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.
Adam Kastner discusses upcoming bout with Adrian Wooley
MMA on Tap was able to catch up with TKO featherweight Adam Kastner (1-0) to get his thoughts on his upcoming bout with Adrian Wooley as well as little background information on how he got his start in MMA and his goals for the future.
On September 28, 2007 at TKO 30: Apocalypse, Adam Kastner will make his second appearance in the TKO cage when he faces fellow undefeated featherweight Adrian Wooley (2-0). Wooley is a talented wrestler who made his TKO debut at TKO MMA Tourney 2007, defeating Sonny Leong (1-10-1) by decision. Wooley’s next fortay in the TKO cage came at TKO 29: Repercussion when he fought and defeated Guillaume Lamarche (1-1).
Kastner was respectful when talking about his opponent saying, “From seeing Adrian fight previously I think he’s a great fighter, a very good wrestler and I think it’s going to be a tough fight for me. It’s hard to predict how the fight is going to go, I am going to try and do the things I am working on in training and try and pull out a win. But I think it will be a very exciting fight to watch.”
Kastner may be relatively new to the MMA scene but he is not new to the fight game. Before making taking the plunge to MMA Kastner spent time fighting in the CAMTAO (Canadian Amateur Muay Thai Association of Ontario). Training with the guys at 519 Fight Factory, Kastner possesses sharp Muay Thai skills. “I actually started MMA March 17th, that was my debut. Before that I only ever fought in Muay Thai competitions in CAMTAO(Canadian Amateur Muay Thai Association Of Ontario), but the opportunity came to fight in TKO so I didn’t think twice to take it.
“My goals as a fighter are just to be successful at it, become better after each fight, keep improving on my weaknesses and keep progressing as an athlete. I am training with Jeff Harrison, Syd Barnier and other good training partners, so I think it helps to keep improving when you train with a good team.”
Jeff Harrison is the head trainer at the 519 Fight Factory. He is well versed in both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In 2002 Harrsion spent time working on his BJJ at the Gracie Barra Academy in Rio Dejaniero, Brazil. Harrison also spent time working on his Muay Thai with BTT trainer Paulo Nickolai while training with the likes of Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mario Sperry.
Kastner’s teammate, Syd Barnier, will also be fighting at TKO 30: Apocalypse but his opponent is currently unknown.
Report: Valerie Letourneau not fighting at TKO 30
We have received a report stating that Valerie Letourneau (1-1) will not be fighting at TKO 30: Apocalypse. According to the report, Letourneau was not given footage of her opponent on time so she refused to sign the contract.
Letourneau made her TKO debut at TKO 29: Repercussion losing to Sarah Kaufman early in the second by TKO. Training with Tristar Vale Tudo, Letourneau is a well-rounded featherweight who holds a TKO win over Tannaya Hantelman.
TKO alumni update
Jonathan Goulet - “The Road Warrior” will be making his long awaited return to the octagon September 19th when he steps into cage with Mike “Quick” Swick at UFC Fight Night 11.
When asked about his upcoming battle with Swick, Goulet said, “I know I’ll be ready for a war but he’s not going to be ready for me. Right now I’m stronger and faster than him and that day that would be worst.”
Patrick Cote - Cote, the current TKO middleweight champion, will be stepping into the cage with TUF veteran Kendall Grove this weekend at UFC 74: Respect. After a rocky past in the UFC, Cote will be looking to set things straight with an impressive victory over his 6’6” opponent.
Sherdog.com caught up with Cote to get thoughts on the upcoming bout with Grove.
“I think he has a suspect chin,” said the TKO middleweight champ. “I saw his fights against (Hector) Ramirez and (Joe) Riggs. The thing is I have to be careful about his reach, so like I said I did the perfect training camp for this type of fighter. I can see myself knocking him out … the thing is, I don’t think he’ll be able to put me on my back. I really think I will stop him before the bell to end the second round.
“He [Kendall] said in an interview that he wanted to stay on the feet and bang with me and if he’s in trouble he will take me down. I really think he will try to take me down because I am really confident about my skills on my feet right now. If he tries to take me down I think he would be surprised … I’ve improved a lot on my wrestling right now, I’m really comfortable everywhere the fight will be.”
Georges St. Pierre - Former UFC welterweight champion Georges “Rush” St. Pierre will look to throw himself back into title contention at UFC 74 when he faces fellow welterweight contender Josh Koscheck.
St. Pierre’s opponent, Josh Koscheck, recently told UFC.com that he felt Georges St. Pierre lacked heart and had a weak chin. St. Pierre responded by saying…
“Talking bad and saying bad stuff about me just gives me more motivation to train hard, to beat him up,” St. Pierre responded. “I don’t play that game. It’s not my style. I’m not that kind of person. I will do my talking in the Octagon.”
That sounds alot like the St. Pierre that stepped into the cage with Matt Hughes at UFC 65: Bad Intentions. If that’s the case, my prayers are with you Mr. Koscheck.
After crossing the frozen tundra of St. Petersburg, Russia, and storming the beaches of Costa Rica, the hardest-hitting show on TV is infiltrating the home of The Sopranos and Goodfellas ... and you better not fuggedaboutit!
Bodog Fight: New Jersey marks the mixed martial arts series debut on American soil. Filmed in Trenton, the show features two championship fights, with Trevor Prangley taking on Japanese superstar Yuki Kondo for the middleweight belt and Tara LaRosa squaring off against Kelly Kobold for the women’s 135lb title.
The first episode premieres in more than 90 million U.S. homes this Tuesday, August 21st at 11 p.m. / 10 p.m. Central on ION television and in Canada on The Fight Network, offering viewers a look at one of the sport’s fastest rising stars.
Drew Fickett spoke to Sherdog’s Tommy Messano to shed some light on the knee injury that forced him to pull out of a scheduled bout against Chris Lytle at UFC 73.
Fickett stated that he first injured his knee during a unanimous decision win over Keita Nakamura at UFC Fight Night 9. He said that the knee was still hurt during training for the Lytle fight and that he ultimately aggravated it to the point where he could no longer continue to prepare for UFC 73.
According to Fickett, he has fully recovered from the injury and is nearly ready to jump back into competition:
“The knee is fine now,” he said. “I’ve been doing a lot of yoga and specific strength training for my injury. I tweaked it in the Nakamura fight and it never really fully recovered since I jumped right back into training.”
Fickett made certain that he wanted to return to the UFC as soon as possible. He revealed that UFC 77 in October would be his ideal choice for a return.
Hall of Fame Boxing Referee Richard Steele and Steve Oshins, co-owners of Steele Cage Promotions, LLC and the International Fighting Organization, LLC (IFO), announce their September 1st card at the Riviera Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, NV. After a blazing debut with Fireworks in the Cage I on July 7th, highlighted by Marvin Eastman vs. Rob Kimmons, Steele Cage will unleash the sequel with Fireworks in the Cage II.
“Steele Cage will continue with its goal of giving the fans what they want, exciting well-matched fights. Fireworks in the Cage II will be similar to the first one, with some young talented fighters looking to make a name for themselves as well as ones that have enjoyed the limelight and are looking to stay on top,” stated Steele.
The sequel will bring another star studded cast with UFC, Pride and IFL veteran Travis “The Diesel” Wiuff (45-11) fighting another UFC vet Chris “The Exorcist” Price (11-2) for the IFO Light Heavyweight World Title.
Zac “The Red Devil” George (12-1) has fought for the IFL and is a 3 time Oklahoma State Wrestling Champion. George also participated in the IFO’s July 7th event, but this time he will be fighting for the IFO Lightweight World Title versus Chris “The Mad Dog” Mickle (22-9-1). Mickle is the current Extreme Challenge Champion at 155lbs.
Steele Cage will also feature the entertaining Tony “The Freak” Fryklund (14-9) and Justin “Executioner” Levens (9-6) in separate bouts. Fryklund will fight Kyle Gibbons (5-2) at 170lbs. “The Freak” is well known to MMA fans having fought for UFC, WEC and Strikeforce. Levens (9-6), a UFC, WEC, and IFL veteran himself takes on Nate James (3-3) at 185lbs.
MMA on Tap has learned the Adam Kastner (1-0) will face Adrian Wooley (2-0) in a featherweight bout at TKO 30: Apocalypse.
Adrian Wooley is a strong wrestler who sports an unblemished TKO record of 2-0. Wooley last victory came at TKO 29: Repercussion when he TKO’d Guillaume Lamarche late in the third round. Adam Kastner is a talented kickboxer who made his TKO debut at TKO MMA 2007 Tourney submitting Tommy Pariseau late in the first round.
TKO Major League MMA has announced that Dan Chambers (9-4) will meet Marcus Celestin (3-2) in a middleweight affair at TKO 30. TKO 30 will mark the debut of Dan Chambers who is coming off of a loss to UFC veteran Joe “Diesel” Riggs at Hardcore Championship Fighting. Chambers’ opponent Marcus Celestin sports a TKO record of 1-0 with his sole victory coming by submission over Brett Pearson at TKO 29: Repercussion.
TKO 30: Apocalypse
Sam Stout vs. Martin Grandmont - TKO Lightweight Title
Sean Pierson vs. Chris Clements - TKO Welterweight Title
Samuel Guillet vs. Yves Lemelin
Stephane Dube vs. Tyler Jackson
Steve Bosse vs. Lance Evans
Stephane Vigneault vs. Justin Tavernini
Marcus Célestin vs. Dan Chambers
Bob Landry vs. Jody Burke
Adrian Wooley vs. Adam Kastner
Also scheduled to appear on the card is:
Valerie Letourneau (1-1)
Syd Barnier (1-0)
Mark Hominick (13-7)
Imad Regragui (0-0)
Adil Regragui (0-0)
Shawn Thompson (0-0)
Eric Leclerc (3-1)
Nabil Khatib (6-1)
In a recent interview with Sportsnet.ca, TKO president Stephane Patry stated that he is in the final stages of securing a deal which would allow him to produce a new MMA reality show which will be a mix between Big Brother and The Ultimate Fighter.
“We are in the last stage of closing the deal with a network,” said Patry. “It will have 16 guys in a house with girls. It will be a mix between Big Brother and The Ultimate Fighter.”
Interesting concept… 16 fighters in a house with girls. That could make for some interesting television, someone call Jeremy Jackson. According to the article, auditions began 8 months ago and Patry expects to make an announcement in the near future. The show will be in French, but apparently an English network is interesting in picking up the series. It’ll be interesting to see if it airs on The Fight Network as both companies have done business in the past.
The article also states that TKO is expected to make an announcement within the next week that they’ve hired a public relations firm, one that works with the Montreal Canadiens. Patry is also looking to expand within Canada in the near future.
They are also expected to make an announcement in the next week that they’ve hired a public relations firm, one that works with the Montreal Canadiens. The next thing to focus on for Patry is expansion to other venues in Canada. But he’s biding his time.
“I’m waiting until we are in a good position before going full steam with expansion,” said Patry. “I’d like to be getting 9-to-10,000 in attendance on a steady basis first before I do that.”
Not only is Patry planning to expand within Canada but he is also plans on hosting a show in the Bahamas when the UFC comes to Montreal. Patry feels the UFC will be in Montreal within the first three months of 2008 and he doesn’t want to host a show in Montreal during the same month as the UFC.
He will more than likely do a show outside Canada next year, but he’s waiting to find out exactly when the UFC will hold its Montreal event, which he expects to be in the first three months of 2008. Only then will he set his schedule, because he doesn’t want to have a show in Montreal the same month that the UFC has theirs.
“That won’t be good for either of us,” admitted Patry. “So, the same month that they come here, we’re most likely going to have a show in the Bahamas. I do five shows per year so I don’t want to have four because the UFC is coming.’
TKO 30: Apocalypse is scheduled for September 28th, 2007 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. For the latest TKO 30 fight card, check out the Rumors section.
Rory Markham will be unable to compete for the defending champion Quad City Silverbacks due to a hand injury suffered in his recent TKO win over Chris Clements on August 2.
Markham was slated to take on Delson Heleno of the New York Pitbulls. Silverbacks’ head coach Pat Miletich has stated that he has not yet found a replacement to complete for Quad City at welterweight.
News and Notes:
- Sherdog has released their first ever top 10 which covers 8 weight classes (flyweight to heavyweight).
Here is the heavyweight top 10…
1. Fedor Emelianenko
2. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira
3. Gabriel Gonzaga
4. Mirko Filipovic
5. Josh Barnett
6. Randy Couture
7. Tim Sylvia
8. Andrei Arlovski
9. Fabricio Werdum
10. Aleksander Emelianenko
- In a recent interview with Sherdog.com Fedor Emelianenko’s manager confirmed that the rumors of Fedor signing a five-fight $5 million deal with FEG were false.
- Our rumors section has been updated…
Over the past few days UFC Junkie has been on a roll breaking news about several fights set to take place at UFC 76 and 77.
• Eric Schafer vs. Stephan Bonnar at UFC 77
• Marvin Eastman vs. Damian Maia at UFC 77
• Jorge Gurgel vs. Doug Evans at UFC 77
• Jeremy Stephens vs. Nate Mohr at UFC 76
• Justin McCully vs. Christian Wellisch at UFC 76
• Matt Grice vs. Jason Black at UFC 77
• Josh Burkman vs. Forrest Petz at UFC 77
- FCFighter.com is reporting that Manny Tapia has suffered a knee injury which has forced him to pull out of his Sept. 5, WEC 30 title bout with Chase Beebe.
Sportsnet: MFC owner eyes bigger picture
UFC Junkie: MMA Wagering 101
UFC HP: Griffin and Tavares give a Peek into the Future at UFC 76
Yahoo! Sports: Stevenson climbing the lightweight ladder
Bodog has announced the matchups set to take place on the sixth season of BodogFight. The taping will take place August 24th and 25th on the Squamish Nation Indian Reserve in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
Sami Aziz (Sweden) vs. Hiroyuki Abe (Japan)
JR Sims (USA) vs. DJ Taiki (Japan)
Rodrigo Damm (Brazil) vs. Darren Elkins (USA)
Per Eklund (Sweden) vs. Rafael Dias (USA)
Ryan Bow (Japan) vs. Santino Defranco (USA)
Chris Ade (Canada) vs. Koji Oishi (Japan)
Nick Thompson (USA) vs. Mark Weir (UK)
Piotr Jakaczynski (Sweden) vs. Dan Hornbuckle (USA)
Chris Wilson (USA) vs. Ray Steinbeiss (USA)
Diego Gonzales (Sweden) vs. Steve Berger (USA)
Tim McKenzie (USA) vs. Yuichi Nakanishi (Japan)
Kyacey Uscola (USA) vs. TBA
Steve Byrnes (USA) vs. Alexander Shlemenko (Russia)
Antony Rea (France) vs. Steve Steinbeiss (USA)
Mikhael Zyats (Russia) vs. Buddy Roberts (USA)
Assuerio Silva (Brazil) vs. Constantin Gluhov (Russia)
Andrew Pederson (Canada) vs. Scott Lincoln (USA)
Dan Evensen (USA) vs. Dominic Richards (Canada)
Kristof Midoux (France) vs. Brad Morris (Australia)
Megumi Fuji (Japan) vs. Lisa Ward (USA)
Carina Damm (Brazil) vs. Jessica Aguillar (USA)
Rosi Sexton (UK) vs. Julia Berezekova (Russia)
Kelly Kobold (USA) vs. Julie Kedzie (USA)
Tama Chan (Japan) vs. Molly Helsel (USA)
Last night Jake Sheilds joined MMAWeekly’s Sound Off Radio to discuss his ongoing feud with Frank Trigg. While on the air Shields announced that he would be fighting Renato “Charuto” Verissimo at EliteXC on September 15th in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“Charuto is a talented guy and a likable guy, I like him quite a bit but it’ll be fun to fight him. He is a very technical jui-jitsu guy. We were supposed to fight last year but it fell through.”
“It’ll be interesting to see how Charuto shows up. He is one of those fighters that looks really good to me at times and at times not looked so good so I will be preparing for the good Charuto.”