Fedor Emelianenko, but felt it wouldn’t happen until after Emelianenko competes in a Russian sambo tournament in the fall. White said it was incorrect the story, claimed by Kurt Angle, that Brock Lesnar had signed with UFC. But he did hope to make the deal.
BodogFight veterans Jorge Masvidal and Matt Lee are set to clash at Strikeforce’s party at the Playboy Mansion on September 29th according to The Fight Network.
Masvidal has been one of BodogFight’s fastest rising stars, collecting wins over Keith Wisniewski and Steve Berger along the way. He earned the biggest win of his young career when he knocked out UFC and PRIDE veteran Yves Edwards with a head kick at BodogFight: Alvarez vs Lee back in July. Masvidal also owns a win over Joe Lauzon as well.
Lee is coming off an unanimous decision loss to former BodogFight Welterweight Champion Eddie Alvarez in a hard fought battle in July. Lee has also gone the distance with Jason Ireland and Edson Berto as well. This will be Lee’s first fight under the Strikeforce banner.
No word on whether this fight will take place at lightweight or welterweight.
A news filled Coffee and Kick Ass today folks…
News and Notes
- Our rumors section has been updated…
- Mark Cuban will be holding a press conference and conference call concerning his new HDNet Fights venture. We will have a full report later today.
- If you haven’t already, please check out Randy Couture’s signed gloves from UFC 74 that are currently up for auction by the Ryan Bennett Memorial Fund. Bidding ends on Thursday night.
- K-1 Hero’s parent company FEG announced a rematch between PRIDE veterans Sergei Kharitonov and Alistair Overeem at the K-1 Hero’s show taking place on September 17th.
- Duane Ludwig will now face Mario Stapel at this Saturday’s Ring of Fire event after his original opponent, Dragan Baklua, broke his hand during a recent training session. Despite all of this, Ludwig has trained hard and is ready to face whomever is standing in front of him:
“I was getting ready to face a stand up guy, but Mario is much more well rounded,” stated Ludwig. “He is more of a true MMA fighter. I changed my game plan accordingly. For this fight, I tightened up my game by training at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas. The training was great and I feel prepared for whatever happens. I love fighting at home and can’t wait for Saturday.”
- Jeff Monson, Matt Horwich, and Tara LaRosa all won medals in last weekend’s World Grappling Championships in Turkey.
- Spike TV announced yesterday that UFC 75 was the most watched MMA event in the history of North America:
UFC 75 was the most watched mixed martial arts event ever in North America, drawing 4.7 million viewers, Spike TV officials said in a news release Tuesday.
The Sept. 8 event from the O2 Arena in London, England, featured UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton Jackson’s win over PRIDE champ Dan Henderson in a title unification bout. Airing delayed on Spike, the telecast peaked at 5.6 million viewers during Jackson’s battle against Henderson. The show’s ratings were particularly strong among men age 18-34 and men 18-49. For those audiences, UFC 75 beat everything on television, Spike officials said, including ABC’s NASCAR race and Michigan vs. Oregon college football game, as well as ESPN’s Virginia Tech vs. LSU and Notre Dame vs. Penn St. games.
Spike TV said its telecast of UFC 75 had an overall rating of 3.1 (3.0 million homes), including a 5.7 rating for men 18-34 (1.6 million), 4.5 for men 18-49 (2.5 million) and 6.2 for men 25-34 (1.0 million).
- The Honolulu Star Bulletin is reporting that Justin McCully has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout against Christian Wellisch for undisclosed reasons. Wellisch will now face Scott Junk”
Kailua’s Scott Junk will make his UFC debut Sept. 22 against Christian Wellisch in a heavyweight fight at UFC 76: Knockout in Anaheim, Calif.
“It’s 100 percent going to happen,” Junk said. Wellisch (8-2) was originally scheduled to face Justin McCully.
Junk was notified about the fight yesterday, just 11 days before the event. He has put together six consecutive wins, including a TKO victory over Jimmy Ambriz back in June.
“It caught me off guard, but it’s good because I have been training this whole time,” Junk said.
Touch of gloves to UFC Mania for finding that interesting piece.
- The Governor of Illinois has signed legislation that will legalize MMA starting in 2008
- Michael Bisping’s father was apparently attacked in the parking lot of the O2 arena after the event.
Hat tip to Fight Opinion for that one.
- Sam Caplan of Five Ounces of Pain is reporting via Tagg Radio that Gilbert Melendez will be taking on Shooto’s Tetsuji Kato at Strikeforce’s Playboy Mansion event on September 29th.
FCFighter.com is reporting that Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth will defend his light heavyweight title at the upcoming September 29th Strikeforce event when he faces Bill “The Butcher” Mahood.
“I really think that if I stick to my grinding style, I think I can get the best of him,” Mahood says in discussing the September 29th fight. “I think Bobby and I are pretty evenly matched. We’re both good strikers with pretty decent ground games, so I think it’s going to come down to a war of attrition. I think it’s my ability to grind it out, combined with my heart that could be the difference. You know I’m winding down my fight career at this point, so I don’t want to fight on any old card. I want to fight in the cool places, on the big events. You know I’ve got to fight in Russia a couple of times now, had tea with President Putin which was pretty special, now I get to fight at the Playboy Mansion for Strikeforce.”
Bobby Southworth sports a mixed martial arts record of 7-4 with victories over the likes of Vernon “Tiger” White, Floyd Sword, and Bryan Pardoe. Southworth’s opponent, Bill Mahood, sports a mixed martial arts record of 15-5-1 with victories over the likes of Jason MacDonald, Khalil Ibrahim, and Steve Steinbeiss.
Joe Riggs has parted ways with UFC/WEC parent company Zuffa and has signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce according to The Fight Network. Even more importantly, Riggs will make his Strikeforce debut on September 29th when he challenges Eugene Jackson for the Strikeforce U.S. Middleweight Title:
Joe Riggs (26-9) has no problem fighting for any promotion, as long as he gets a little respect. The seven-time UFC veteran says he recently asked promoters Zuffa LLC. to release him from a four-fight co-promotional contract with its sister organization World Extreme Cagefighting to pursue more lucrative offers that would entail less fights.
Subsequently, Riggs has signed a multi-fight deal with Strikeforce and will make his debut for the San Jose, Calif. promotion’s Sept. 29 “Strikeforce Hits the Playboy Mansion” event at the famous Los Angeles hotspot. The 24-year-old wrestler will challenge striker Eugene Jackson for his Strikeforce U.S. Middleweight Championship title. Jackson, 41, earned the accolade nine months ago by submitting Hawaii staple Ronald Jhun in just over two minutes, but is remembered more for a string of brutal UFC knockouts in the late 90s.
Riggs was originally rumored to be taking on Jason “Mayhem” Miller in a October WEC bout but that fight never developed after the WEC changed their minds about having the fight take place. Couple that with Riggs’ WEC Middleweight Title being stripped from around his waist and Zuffa stating that a Riggs loss to Dan Chambers in July would result in Riggs being fired and you have your reasons behind Riggs asking to be released.
Former UFC and Pride Fighting Championship prodigy, Josh “The Punk” Thomson (34-2 (1 NC), will vie to extend his win streak to five consecutive bouts when he faces International Fight League (IFL) veteran, Adam Lynn (11-7 (1 No Contest), in a lightweight (155 lb. limit) contest during the Strikeforce mixed martial arts mega-event at The Playboy Mansion in Beverly Hills, California on Saturday, September 29th.
The 28-year-old Thomson’s appearance, his second of 2007, will come three months after his flawless effort against fellow contender Nick “The Ghost” Gonzalez during Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Baroni” live Showtime Pay Per View card. Thomson quickly took the fight with Gonzalez to the mat and, at the 1:42 mark of the first round, forced Gonzalez to tap out from a rear naked choke.
UFC officials are set to meet with Fedor Emelianenko and his management team in hopes of striking a deal that will finally land MMA’s top free agent with a specific promotion later today in Las Vegas.
Apy Echteld, one of Fedor’s agents has apparently told Sherdog via email that the UFC has made the best offer so far during the process:
Having visited the City of Angels since Monday, Emelianenko’s representatives will return to Europe Friday afternoon deal or not. Following negotiations with the International Fight League, Strikeforce, K-1 and UFC, it is the Zuffa-promoted UFC that has to this point made the best offer to secure Fedor’s services, Echteld told Sherdog.com through e-mail.
So why has it taken Fedor so long to sign with an organization? Fedor has long been asking whatever organization he signs with to be permitted to compete in Sambo tournaments in his native country of Russia. Only recently has he requested that some of his Red Devil Fight Club teammates also be signed to UFC contracts.
According to Echteld, it’s basically UFC or bust at this point:
“Our trip is not to shop between the organizations but to come to a final solution,” Echteld said. “Unless we go for the UFC, Fedor will be a free agent.”