News and Notes
- Reaction from last night’s Ultimate Fighter 6 episode:
UFC: Matt Hughes’ Blog – Week Eleven; The Ultimate Fighter Serra vs Hughes – Episode Eleven Recap
Sherdog: Sherdog.com’s Guide to TUF 6
The Fight Network: Speer Into TUF 6 Semis
MMA Junkie: “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Hughes vs. Team Serra” — Episode No. 11 Recap
MMA Mania: Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 recap and discussion
Five Ounces of Pain: TUF 6: Episode 11 Recap/Thoughts
UFC Daily: The Ultimate Fighter 6: Episode 11 Recap
Steve Cofield: Ben Saunders has his say
Chicago Sun-Times: John Kolosci’s TUF diary, Episode 10
- MMA Weekly is reporting that Leonard Garcia will be moving to the WEC to compete in the featherweight division according to Garcia’s trainer Greg Jackson:
“Leonard (Garcia) is such a great fighter and a strong guy, but he walks around at like three pounds over weight,” said Jackson about his fighter’s move to featherweight. “He had to eat the morning of the weigh-ins the last time. We’ve got to bring him down a weight class where he’s going to be more effective. We talked after his last fight and 145 is where he’s going to be. I’m really looking forward to proving ourselves in that division in the WEC.”
- Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto will take on former WEC bantamweight contender Rani Yahya at K-1 “Premium 2007 Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve according to a report from Sports Navi.
Touch of gloves to The Fight Network for that one.
- Sam Caplan has some pretty big news to report…
First off, apparently Andre Gusmao will not be fighting David Heath at UFC 81 because he’s not even signed with the UFC:
Several reports have surfaced in the last 48 hours claiming that Andre Gusmao will be debuting for the UFC at UFC 81 on February 2 against David Heath. Pro Elite has learned that those reports are incorrect, as the IFL has a contract option to retain Gusmao for the 2008 season and will be exercising that option.
The UFC had been in discussions with someone falsely claiming to be representing Gusmao and misrepresenting information during the faux negotiations. According to the source, the UFC was contacted by the IFL soon after hearing the reports of Gusmao’s departure.
Secondly, Caplan has learned that M-1 Global is leaning towards holding their first-ever event at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ in March, which is good for this site because of a short traveling distance.
- Adam Morgan at Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Dan Barrera and Ben Saunders will rematch at The Ultimate Fighter 6 Finale next Saturday.
London Free Press: He’s called the Crosby of fighting
Sherdog: Politics of Promoting on New Year’s Eve in Japan
MMA Opinion: We Found Rampage!
Bloody Elbow: How Dana White Blew It in 2007
MMA Analyst: Sengoku won’t prove who is the Fight Master
Officials running the Yarennoka! show scheduled to take place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan held a press conference earlier today to announce two additional bouts for the event.
Reigning K-1 lightweight tournament champion Gesias Calvancanti will face Shinya Aoki for the first time in their respective careers.
Calvancanti had a monster year in 2007, stopping Nam Phan, Vitor Ribeiro, and Andre Amade in consecutive fights to win the K-1 Hero’s lightweight tourney for the second straight year. Calvancanti’s lone career loss came at the hands of Joachim Hansen at a Shooto event in 2004.
Aoki is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Brian Lo-A-Njoe at PRIDE 34 in April and earning a close split decision win over highly touted welterweight Akira Kikuchi at Shooto’s first “Back to our Roots” show in February.
The second bout announced at the press conference was Hayato “Mach” Sakurai returning to action against Hidehiko Hasegawa.
Sakurai last fought at PRIDE 33 where he knocked out current Ultimate Fighter contestant Mac Danzig.
Sakurai’s confirmed participation as this event should dispel the rumor that he had signed with the UFC to compete at welterweight. The UFC even showed him as a UFC welterweight during a PPV broadcast earlier this year but I’m assuming that contract talks thought to be a done deal may have fell apart. Either that or Sakurai is being lent to the show by Zuffa.
Hasegawa has been fairly active in 2007, earning a majority decision win over Jutaro Nakao in his first bout of the year. Hasegawa then faced Dong Hyun Kim in consecutive fights; Kim defeated Hasegawa in August by TKO before the two fought to a draw last month.
An official opponent for Fedor Emelianenko was not announced at the press conference. Officials present included M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox, FEG president Sadaharu Tanigawa, former PRIDE official Nobuhiko Takada and DEEP president Shigeru Saeki.
Sergei Kharitonov will return to action against “Mighty Mo” Siala Siliga at K-1 Premium Dynamite!! on New Year’s Eve.
Kharitonov confirmed the bout on his official website this week. The Russian heavyweight is undefeated so far in 2007, submitting Michael Russow at PRIDE 33 in February and stopping Alistair Overeem with strikes at K-1 Hero’s 11 in September.
Like his counterpart, Siliga is also 2-0 this year. “Mighty Mo” picked up impressive victories over Min Soo Kim and Ruben Villareal at separate K-1 events.
Yoshihiro Akiyama spoiled Denis Kang)‘s HERO’S debut with a KO victory tonight at the HERO’S Korea 2007. Held before a boisterous sellout crowd at the Jang Chung Gymnasium, the HERO’S Korea 2007 was a staggeringly ambitious production—featuring no less than 24 fighters in 12 bouts contested under HERO’S mixed martial arts rules.
The main event, keenly anticipated by fight sport fans in Korea, Japan and around the world, saw Yoshihiro Akiyama of Japan take on Canadian Denis Kang.
Akiyama, the HERO’S 2006 Light Middleweight Champion, was returning to action after serving a suspension for over-oiling his body at the HERO’S Dynamite event last New Year’s Eve. The slippery 32 year-old Japanese judoka faced a formidable opponent in Kang, a 30 year-old Canadian mixed martial arts fighter who packs a heck of a punch, and was making his HERO’S debut. The bout was contested with an 85kg/187lbs weight contract.
Kang threw the first strike, a low kick, then tested with jabs and straight punches. Both men kept their guards high, in no rush to close there were more jabs, straight punches and low kicks. Akiyama, fighting in shorts instead of his judogi, stayed at the perimeter, circling to his left, while Kang, head down, followed with the occasional punching attack—textbook combinations which Akiyama capably evaded or blocked. Meanwhile, in an effective if unspectacular manner, Akiyama was getting through with counters, picking his spots, putting the more surgical strikes forward. By midway through the first, Kang’s nose was bloodied.
Somewhat surprisingly, it was Kang who made the first and only takedown attempt in the fight. Equally surprising, Akiyama would have none of it, electing to fight this one on his feet. Time was running down in the first when Kang backed himself into the corner, intent perhaps on making his circling opponent approach him squarely. The tactic backfired miserably however, when Akiyama stepped in with a dandy little move, feigning a left, then another, before bringing the right in hard. Kang collapsed to the mat, Akiyama quickly planting another right for good measure before stepping back to let the referee through to call it. An impressive win for Akiyama.
“My mother supported me through the problems I had over the last year,” said Akiyama post-bout. “She was ringside tonight and I just want to say thanks to her and all my fans. I think I won because I was relaxed, when I saw that my jab had made Denis’ nose start bleeding, it made a big difference, gave me more confidence and helped me relax and focus even more. I hope to fight again soon, but it would not be right for me to expect I will be invited to Dynamite this year, we’ll see.”
Choi Young def. Masanori Tonowoka - TKO (Strikes)
Magomed Sultanakhmadov def. Eun Soo - TKO (Strikes)
Poai Suganuma def. Bernard Ackah - Submission (Reverse Crucifix)
Daisuke Nakamura def. Kwon Ah-sol - Submission (Armbar)
Min Suk Heo def. Katsuyori Shibata - TKO (Strikes)
Shungo Oyama def. Carlos Newton - Submission (Strikes)
Dae Won Kim def. Marcelo Garcia - TKO (Cut)
Tae Hyun Lee def. Yoshihisa Yamamoto - TKO (Strikes)
Min Soo Kim def. Ikuhisa Minowa - TKO (Strikes)
Zelg Galesic def. Taiei Kin - TKO (Cut)
Dong Sik Yoon def. Fabio Silva - Submission (Armbar)
Yoshihiro Akiyama def. Denis Kang - KO (Punch)
K-1 parent company FEG held a press conference earlier this week to officially announce that Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will meet for the first time in their careers on New Year’s Eve at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!! at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan.
Rickson Gracie was originally rumored to be on the card but will now most likely fight early next year according to FEG officials, against the winner of Sakuraba-Funaki:
“I want to have Rickson fight as soon as possible next year,” said FEG President Sadaharu Tanigawa. “Even if it is not in our ring, even in another organization, I would send these champions to fight.”
Gracie was originally set to take on Funaki for the second time in his career at the event but it was Funaki who decided that he would rather face a different opponent:
“I’ve already lost once to Rickson, so Sakuraba is the better choice,” Funaki said.
Other fighters Tanigawa mentioned as possibilities to fight on the card include Hidehiko Yoshida, Kid Yamamoto, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Ikuhisa Minowa, Katsuyori Shibata, and Masato Kobayashi.
K-1 parent company FEG announced that Japanese legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Masakatsu Funaki will clash for the first time on December 31st at the Kyocera Dome in Osaka, Japan at K-1 Premium 2007 Dynamite!!
Sakuraba (22-10-1-2) is 2-1 so far in 2007, submitting Yurij Kiseliov and Katsuyori Shibata while losing an unanimous decision to long-time rival Royce Gracie over the summer.
Funaki (38-11-1) has not fought since May of 2000 when he was submitted my Rickson Gracie at C2K: Colosseum 2000.
Speaking of Rickson Gracie, he is rumored to also be on the card, possibly making his return against Hidehiko Yoshida.
Fight Entertainment Group president Sadaharu Tanigawa has announced that PRIDE veteran Denis Kang (27-8-1) will face Yoshihiro Akiyama (9-1) at the October 28th HERO’s show in Seoul, South Korea.
Tanigawa also announced that BJJ phenom Marcelo Garcia will make his MMA debut against Dae Won Kim (3-3) with the fight taking place at 181 lbs. Former UFC welterweight champion Carlos Newton (13-12) will make his return to the ring for the first time in nearly 8 months when he faces Shungo Oyama (6-10) at a catch-weight of 198 lbs.
K-1 Hero’s Oct. 28 Card
Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Denis Kang
Marcelo Garcia vs. Dae Won Kim
Dong Sik Yoon vs. Fabio Silva
Zelg Galesic vs. Taiei Kin
Ikuhisa Minowa vs. Min Soo Kim
Carlos Newton vs. Shungo Oyama
Lee Tae Hyun vs. Yoshihisa Yamamoto
Bernard Ackah vs. Poai Suganuma
News and Notes
- I would try and elaborate more on the closing of the PRIDE offices in Japan but instead I’ll leave it to the two that can do it best:
- The California State Athletic Commission has announced the all fighters that participated in last weekend’s Strikeforce event, with the exception of Adam Smith, have all tested negative for performance enhancing drugs and drugs of abuse.
- Both K-1 Hero’s and Pancrase have announced details about their upcoming events…
Denis Kang, Yoshihiro Akiyama, Dong Sik Yoon, and Taiei Kin are all said to be part of K-1 Hero’s October 28th event at the Jangchung Gymnasium in Seoul, South Korea.
Pancrase has officially announced three bouts for it’s October 14th show - Middleweight King of Pancrase Yuichi Nakanishi will defend his title against Izuru Takeuchi, heavyweights Tatsuya Mizunoa and Masayuki Kono will collide, and Wataru Takahash takes on Shinsuke Shoji.
Daiki Hata will also be on the card against an opponent that has not yet been announced.
- Matt Hamill made a post on his official website yesterday concerning the booking of the Rashad Evans-Michael Bisping matchup at UFC 78:
Wow! Let me just say… I am in shock. First, I get hosed by two judges in London and now the much anticipated rematch has evaporated in front of my eyes. I’m starting to feel like the deck is stacked against me. Duff, my trainer/manager told me he thought something like this would happen when he read Bisping’s statement on the internet. He said it looked like Bisping was looking for a way out of the rematch. I posted a statement about my knee surgery on 9/25 so everyone would know it was minor, and I would be ready by mid December. I didn’t think six weeks was that long of a wait, apparently, Bisping and the UFC did. I am so hungry to fight. I had surgery to add wrestling back to my arsenal. I fought Bisping’s fight at UFC 75 and I was looking forward to fighting my fight in the rematch. I feel honored that so many people have told me I won the fight in London. It makes the decision easier for me to accept. I want to fight… I want to fight ASAP! Hopefully the UFC will schedule a fight for me soon. I would like to fight in December or January and hopefully Bisping after that… If Bisping has the guts to do it again.
- Adam Swift of UFC Daily is reporting via Dave Meltzer that Sean Sherk has passed a lie detector test concerning his usage of steroids:
Sean Sherk passed a lie detector test saying that he did not knowingly use steroids. While certainly not conclusive, it can’t hurt his chances at getting his suspension over turned or at the very least reduced.
SEOUL – The K-1 World Grand Prix ‘07 Final Eight were determined at the Seoul Olympic Complex Saturday night. Sunday, in the Grand Ballroom of the COEX Intercontinental hotel, the first-tier matchups were set for the Dec. 8 Yokohama Arena GP Final.
The pairings were decided with a system that combines choice and chance. One after the other, in an order decided by lot, the fighters were free to select any available position on the tournament tree.