Anthony Johnson. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Here are your fight announcements for the evening of April 23, 2009.
— A welterweight bout between rising contenders Anthony Johnson and Matt Brown has been confirmed for the main card of “The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale”, which will take place on June 20 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Johnson was last seen earned a first-round TKO of Luigi Fioravanti at UFC Fight Night 17 in February while Brown recently scored a brutal stoppage of Pete Sell at UFC 96 last month. [UFC.com]
— ShoXC veteran Jared Hamman has been tapped to replace Renato “Babalu” Sobral against rising Brazilian light heavyweight prospect Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante at Strikeforce’s “Lawler vs. Shields” event on June 6 in St. Louis, Missouri. Sobral was forced to withdraw from the bout after learning that the expected birth of his daughter was going to fall too close to the date of the fight. Former UFC heavyweight champion Kevin Randleman reportedly turned down an offer to face Cavalcante. [Sherdog.com]
— Takeya Mizugaki, who received loads of praise after his showing against Miguel Torres at WEC 40 earlier this month, is reportedly likely to face former featherweight title challenger Jeff Curran in a bantamweight bout planned for WEC 42 in August. The fight has not yet been signed, but the promotion as well as the fighters are said to all be interested in the matchup. [MMA Fanhouse]
Jeff Curran. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
The past few days following the completion of Saturday’s UFC 93 event in Ireland have brought forth a slew of potential fight announcements involving upcoming events being put on by the UFC and WEC. Let’s get right to them:
— One-time WEC featherweight title challenger and longtime veteran Jeff Curran will reportedly make his bantamweight debut against Urijah Faber-protege Joseph Benavidez at WEC 40 on April 5 according to MMA Weekly. The event, which will likely take place in Chicago, will be headlined by WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres defending his title against Brian Bowles.
— Former International Fight League standout Bart Palaszewski will reportedly take on Richard Crunkilton in a lightweight bout at WEC 39 on March 1 according to MMA Junkie, which is also stating that the winner of the bout could receive a title shot against the winner of this weekend’s upcoming lightweight title fight between current champion Jamie Varner and top contender Donald Cerrone.
Jeff Curran. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
Following the cancellation of his scheduled main event bout at XFO 25 this past weekend, IFL veteran Bart Palaszewski has reportedly signed a multi-fight contract with World Extreme Cagefighting.
Palaszewski confirmed the six-fight deal with MMA Weekly over the weekend. He is expected to make his debut in the promotion’s lightweight division at an event later this year.
“I’m in shape and ready to fight,” Palaszewski said in the article. “If they need a 155-pounder for the Sept. 10 show, I’m down. I’m getting married in November, so nothing can happen in November. So it’d have to be in December, September or October. I’m not sure what’s going on, if they have a show planned after Sept. 10, so I’ll just take it day-by-day for now.”
Matt Fiordirosa. Photo courtesy of Wrecking Ball Fight Facility.
Everyone remembers “Sunshine”, right? You know, Matt Fiordirosa, the blond-haired kid that was constantly smiling, ventured on a semi cross-country trip with the TapouT crew on their reality show last season and ended up winning a fight outdoors in New Jersey (video here, a highlight here.) with Jeff Curran in his corner. Whatever happened to him? He was right on the doorstep of being one of the top, young featherweights in the game.
Guess what? We found him.
After almost a year away from the sport, Fiordirosa is just now getting back to training. A standout wrestler in high school, Fiordirosa owns wins over some pretty notable guys - HDNet Fights veteran Tristan Yunker and former WEC bantamweight champion Chase Beebe among them. We were lucky enough to have a chance to talk to Matt, who touched a number of things including the reasoning behind his hiatus, his increase in popularity following the show, and where he’s currently training at these days.
Jeff Curran weighs-in for WEC 29: Condit vs Larson. Photo property of World Extreme Cagefighting.
A heavily rumored bout between former WEC title contender Jeff Curran and newcomer Mike Brown will likely happen at World Extreme Cagefighting’s next event on June 1st, however contracts have not yet been signed.
In a recent interview with MMA Weekly, Curran revealed that WEC officials have informed him and Brown that they would be fighting each other but have yet to send out any paperwork that would set things in stone.
“I have been told and Mike has been told that we are facing each other, but we don’t have contracts yet,” Curran said. “That announcement will become official soon I am sure. I am just so ready to go fight again.”
Curran was last submitted by Urijah Faber in December in a failed bid for the WEC featherweight title. Before the loss to Faber, Curran was riding a six-fight winning streak and had won fifteen out of his last sixteen bouts stretching back to 2004.
After competing in smaller promotions for years, Brown had his coming-out party in July 2006 with a surprising unanimous decision win over longtime veteran Yves Edwards. Brown last submitted Manny Reyes Jr. at a Premier X-treme Fighting in December.
WEC 34 will also feature a highly-anticipated featherweight title clash between current champion Urijah Faber and former UFC lightweight champion Jens Pulver.
LAS VEGAS - With three world titles on the line as well as the return of a true mixed martial arts legend, the World Extreme Cagefighting event on Wednesday, December 12th is not only the biggest and best WEC show of the year, it may be the greatest card in the six year history of the organization.
Featuring WEC Featherweight Champion “The California Kid” Urjiah Faber against Jeff “Big Frog” Curran, “The Rhino” Doug Marshall defending his Light Heavyweight title against Cuba’s own Ariel Gandulla, Paulo Filho returning to the Cage to defend his WEC Middleweight crown, and former UFC Lightweight Champion Jens “Lil’ Evil” Pulver making his WEC debut at 145 lbs. against rising star Cub Swanson, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas will be rocked off its foundations by the most explosive MMA action of 2007.
WEC: Faber vs. Curran will be televised live nationally on VERSUS beginning at 9:00 pm ET/6:00 pm PT.
The WEC has announced through the notification of a new contract extension with Versus that WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah Faber will defend his belt against Jeff Curran on December 12:
The next live fight will air December 12 and will feature featherweight champion Urijah Faber (19-1-0) as he defends his title against Jeff Curran (16-6-1). Additional fights on the card will be announced as information becomes available.
Faber (19-1) originally won the title from former WEC Featherweight Champion Cole Escovedo at WEC 19. Since then he has defended the title three times, defeating Joe Pearson, Dominic Cruz, and Chance Farrar respectively.
Curran is a UFC and WEC veteran who sports a professional MMA record of 28-8-1. Curran made his WEC debut at WEC 29 where he won an unanimous decision over Stephen Ledbetter.