The Ultimate Fighting Championship today announced three main card fights for UFC 84: Ill Will, which will take place on May 24th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event will be headlined by a bad blood-filled UFC lightweight title bout that pits current champion B.J. Penn up against former champion Sean Sherk.
Penn claimed the vacant title with a bloody submission win over top contender Joe Stevenson last month at UFC 80: Rapid Fire. Penn has been vehement in his comments towards Sherk, who after successfully defending his belt against Hermes Franca last July, tested positive for steroids under the watch of the California State Athletic Commission and was stripped of his title.
The two exchanged barbs following Penn’s title win in January.
“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.”
Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will go up against an undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be Ortiz’s last with the UFC. The bout will be the final one on Ortiz’s current contract with the promotion.
According to Ortiz, he was expecting a rematch against former “Ultimate Fighter” winner Rashad Evans, whom Ortiz battled to a draw with at UFC 73: Stacked last summer in his last fight. Machida has yet to lose inside the confines of the UFC. He was last seen submitting Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou in December.
A showdown between former PRIDE light heavyweight champion Wanderlei Silva and former “Ultimate Fighter” contestant turned upstart contender Keith Jardine will also take place at the event. A bout between the two was rumored for well over a month.
The reasoning behind the bout is pretty much elementary at this point. After the UFC booked Rashad Evans and Ryoto Machida for scheduled bouts at the same event, it became likely that Silva and Jardine would be paired up. Both Silva and Jardine are coming off of fights against former champion Chuck Liddell. Jardine won a unanimous decision over Liddell last September but Silva ended up going the distance with Liddell in December and losing.
The bout will be Silva’s second inside the confines of the UFC since returning to the promotion after a seven-year stint in PRIDE. A win over Silva will move Jardine that much closer to a well-deserved title shot.
As I’m sure regular visitors to this site have noticed, we haven’t had many updates since Saturday afternoon. A combination of David moving, others not being around, and myself coming down with the flu attributed to that. However fear not as we’re back in business. So here’s us playing catch-up once again, hopefully for the last time in a long time.
UFC 81 Generates Approximately 650,000 Buys
UFC 81: Breaking Point, which featured Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira defeating former two-time champion Tim Sylvia to win the interim UFC heavyweight belt and fellow former heavyweight title holder Frank Mir submitting one-time professional wrestler and WWE superstar Brock Lesnar, generated close to 650,000 PPV buys according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer.
In my interview at Jarry Park leading up to UFC 81, I mentioned that the UFC would likely be pleased with the amount of buys the event would generate, mostly because of the mainstream popularity of Lesnar from his various ventures in professional sports. It turns out UFC 81 will now rank as the third-highest-grossing event in UFC history.
Future Fights Galore!
A good amount of upcoming fights have been revealed over the past few days. Lightweights Jeremy Stephens and Terry Etim will meet at UFC 84 in May according to MMA Junkie, who confirmed that both fighters have agreed to sign bout agreements. Five Ounces of Pain has learned that Doug Evans has been released from the UFC and has signed on with EliteXC, who will pit him against Wilson Reis in his debut in April.
Gracie Fighter has announced that Nate Diaz has been added to UFC Fight Night 13 on April 2nd, making that an unheard of eleven total fights on that card. MMA Junkie says that he’s expected to face Kurt Pellegrino. Major props are in order to our friends at Fightlinker, who have reportedly successfully petitioned to have Spike TV increase the broadcast time of the event from two hours to three.
Nick Diaz will return to action against Muhsin Corbbrey according to Five Ounces of Pain. Don’t believe what “Babalu” says, Tito Ortiz-Ryoto Machida is still on according to Ed Soares, who serves as Machida’s manager. Chris Fries of TAGG Radio’s Lights Out Show confirmed that the fight was still a go with Soares earlier today.
Wanderlei Silva says that he would consider a drop down to middleweight in order to rematch Dan Henderson. Denis Kang tells The Fight Network that he will participate in DREAM’s middleweight grand prix in April. Gracie Mag has details about the first toxicology report released concerning Ryan Gracie’s death. Paul Buentello tells MMA Weekly that he wants Kimbo Slice.
Photo courtesy of TitoOritz.com
Is the UFC about to lose yet another star?
Former light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has announced that he has accepted a proposed fight against undefeated Lyoto Machida in a fight that will likely be his last with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Ortiz made the announcement earlier today during an interview with Mauro Ranallo on The Fight Network’s daily radio show.
The two are expected to meet at a UFC event in May at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The bout will be the final one on Ortiz’s current contract with the promotion.
According to Ortiz, he was expecting a rematch against former Ultimate Fighter winner Rashad Evans, whom Ortiz battled to a draw with at UFC 73: Stacked this past summer. Now Ortiz seems to be content to take his skills elsewhere.
“I was expecting a bigger fight. I think the fans were expecting a bigger fight,” Ortiz said on the radio show earlier today. “I got pressed into it, and all of a sudden, it’s all over the Internet that Tito Ortiz won’t fight Machida. I’m just looking to get my final fight over with the UFC.”
Ortiz is yet another former UFC star that has now decided to take their services elsewhere in recent months. Current heavyweight champion Randy Couture resigned from the company this past fall, citing a lack of respect and monetary issues among the reasons behind his decision.
Dana White, the same man that once called Couture his hero, is now helping lawyers prepare a lawsuit against him.
Former heavyweight titleholder Andrei Arlovski will now finish out his contract in March as he expected to take on Jake O’Brien at UFC 82.
Fighters come and go as we all know. I just wish it didn’t have to be this way.
NBC has released a nice video introducing each of the women American Gladiators, including Gina Carano. She was pretty impressive last night in my opinion and I’m sure everyone got a kick out of her pulling guard during the “Pyramid” event. Another episode is on this evening in it’s normal time slot at 8:00 PM EST on NBC.
Cage Potato says that last night’s episode was terrible. I think it was bad but not that bad, with a few changes it’ll be better.
Here’s a little catch-up on some of the things that we may have missed over the weekend:
Bloody Elbow: Vince McMahon and the UFC
Houston Chronicle: Henderson supremely confident prepping for Silva
MMA Weekly: UFC Offers Machida Fight With Ortiz
TKO Xtreme: Xtreme Couture Coming to Toronto
Sherdog: Hardy Headed for U.S. in ‘08
MMA Junkie: Heath Herring Offered UFC 82 Fight with Cheick Kongo
Five Ounces of Pain: Xtreme Couture to field team at IFL opener on Feb. 29
Sam Caplan: Baroni talks career options and steroids
Fight Opinion: He’s back… Bob Meyrowitz
Our rumors page will be updated as soon as possible.
Matyushenko and Palaszewski Move to Chicago IFL Team
IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko and popular lightweight Bart Palaszewski have opted to leave their respective teams and join the new Chicago franchise in the IFL according to The Fight Network:
According to Palaszewski, the team will be affiliated with former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski’s team and trainers, and will include former Chicago Red Bear Mark Miller (8-2), and IFL light heavyweight champion Vladimir Matyushenko (20-3). Matyushenko transferred from the now-defunct Los Angeles Sabres team.
Palaszewski said the team will train at Sean Bormet’s Overtime School of Wrestling in suburban Naperville, home of Arlovski and Team Pitbull. Overtime’s coaching staff is comprised of wrestling standouts Bormet, Kerry Boumans, and John Kading, along with boxing trainer Mike Garcia and jiu-jitsu specialist Dino Costeas.
I thought it was the Tokyo Sabres and the Los Angeles Anacondas but whatever…
Pancrase Releases Partial Card for Jan 30 Event
Panrcrase has announced four scheduled bouts for the first event on it’s 2008 Shining Tour. The main event will feature Katsuya Inoue defending his welterweight King of Pancrase title against Satoru Kitaoka in the third career fight between the two.
The remainder of the card:
Daisuke Hanazawa vs. Wataru Takahashi
Shinsuke Shoji vs. Yuichi Ikari
Yuki Yamasawa vs. Seiya Kawahara
Fightlinker is also still taking e-mailed questions until 6:00 PM EST today for their usual “mailbag” show that will go up later tonight.
Photo by Ed Pollard.
Georges St. Pierre came closer to cementing his status as the top welterweight in the world when he gave future UFC hall-of-famer Matt Hughes a drubbing over the course of two rounds before submitting his idol with an armbar during the main event of last night’s UFC 79: Nemesis.
Hughes was originally slated to face fellow Ultimate Fighter 6 coach and current welterweight champ Matt Serra but Serra was forced to pull out of the bout after suffering herniated discs in his lower back during training. Hughes was then given a selective list of opponents that agreed to step in and the former nine-time champion picked St. Pierre in an attempt to try and avenge a prior loss to “Rush” at UFC 65 last year.
However it was obvious from the start of the fight that it was only a matter of time before St. Pierre was going to come away with a win. The Canadian took Hughes down at will throughout the first round, mounting his opponent and connecting with a number of unanswered punches while his opponent held on for dear life.
Hughes found his way back to his feet a couple of times but St. Pierre quickly put an end to that with wrestling skills that have made him consider possibly trying out for the Canadian Olympic wrestling squad next year.
The second round started off much like the first and after mounting and taking his opponent’s back, St. Pierre locked in an armbar that caused Hughes’ face to grimace in pain. The Hillsboro, Illinois native then verbally submitted to referee Steve Mazzagatti, ending the fight.
Many fans showed concern when St. Pierre took the fight on short notice as he would only have a little over a month to prepare for the bout. Training wasn’t an excuse for Hughes during a post-fight interview with UFC color commentator Joe Rogan.
“I came in 120 percent,” Hughes said. “I really trained hard for this fight. I brought in some of the best people and we really had a good game plan. Georges is just a better fighter.”
Hughes also acknowledged that he “had some thinking to do” in terms of continuing his career.
With the win, St. Pierre becomes the interim UFC welterweight champion. He will now wait for Serra to fully recover from his injury and the two will unify the belts at some point next year.
Even though he deserved the win with a show of complete domination, St. Pierre refused to consider himself the welterweight champion, as that distinction is held by the last man to defeat St. Pierre inside the Octagon.
“That’s why I’m going to take off this belt,” St. Pierre said after the fight. “Thanks to the UFC for giving me that; it’s a good honor, but the real champion is Matt Serra. Until I get my belt back, I’m not going to consider myself champion. Matt Serra that night beat me fair and square. He was the better man and I made many mistakes and had a lot of issues that night. Next time when I fight him, it might be a different story and people will understand what I’m talking about.”
We will be going live at 8:00 PM EST with live results of UFC 79: Nemesis, which is taking place at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The event is highlighted by Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre battling for the third time in their careers for the interim UFC Welterweight Title and the long-awaited matchup between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva.
Be sure to leave comments throughout the night.
Live results are shown after the jump.
The official weigh-in results for tomorrow night’s UFC 79: Nemesis are below. All fighters successfully made weight.
Things heated up really fast during the stare-down between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva. Silva empathically ripped off his shirt before approaching Liddell. After an intense stare-down between the two, Silva faked a move towards Liddell and Liddell responded by flipping his opponent the bird. Silva started to walk towards Liddell and officials and trainers all jumped in but order was quickly restored.
Matt Hughes (170 lbs) vs. Georges St. Pierre (170 lbs)
Chuck Liddell (204 lbs) vs. Wanderlei Silva (205 lbs)
Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (205 lbs) vs. Ryoto Machida (204 lbs)
Rich Clementi (155 lbs) vs. Melvin Guillard (156 lbs)
Eddie Sanchez (239 lbs) vs. Soa Palalei (262 lbs)
Dean Lister (186 lbs) vs. Jordan Radev (185 lbs)
James Irvin (205 lbs) vs. Luis Cane (205 lbs)
Roan Carneiro (170 lbs) vs. Tony DeSouza (170 lbs)
Manny Gamburyan (155 lbs) vs. Nate Mohr (155 lbs)
Doug Evans (155 lbs) vs. Mark Bocek (155 lbs)
John Chandler here, breaking down UFC 79: Nemesis fight-by-fight, including detailed predictions along the way.
UFC 79: Nemesis features ten fights including the third fight between Matt Hughes and Georges St. Pierre for the UFC Welterweight Title and the most anticipated fight in mixed martial arts history when Chuck Liddell takes on arch-rival Wanderlei Silva in a fight years in the making.
Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com has announced that the UFC has signed PRIDE veteran Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou and his debut will come against Ryoto Machida at UFC 79: Nemisis.
“Sokoudjou is an explosive athlete with heavy hands and great judo who is coming off huge back-to-back knockout wins over two top ten guys in Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira,” said UFC President Dana White. “Bringing him in just makes the stacked 205-pound division even stronger, and there are endless great matchups for him here in the UFC.”
“The African Assassin” (4-1) stormed onto the MMA scene in February when he destroyed top ranked light heavyweight, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, at PRIDE 33: Second Coming. Sokoudjou solidified his status as a top ten light heavyweight two months later at PRIDE 34: Kamikaze when he defeated BTT’s Ricardo Arona early in the first round.
“I’m looking very forward to this fight,” said Machida. “I know Sokoudjou doesn’t have a lot of fights, but the fights he’s had are big, and he has beaten some very big names in this sport. I think this is going to be a great fight, and I am looking forward to winning this fight, and to moving on and fighting for the UFC title.”
Sokoudjou is a native of Cameroon who currently trains with Dan Henderson at Team Quest in Temecula, California. Sokoudjou is a highly regarded judoka who won the 2001 US Open.
News and Notes
- The CSAC has announced that the following fighters have tested negative for performance enhancing drugs following post-fight testing for UFC 76: Thiago Tavares, Tyson Griffin, Ryoto Machida, Anthony Johnson, and Rich Clementi. The only test results from the event that haven’t been released yet are of Chuck Liddell, Mauricio Rua, Forrest Griffin, and Keith Jardine. The results for those fighters are expected to be released later in the week.
- Josh Thomson spoke with The Fight Network concerning a possible lawsuit Thomson may file against former UFC Middleweight Champion Frank Shamrock. Shamrock reportedly called Thomson “MMA’s first openly gay fighter” during this past weekend’s Strikeforce broadcast.
“I kind of snickered about it,” Thomson said, “but I also have had some big money sponsors coming up to me and asking me whether it was true or not. That potentially could cost me money, and that, to me, is basically what I’m getting at.”
I know that Thomson has some crazy hair and his appearance on “Blind Date” didn’t really go that well but I don’t believe Thomson is gay.
Thomson and Shamrock have had a feud going for well over a year now. Thomson attributes the tension due to the fact that Shamrock was angry that fighters from the American Kickboxing Academy decided against joining a new gym that Shamrock was opening. Shamrock has claimed in the past that Thomson has been bad mouthing him for years.
- Tonight’s episode of UFC Unleashed will feature Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs Jason Lambert from UFC 68 and Houston Alexander vs Keith Jardine from UFC 71. I’m not sure what the third fight on the broadcast will be. Don’t forget that The Ultimate Fighter is on right after that.
- Punch Drunk Gamer posted a recent interview with Josh Barnett where Barnett states that he would like to fight in Pancrase:
“I would like to be fighting in Pancrase. I would love to continue fighting there and hopefully I will get a chance to defend my belt this year. I have had some trouble with getting promoters to honor what they agreed to and cooperate with Pancrase to get a match set-up. So now that I am a free agent I would like to do it.”
Barnett has always noted in the past that he would like the chance to defend his belt in Pancrase as a stipulation in any contract he signs with an organization. However since talks haven’t gone anywhere with anyone, it seems that Barnett may do that before signing anywhere.
Touch of gloves to Five Ounces of Pain for the find.
- Ricco Rodriguez is going to headline Battle Cage Xtreme III in New Jersey on October 20th. He will take on Kauai Kupihiea for the USKBA Heavyweight Title.
- Speaking of Ricco, he’s apparently going to be a cast member of VH1’s newest reality show, Celebrity Rehab. The series debuts on January 10th.
- Fight Opinion wants you to help decide what they should discuss on their next radio show.
- In a recent interview with Sherdog’s John Lee, SpiritMC CEO Kwang Hyun Park stated that current SpiritMC Middleweight Champion Steve Bruno has signed with the UFC:
As for SpiritMC middleweight champion Steve Bruno, Park says, “As far as I know, Steve has signed with the UFC, but we have made it clear that he needs to defend his title.”