Jon Fitch. Photo by Adrian Valenzuela.
The UFC's latest trip to Australia was supposed to crown a clear-cut contender for Georges St. Pierre's welterweight title, regardless of whether he wanted to keep the belt following a potential win over Jake Shields in April.
Instead, things remain the same courtesy of a hotly-contested majority draw between Jon Fitch and B.J. Penn, leaving the welterweight division in limbo once again.
In addition, a win over Jorge Rivera has now catapulted Michael Bisping into the upper echelon of the UFC's middleweight ranks, but will his post-fight antics cost him a big fight in the near future?
Michael Bisping. Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC.
During all of the pre-fight banter leading up his anticipated meeting against Jorge Rivera, Michael Bisping claims that he took the high road. The Wolfslair product claimed that Rivera's series of YouTube videos mocking Bisping and posted up until the fight were childish.
Bisping insinuated that Rivera had taken things to a personal level, even going as far as to take shots at Bisping's family. According to Bisping, Rivera wasn't acting like a professional athlete.
Yet we fast forward to last night at UFC 127 in Australia, where during and following Bisping's second-round TKO of Rivera, the Brit was seen delivering a blatant illegal knee and attempting to wind up the crowd during Rivera's recovery time, flipping off and spitting at Rivera's cornermen and continuing to confront Rivera after the fight was over.
Jorge Rivera. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Despite a resounding win over one of the sport’s most renowned prospects last week, longtime veteran Jorge Rivera is contemplating retirement in the near future if one last run in the UFC’s middleweight division doesn’t result in above-average success:
“I think this might be my last year,” Rivera recently told MMAjunkie.com Radio. “I just want to buckle down, push real hard for this one year, and see what I can do.”
The 37-year-old announced that his status is now “fight to fight,” but added “I’ll see how my game is growing; I’ll see where I think I stand and take it from there.” Rivera cited increased wear and tear on his body, as well as family commitments, as two of the primary reasons why he feels this may be his final run in the UFC.
One of the things I neglected to touch on following last Wednesday’s event was how happy I was for Rivera that he was able to get a win in his first fight back after his daughter passed away last summer. Win or lose, Rivera always leaves everything he has in the cage/ring during his fights, and it’s his effort that has many fans appreciating what he has done over the past few years, despite his inconsistency.
A final run for the UFC middleweight belt seems unlikely to result in championship gold for Rivera, so I would assume that his retirement could come sooner rather than later. However that isn’t negative criticism towards his skills at all, just what history is saying. When everything is said and done, Rivera will be remembered as one of the sport’s toughest fighters. On any given night, he has been able to give the sport’s best a run for their money. His fights against Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva are evidence of that.
Wanderlei Silva. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Here’s a little mix of news and notes that we missed over the past few days…
Jackson-Silva III Likely for UFC 91
Amidst lingering rumors that the two were set to rematch later this year, it seems that former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will reportedly indeed take on longtime PRIDE middleweight title holder Wanderlei Silva at UFC 91 on November 15 according to MMA Junkie.
Sources within the Wolfslair camp, which Jackson recently joined after parting ways with trainer Juanito Ibarra, have said that Jackson has agreed to the fight and has already begun training. Attempts to contact Wolfslair co-owner Anthony McGann for confirmation by MMA on Tap were unsuccessful.
Jackson and Silva have fought on two separate occasions and Silva was victorious in both fighters. Silva stopped Jackson with strikes in the first round of their original meeting at PRIDE Final Conflict 2003 and then scored a second-round knockout of him at PRIDE 28 four years ago.
Thiago Alves. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
All things must eventually come to an end.
Matt Hughes hasn’t officially retired, but his career is now visibly coming to an end. While two straight losses to current welterweight king Georges St. Pierre are nothing to be alarmed about, Hughes, who once said that he would hang up the gloves before becoming anyone’s highlight reel, was stunned again yesterday afternoon at the UFC’s latest event in London courtesy of a Thiago Alves’ flying knee.
Alves, who failed to make weight for the fight and forced the bout to take place at a catch-weight of 174 lbs, was in control from the start of the fight, evading multiple takedown attempts from Hughes, a former All-American collegiate wrestler.
However Hughes was eventually able to take Alves down to the canvas late in the first round. Despite not mounting much offense, Hughes was able to control Alves from top position for a good portion of the round before Alves reversed position and worked some ground-and-pound of his own before the horn sounded to end the stanza.
The second round saw Hughes take a knee to the face after trying another early takedown. The blow opened a cut near the former champion’s mouth and Hughes found himself on his back and avoiding strikes from Alves yet again. After landing a few hard punches, a scramble allowed both fighters to get back to their feet.
Alves then rushed Hughes and connected with a flying knee that sent the Miletich Fighting Systems product crumbling to the mat, his left knee awkwardly bending behind him. Alves pounced on a defenseless Hughes and connected with a couple of unanswered shots before referee Herb Dean stepped in to halt the bout.
Antoni Hardonk def. Eddie Sanchez - TKO
Paul Taylor def. Jess Liaudin - Split Decision, R3
Luis Cane def. Jason Lambert - TKO
Kevin Burns def. Roan Carneiro - Submission (Triangle Choke)
Matt Wiman def. Thiago Tavares - KO
Martin Kampmann def. Jorge Rivera - Submission (Guillotine Choke)
Fabricio Werdum def. Brandon Vera - TKO
Thales Leites def. Nate Marquardt - Split Decision
Mike Swick def. Marcus Davis - Unanimous Decision
Michael Bisping def. Jason Day - TKO
Thiago Alves def. Matt Hughes - TKO
Marcus Davis throws a right hand at Paul Taylor. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
The Ultimate Fighting Championship today made five previously rumored bouts official for their next event overseas: UFC 85: Liddell vs Evans.
The event will be highlighted by a light heavyweight contenders clash between former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and Rashad Evans, who will be replacing an injured Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. Heavyweights Brandon Vera and Fabricio Werdum are also slated to collide.
Among the bouts that will be featured on the televised portion of the pay-per-view includes a much-anticipated showdown between exciting welterweights Marcus Davis and Mike Swick, who only hold one loss each in a combined total of fourteen fights.
Martin Kampmann will return to action for the first time since submitting Drew McFedries at UFC 68 last March against Jorge Rivera, who is coming off of an upset stoppage of Kendall Grove in January.
Additional fights that were announced include the following: Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites, Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera, Thiago Tavares vs. Matt Wiman, and Luis Arthur Cane vs. Jason Lambert .
The rumored fight card for the event now looks like this:
Chuck Liddell vs. Rashad Evans
Fabricio Werdum vs. Brandon Vera
Nate Marquardt vs. Thales Leites
Marcus Davis vs. Mike Swick
Martin Kampmann vs. Jorge Rivera
Ryo Chonan vs. Roan Carneiro*
Thiago Tavares vs. Matt Wiman
Jess Liaudin vs. Paul Taylor*
Luis Arthur Cane vs. Jason Lambert
Neil Wain vs. Antoni Hardonk*
* - not yet confirmed by UFC.
Martin Kampmann weighs-in for The Ultimate Fighter 4 Finale. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Martin Kampmann will return to action after over a year of inactivity due to two separate injuries on a previously injured right knee when he takes on Jorge Rivera at the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s next overseas event in London this June.
The news comes from our friends at MMA Junkie, who confirmed the fight with Kampmann’s manager, Ken Pavia. Although bout agreements have not yet been signed, both fighters have verbally agreed to fight.
UFC 85 in June is also expected to feature a light heavyweight dream match between former champion Chuck Liddell and Chute Boxe product Mauricio “Shogun” Rua as well as the next fight for welterweight contender Marcus Davis, who has won six straight fights inside the confines of the promotion.
Kampmann had won his first three fights in the UFC over Drew McFedries, Crafton Wallace, and Thales Leites respectively before he accepted a showdown against former middleweight champion Rich Franklin last June. Kampmann was forced to pull out of the fight due to the knee injury.
Rivera recently re-energized his rollercoaster career with a surprising upset of Kendall Grove at UFC 80: Rapid Fire in January.
At first glance, I’d have to say that Kampmann is the favorite going into this fight. While both he and Rivera are equally dangerous strikers, Kampmann is well-versed in the submissions department and would likely be able to submit Rivera with ease if the fight goes to the ground, as one of Rivera’s downfalls throughout the course of his career has been his lack of jiu-jitsu skills.
B.J. Penn throws a jab at Joe Stevenson during their championship bout at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Photo property of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
In a night of quick fights and surprising stoppages, one thing remains the same: B.J. Penn is still that damn good.
Penn submitted former Ultimate Fighter contestant Joe Stevenson with a rear naked choke in the second round to claim the vacant UFC lightweight title and become the second fighter in history along with current heavyweight champ Randy Couture to win championship gold in two different weight classes.
The lively 8,412 inside the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England saw Penn surprise Stevenson with an uppercut that sent the California native down to the mat in the opening seconds. Penn pounced on his opponent but Stevenson was able to maintain his composure and survive Penn’s initial assault.
The former welterweight champion controlled Stevenson on the ground for the remainder of the first round, opening up a vicious cut in the middle of Stevenson’s forehead with just over a minute left in the round. Stevenson would end up donning a crimson mask for the rest of the fight.
The two had an even exchange on the feet to start the second stanza but that ended once Penn started to pick Stevenson apart with looping lefts and uppercuts. The bout was stopped at one point to have the doctor check Stevenson’s cut but the stream of blood avoiding Stevenson’s eyes already gave those watching the doctor’s answer.
Stevenson fell victim to another Penn (12-4-1) uppercut once the bout was restarted, signaling the beginning of the end for “Daddy.” Penn used punches and elbows to force Stevenson (28-8) out of position enough to be able to give up his back, which Penn quickly took without a second thought.
Penn was able to sink in a rear naked choke and Stevenson was forced to tap out without putting up much of a fight. The win finally gave Penn the UFC lightweight title in what was his third career attempt at the belt.
After the fight Penn acknowledged that he was trying to make his third try a successful one.
“Joe is a great guy,” said Penn. “I knew he was going to be tough, but I put everything into this. I wanted to make sure it was three times the charm and not three strikes you’re out.”
Penn also went out of his way to send former champion Sean Sherk a message now that Sherk will be challenging Penn in his first title defense later this year.
“Hey Sean Sherk, you’re dead,” Penn shouted during his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Sherk, who was cage-side doing color commentary on the bout along with Rogan and UFC play-by-play announcer Mike Goldberg, stormed into the Octagon and picked up a microphone right after Penn made his comment.
“That belt belongs to me,” said Sherk. “You’ve got one more fight before you can be called lightweight champ.”
We will be going live at 1:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 80: Rapid Fire, which will take place live from the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
UFC 80 features a lightweight championship bout between former welterweight title holder B.J. Penn and top contender and Ultimate Fighter 2 winner Joe Stevenson. Also on the card is a rematch between Gabriel Gonzaga and Fabricio Werdum and a welterweight clash between Marcus Davis and Jess Liaudin.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the afternoon and night.
Live results are shown after the jump.