Since it’s Christmas Eve and there’s not a lot of news going on, I thought why not make a list of MMA-related things that I’d like to see next year.
These are in no particular order…
1. Randy Couture vs Fedor Emelianenko - I’m not the only one that wants to see this. EVERYONE wants to see this. It’d be the biggest fight ever. Since Fedor opted to sign with M-1 Global instead of the UFC, we are going to have to wait until at least October to learn whether or not Couture’s contract with the UFC is really finished or that’s he going to have to fight twice more in order to finally get out.
Hopefully what Couture says holds true. If not, Dana and company have to work out some kind of working partnership with M-1, at least for the sake of the fans if nothing else.
2. The return of Evan Tanner - Now that Tanner has officially signed a new four-fight deal with the UFC, it’s only a matter of time before he is finally set to step back into the Octagon. I’m not doubting that it’s going to happen by wishing for it. I just want to finally see it take place.
The guy has battled some personal demons over the past two years and I’m sure that the majority of MMA fans would like nothing more than to see Tanner achieve his dream of fighting again in the UFC. On top of that, Tanner says he has the goods to knock off Anderson Silva. Ask anyone to make a list of fighters that could beat Silva and you’ll see Tanner on there almost every time.
3. Floyd Mayweather in MMA - After months and months of putting MMA down and then deciding that he might want to try it, it’s time to put up or shut up for boxing’s best pound for pound fighter. If he fights under Mark Cuban’s HDNet Fights banner, money won’t even be an issue. If Mayweather does go into MMA, I think that he’ll try to spin it for all it’s worth. Based on the fact that he has zero experience, the athletic commission is going to force the matchmakers to put Floyd up against another fighter that has not fought professionally and has very little amateur experience, most likely a guy that Mayweather could knock out in the first round.
It’ll probably be an exhibition bout too. After that Mayweather will declare that boxing is superior to MMA and will never step into a cage again. Then a slew of professional MMA fighters will call him out and he’ll try to explain that he has no reason to go back and fight again in MMA. Still, it’ll definitely be fun to watch.
4. Josh Barnett and Takanori Gomi to sign somewhere - Ever since the demise of PRIDE, these two have been nowhere to be found. While Barnett kept some of the spotlight on him in 2007 with his war of words with Dana White and his submission grappling match a few days ago, he still hasn’t fought in an MMA bout since losing to Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira nearly one year ago.
Gomi’s loss changed to a no contest against Nick Diaz was the former PRIDE Lightweight Champ’s only bout in ‘07. Since then, he’s been competely silent. These two are among the elite in their respective weight classes and aren’t getting any younger. It’s time to sign somewhere and get fighting again.
5. The UFC video game to come out in ‘08 - Yes, I know that it’s slated for a 2009 release but it could be finished early, right? It was UFC Throwdown’s release in 2002 that got me into the world of MMA. We haven’t had a new game since Sudden Impact in ‘04. The trailer for THQ’s new project looks amazing and I can’t wait. While I’m at it, Sam Caplan has a great article on UFC: Throwdown and what he hopes THQ will include in the new game coming out.
Dan Rafael and Marc Stein of ESPN.com are reporting that Floyd Mayweather Jr. could make the jump to MMA with Mark Cuban and HDNet Fights.
“Floyd is considering fighting with HDNet Fights,” Cuban told ESPN.com. “We are going to let him visit some gyms to talk to some folks about what it would take to learn. He knows it won’t be easy. But he is getting involved with MMA and HDNet Fights one way or another. He is pumped about it. He wants to go on to the next big thing. Floyd is a brilliant marketer. He follows the money.”
No matter what the state of boxing is, Mayweather is a huge draw and could bring a ton of eyes to MMA and HDNet Fights.
If the deal happens, and if Mayweather can successfully transition into the sport (two decent-sized ifs), Cuban’s found a way to take HDNet Fights from fledging to rockstar fast.
This comes only eight months after Mayweather engaged in the boxing vs MMA argument with UFC head Dana White.
MMA on Tap has learned that TKO Heavyweight Champion Krzysztof Soszynski will not be defending his title against former champ Icho Larenas at TKO’s next event in February.
The Fight Network is reporting that Soszynski has signed on to compete under the EliteXC banner in the same month. An opponent for Soszynski has not yet been announced.
With Soszynski now fighting in another promotion, it will be close to a year and a half in February since Soszynski won the title from Larenas. Soszynski has yet to defend his title yet alone fight in TKO since then.
No word yet on whether or not Stephane Patry and company are planning on doing something about the heavyweight title situation but it doesn’t seem that Soszynski is coming back anytime soon.
MMA on Tap was able to catch up with Pete “The Secret Weapon” Spratt who discussed his win over fellow welterweight Tristan Yunker at HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon this past weekend.
When asked about the direction that the fight went in, Spratt said that he expected it to go the way it did.
“It went the way I thought it would,” said Spratt. “I knew exactly what he wanted to do from the start. He was looking to back me up against the cage with punches and then take me down, it’s kind of his signature move I think. I know that I’m the better striker so I was glad to exchange with him.”
After the two hit the ground, Spratt was able to reverse position and ended up on top of Yunker. He then moved to side control where he landed a series of punches and elbows that cut Yunker and ultimately ended up stopping the fight.
“The cut was in a real bad spot,” said Spratt. “It was right above his eye and it started leaking down right away. We kept on going and then I stood up but he told the referee that he couldn’t see and the fight was called.”
The win was the second in as many fights for Spratt. So what’s next for the UFC veteran? It’s looking like a continuation of his revamped training.
“I want to do things that will lengthen my career,” stated Spratt. “For the longest time I was always getting submitted buy I’ve started working my jiu-jitsu and wrestling and it’s really paid off. I still want to keep my striking sharp but the ground game is my main priority now.”
HDNet Fights matchmaker Guy Mezger discusses Sean Salmon’s decisions to twice cause himself to be removed from separate HDNet Fights events, claiming that the fighter has made some bad decisions during a recent interview with MMA Weekly:
“I think he makes incredibly bad decisions,” Mezger said about Salmon. “Sean’s a good guy, but he makes some very poor decisions and he allows his manager to help influence some of his most important decisions.”
Salmon was pulled from HDNet Fights inaugural event in October after he took a fight against Mikko Rupponen at Fight Festival 22 in Finland just weeks before his scheduled appearance in Mark Cuban’s newest venture. Salmon was victorious but was removed from the HDNet Fights card since he violated the contract he had with Cuban and company.
Mezger went on to talk about the circumstances surrounding Salmon making another mistake after he was given a second chance:
“He told us he was fighting a different opponent, someone who I wasn’t really fearful of him losing (to), let along being knocked out,” said Mezger about Salmon’s original fight in StrikeForce. “He chose to instead go to enter himself in the tournament when there was an opportunity to do it, which he did not let us know he was going to do and which was not part of our agreement and he went and lost and so that’s where it goes.”
Salmon was brutally knocked out by Jorge Santiago in the first fight of that tournament. He is currently on an indefinite medical suspension put forth by the California State Athletic Commission and won’t be permitted to fight again until he receives clearance from a physician.
Are we ever going to see Salmon again? I’m sure there’s a chance but it’s probably not going to be in HDNet Fights anytime soon:
“I’ll be honest, he’s become unreliable for us so it’s really difficult for us to build in and around him with basically being irresponsible,” Mezger stated. “I feel it’s kind of irresponsible decisions, but he’s a good guy. We may look down the road to do something with him, but I think for right now we need to work with the guys who are going to work with us.”
Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Frank Trigg were both victorious last night in their respective bouts, setting up a potential rematch of their ICON Sport middleweight title bout that took place just one year ago.
The 6,754 that packed into the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Texas saw a main event between Miller and Tim Kennedy live up to expectations as a very competitive bout. Kennedy came away with the first round on the scorecards, using superior striking and wrestling to keep Miller at bay. Kennedy came close to ending the fight when he secured Miller’s back and had an extended amount of time to try and sink in a rear naked choke. The opportunity was foiled when the horn sounded to end the round.
Both fighters came out of the gate firing away with punches and kicks to start the second. Kennedy (8-2) once again took control of Miller (20-5) from behind but Miller was able to reverse the position and put Kennedy on his back. Miller fired away with punches and elbows that opened up a nasty cut on the bridge of Kennedy’s nose. “Mayhem” started to pull away in the final stanza after securing an early takedown.
Kennedy’s cut was checked by ringside doctors on two different occasions but the bout was permitted to continue both times. The fight was restarted on the feet by the referee after the second check of the cut and gave Kennedy the opportunity to take Miller down. However Kennedy was unable to generate much offense because of multiple submission attempts by Miller. Miller rolled Kennedy to his back and pounded away on his opponent until the end of the fight. The judges convened and their scorecards all matched up as Miller was awarded a well-earned unanimous decision, finally avenging a loss to Kennedy earlier in his career.
When asked who he would like to take on in his next fight, Miller hysterically stated that he wouldn’t mind fighting HDNet Fights owner and famed billionaire Mark Cuban for each other’s wallets. While Cuban won’t be standing across the cage against Miller in his next fight, Trigg most likely will be.
Marcus Lanier def. Lee King - Submission (Armbar)
Liam McCarty def. Jason House - TKO (Cut)
Jay White def. Patrick Castillo - Submission (Armbar)
Nissen Osterneck def. Freddie Espiricueta - Submission (Strikes)
Corey Mahon def. Chris Bowles - Submision (Armbar)
Pete Spratt def. Tristan Yunker - TKO (Cut)
Krzysztof Soszynski def. Robert Villegas - Disqualification
Yves Edwards def. Alonzo Martinez - Submission (RNC)
Frank Trigg def. Edwin Dewees - Submission (Kimura)
Jason Miller def. Tim Kennedy- Unanimous Decision
Tonight we will be going live at 7:30 PM EST, covering HDNet Fights: Reckless Abandon with one of our patented live blogs. Be sure to leave some comments throughout the night…
While you are waiting for the event to start, feel free to check out our coverage of the event which includes interviews, weigh-in results, and much more:
HDNet Fights II Weigh-In Results
A Chance for Revenge and Mayhem in HD
RawVegas Interviews Mir and Trigg
Rob Zombie’s ‘Halloween’ to Sponsor HDNet Fights
Report: Osterneck Tapped to Replace Dollaway
Dollaway Out of HDNetFights: Reckless Abandon
Report: Salmon Replaced Against Mayhem
Trigg-Dewees, Miller-Salmon Headline HDNet Fights
Jason Miller vs. Tim Kennedy
Frank Trigg vs. Edwin Dewees
Yves Edwards vs. Alonzo Martinez
Krzysztof Soszynski vs. Robert Villegas
Pete Spratt vs. Tristan Yunker
Cory Mahon vs. Chris Bowles
Freddie Espiricueta vs. Nissen Osterneck
Jason House vs Liam McCarty
Jay White vs. Patrick Castillo
Lee King vs. Marcus Lanier
When Jason “Mayhem” Miller and Tim Kennedy step into cage tomorrow night, it will be for the second time in their respective careers.
Kennedy earned a decision over Miller during an Extreme Challenge tournament back in February 2003. Since then, they have gone in completely different directions. Miller has become one of the top middleweights in mixed martial arts while Kennedy is a little more than a year back from another stint as an Army Ranger.
Throughout that time however, one thing has remained constant - Miller’s desire to avenge his loss against Kennedy. After Miller’s original opponent, Sean Salmon, was forced to pull out of the bout after being medically suspended by the California State Athletic Commission, HDNet Fights matchmaker Guy Mezger stepped up and delivered Miller a second chance against Kennedy.
The man they call “Mayhem” couldn’t be more excited.
“When Salmon got knocked out I think that I was more concerned about him turning out alright rather than me sulking about not having an opponent anymore,” said Miller. “HDNet Fights was able to score Tim for me and I couldn’t be happier.”
When reading up on the upcoming match-up between the two it’s obvious that both are fond of each other. Kennedy likes Miller. Mayhem respects Kennedy. Even though that might be the case, it doesn’t mean that Miller is going to take things lightly.
“I’m in this fight all the way,” stated Miller. “I’m definitely looking to get some revenge. He has a win over me so he must be pretty damn good. I respect him a lot. He’s a great fighter and a nice dude. He beat me back then but that was years ago. I like him but I’m going to beat him.”
Miller’s appearance inside the confines of a HDNet Fights event will be the first of his career in the promotion. His exit from the WEC earlier this year was pretty well known by the general public. His strategy however is not. To quote Vince McMahon, those who try to figure it out pretty much have “no chance in hell”.
“Oh, my game plan is top secret,” Miller said. “No one knows about that shit. It’s being guarded by the monkeys right now so anyone who tries to sneak a peek has no chance.”
Another bout on the card besides Miller-Kennedy is Frank Trigg making his return to active competition after a brief hiatus against Edwin Dewees. Trigg beat Miller last year to claim the ICON Sport middleweight belt. Could we see a Cuban-created rematch in the near future? Wins by both tomorrow night could increase the chances…
Tristan Yunker failed to make weight for his scheduled welterweight bout against Pete Spratt. Yunker weighed-in at 174 lbs at the weigh-ins and was only able to get down to 173 lbs following the allotted two-hour time limit.
Yunker will now forfeit a percentage of his purse to Spratt and the fight will take place at a catch weight of 173 lbs.
Jason Miller (186 lbs) vs. Tim Kennedy (185 lbs)
Frank Trigg (183 lbs) vs. Edwin Dewees (185 lbs)
Yves Edwards (156 lbs) vs. Alonzo Martinez (156 lbs)
Krzysztof Soszynski (204 lbs) vs. Robert Villegas (205 lbs)
Pete Spratt (170 lbs) vs. Tristan Yunker (174 lbs)
Cory Mahon (155 lbs) vs. Chris Bowles (154 lbs)
Freddie Espiricueta (184 lbs) vs. Nissen Osterneck (184 lbs)
Jason House (184 lbs) vs Liam McCarty (185 lbs)
Jay White (256 lbs) vs. Patrick Castillo (241 lbs)
Lee King (155 lbs) vs. Marcus Lanier (154 lbs)