Evening News and Notes - August 9, 2009

Ben Rothwell. Photo by Tracy Lee. Courtesy of CombatLifestyle.com

Report: Rothwell-Rizzo to Happen at Affliction II

Former IFL heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell will attempt to bounce back from his first loss in three years when he reportedly takes on three-time UFC heavyweight title challenger Pedro Rizzo at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” event on October 11th in Las Vegas according to MMANews.com, which cites Affliction VP Tom Atencio as confirming the fight.

At Affliction’s debut show last month, Rothwell suffered a third-round knockout loss to former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski while Rizzo was defeated in a rematch against Josh Barnett, another former UFC title holder. Barnett knocked Rizzo out with a left in the second round of their fight.

WVR Announces Middleweight GP Participants

World Victory Road has announced four of the fighters that will compete in their inaugural middleweight grand prix, which will begin at “Sengoku V” on September 28th at the Yoyogi National First Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan. Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, Jorge Santiago, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Siyar Bahadurzada will all compete in first-round bouts.

The organization also stated that the winner of August 24th’s bout between Frank Trigg and Makoto Takimoto would likely enter the grand prix fray. The tournament’s winner is expected to take on Kazuo Misaki for the promotion’s vacant middleweight title either late this year or early next year.

Report: Reljic-Leites Signed for UFC 90

Upstart Goran Reljic, who shocked many with his surprising win over Wilson Gouveia at UFC 84 in May, will now serve as a replacement opponent for skilled grappler Thales Leites at UFC 90: Silva vs. Cote on October 25th in Rosemont, Illinois.

The news comes from MMA Weekly, which has confirmed with sources close to both fighters that the bout has been signed. Reljic replaces middleweight contender Dean Lister, who was forced to pull out of the fight after suffering a knee injury during a recent training session.

Thompson to Return at Cage Rage 28

James Thompson will mark his first return to action since being defeated by EliteXC heavyweight sensation Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson in May, taking on Polish heavyweight Piotr Kusmierz at Cage Rage 28: VIP on September 20th in London, England.

The organization officially announced the bout earlier today. It will mark the first time that Thompson has fought inside the confines of Cage Rage since July of last year when he suffered a knockout loss to Neil Grove. Kusmierz last dropped a decision to Stav Economou at Cage Rage 27.

White Confirms UFC/WEC Weight Class Merger

Amidst lingering rumors that Zuffa was planned on merging the WEC’s light heavyweight and middleweight classes with the UFC, company president Dana White confirmed the potential switch on yesterday’s edition of TAGG Radio according to MMA Junkie.

White refused to go into any specifics in terms of an official timetable for the switch, but did say that the process was currently in motion. There were no comments on other rumors that have the UFC’s lightweight division moving to the WEC nor the addition of a flyweight division under the Zuffa banner.

Reis-Quach Likely at EliteXC’s October 4th Show

Rising prospect Wilson Reis will likely take on a streaking Bao Quach at EliteXC’s scheduled October 4th show on CBS. The bout will crown the promotion’s first featherweight champion. Reis confirmed the bout himself with Tatame.com, stating that he has already begun his training for Quach.

However Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that while Reis is prepared to accept the proposed bout, Quach’s camp has not shown any desire to do so. Part of Reis’ management team, Matt Stansell suggests that “there is some concern” that Quach may not be interested in taking the fight at this time.


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