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The UFC would consider giving Rashad Evans an immediate title shot against Anderson Silva

Dana White: 'I'd consider Rashad' Evans for middleweight title shot
www.mmajunkie.com

While the undefeated Weidman (9-0 MMA, 5-0 UFC) is still in the running for a shot at UFC middleweight champion and pound-for-pound kingpin Anderson Silva (33-4 MMA, 16-0 UFC), White threw another possibility into the mix: UFC 156 co-headliner and light heavyweight Rashad Evans.

“I would consider Rashad,” White said. “If Rashad won on Saturday night and wanted to go to 185, we would consider that.”

...

“A lot of people think Chris Weidman is the No. 1 contender right now,” White said. “If Rashad made a move from 205 down to 185, it’d be safe to say he’s now No. 1.”

Chris Weidman can't catch a break.

And maybe this will finally be the fuel Evans needs to make the drop.

Dana White is glad to be done with Randy Couture

Dana White Happy to Never Have to Do Business with Randy Couture Again
www.mmaweekly.com

“Randy Couture comes off as the greatest guy in the world, Captain America.  He’s the furthest thing from it, and I’m happy to not be in business with him anymore,” said White during the UFC 156 media day on Thursday. “Now I don’t have to be in business with him ever again.”

White’s comments may come as a shock to some, but he maintains they won’t be a shock to anyone that actually knows Couture.

“99.9 percent of the people, that won’t be shocking at all, people that actually know him, not people who watch him on TV,” said White.

It's no surprise that White is angry at Couture for doing this. As an ambassador for the UFC, who appears almost weekly on UFC programming, he has every right to be. However, in terms of doing what he feels is best for him, Couture has always marched to his own beat. We need to look no further than '07 for proof of that.

I've always heard rumors of about Couture being a completely different person behind the scenes, but never lent much credence to them. Maybe it's the case after all.

“TUF 17” averages 1.3 million viewers during second episode on FX

TUF 17 TV Ratings Dip Slightly, but Remain Strong Two Weeks into the Season
www.mmaweekly.com

The Ultimate Fighter: Team Jones vs. Team Sonnen opened to the series’ strongest ratings ever since making the move to FX last January.

The third season on FX opened to 1.51 million viewers.

...

We’re only two episodes into the TUF 17 season, but the early returns are good. The second week of the series held strong at 1.3 million viewers in the follow-up to last week’s two-hour season premier.

The ratings are an obvious improvement over the past few seasons already but it remains to be seen what exactly the jump in ratings can be attributed to. Is it the star power of coaches Jon Jones and Chael Sonnen, or is it the style of filming that is drawing in viewers?

UFC veteran Assuerio Silva shot five times in Brazil, in serious condition

Report: UFC Veteran Assuerio Silva in Serious Condition After Shooting in Brazil
www.sherdog.com

UFC veteran Assuerio Silva was shot Tuesday evening outside his gym in Curitiba, Brazil, according to a report from Brazilian news outlet Parana Online.

Silva, 38, was allegedly shot five times by a former associate, whom Silva reportedly identified as Robson Freitas. The Brazilian was reportedly taken to a local hospital and remains in serious condition.

The heavyweight made his MMA debut in 1997 and won eight of his first 10 fights, joining Japan’s Pride Fighting Championships in 2001. The former Chute Boxe standout then made his Octagon foray in 2006 at UFC Fight Night 3, falling to former champion Tim Sylvia via unanimous decision. Silva competed twice more in the UFC and recorded two more losses, submitting to a Brandon Vera guillotine choke at UFC 60 before dropping a majority decision to Cheick Kongo at UFC 70.

Our best wishes to Silva for a full recovery and his family at this obviously tough time.

Demian Maia going back to submission roots at welterweight

Maia renews emphasis on submissions
espn.go.com

Like so many fighters before and after him, Maia failed to do a thing against the iconic middleweight champion. Splitting four fights over the next two years, including a lopsided decision loss to Chris Weidman in January 2010, Maia was propelled to shed 15 pounds and begin anew at welterweight.

“I needed to be reborn,” Maia said over the phone from his hotel room at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, where he’ll meet Jon Fitch on Saturday during the pay-per-view portion of UFC 156. “I felt when I was hitting guys or going for a takedown at 185, sometimes it was like hitting a wall. Now in this weight division, it’s more fair for me.”

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Competing at his natural weight (around 185 pounds on fight night) also has helped, as has a renewed emphasis on submissions.

“Now that I learned I’m able to do well with boxing, I was able to train more jiu-jitsu again,” he said. “I’ve come back to my grappling.”

A Demian Maia that is more interested in taking his opponents down and submitting rather than striking is a dangerous threat to any fighter at 170 lbs. He has looked fantastic so far at welterweight, and a decisive win over Jon Fitch this Saturday will only further launch him back into title contention.

Shinya Aoki to face Kotetsu Boku for One FC lightweight strap on April 5

Shinya Aoki to challenge for lightweight title against Kotetsu Boku at ONE FC 8
www.mmafighting.com

Former DREAM champion Shinya Aoki (32-6, 1 NC) is slated to challenge Kotetsu Boku (20-7-2) for the ONE FC lightweight title at ONE FC: Kings and Champions, which takes place on April 5, 2013 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium in Kallang, Singapore. ONE FC officials announced the long-rumored bout on Wednesday.

Aoki, 29, needed just 85 seconds to coax a tapout from French submission specialist Arnaud Lepont via triangle choke in his ONE FC debut last October. Since then Aoki picked up an additional victory, defeating Antonio McKee via punches on DREAM’s year-end supercard.

Likewise, Boku, 35, rides his own two-fight win streak into the bout, having knocked out Shin Kochiwa in 67 seconds before upsetting Aoki’s Evolve MMA teammate, Zorobabel Moreira, to claim the inaugural ONE FC lightweight belt.

It looks like Aoki will remain on the Asian MMA circuit regardless of whether or not DREAM continues operations this year. While it's bittersweet for those international fans that want to see him compete live, it's likely the best career move for Aoki, who remains one of Japan's biggest draws.

Patricky Friere injured, Saad Awad to replace him in tourney tomorrow night at Bellator 87

Patricky Pitbull out of lightweight tournament with an injury
themmareport.com

Patricky Pitbull has suffered a knee injury in his final sparring session and is out of the tournament. .Replacing him against Guillaume DeLorenzi will be Saad Awad.

Awad was already scheduled to be on the Bellator fight card tomorrow night and he was set to face Jason Fischer on the preliminary card.

Replacing Awad against Fisher will be Sevak Magakian, who will be making his Bellator debut and is currently on a six fight winning streak.

HT to MMA Junkie for the find.

Bellator 87 was already lacking in star power and now loses its most notable fighter on the card due to injury, and at the very last minute. The injury bug isn't just hitting the UFC these days.

Matt Hughes regrets not moving up to middleweight for a shot at two belts

Matt Hughes nearly quit fighting in 2001, regrets never facing Anderson Silva
www.mmajunkie.com

If the 39-year-old has any regrets in his octagon career, it’s that he wasn’t able to move up to middleweight to fight for a title. He said he would have fought Evan Tanner for the belt if Tanner had beaten his longtime friend Rich Franklin at UFC 53, but Franklin won, and told the UFC he wouldn’t face Franklin at the conclusion of “The Ultimate Fighter 2.”

“Anderson Silva,” Hughes said of the fighter he most wanted to face. “I always wanted to go up to 185 to put the belts together.”

Instead, Hughes settled in at welterweight. He said his first rematch with Penn, which saw him earn a third-round TKO, and a first-round TKO of Royce Gracie remain among his favorite memories in the UFC.

The potential Hughes-Tanner bout has been a good MMA trivia question for a long time. It's also interesting to think about what would have been if Frank Trigg had finished what he started in the first round against Hughes at UFC 52. It would have been him as a coach on "TUF 2" against Franklin.

Joseph Benavidez isn’t in a hurry to get back to flyweight title contention

Benavidez in no rush for second title shot
espn.go.com

Benavidez says he’s in no rush to get back to the title, although a win over McCall might solidify his spot as the No. 1 contender, despite his loss to Johnson was just four months ago.

Actually, if given the option, he might even prefer getting at least two fights in before taking another shot at the belt, but he’ll leave that decision to the UFC. Right now, he’s focused on improving and reminding himself to enjoy it. If he does that, there’s still hope everything he had imagined would happen in September isn’t dead yet.

“Talent-wise, he’s right there at the top,” Gifford said. “All the everyday things I see him do—I know he’s the best. I said to him in the gym the other day after his workout, ‘You were only off by one year, bro. You said 2012, you’ll get the belt in 2013.’

It's tough to be in Benavidez's spot, who like his teammate Urijah Faber, is now one of the toughest and most talented fighters in a division in the UFC to not hold a title.

Benavidez was dug in as the number two bantamweight in the world while he was at 135 lbs and with a win over Ian McCall on Saturday night, he'll be right back in the same spot at flyweight. I'm confident though that one day his talent will overcome his shortcomings and have him holding UFC gold. I'm just not sure when that will be.

Randy Couture inks Spike deal, will coach on new Bellator reality show

Couture signs Spike deal, joins Bellator reality series
sportsillustrated.cnn.com

SI.com has confirmed through multiple sources that UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture has signed into a multi-year deal with Spike TV, a property of Viacom, to appear in multiple projects for the cable channel, as well as other possible ventures within the media conglomerate’s family of networks.

As a part of the multi-faceted agreement, Couture’s first role will be as a coach in the forthcoming Bellator MMA reality Series, which begins shooting in February and airs later this year.

Spike TV will unveil this industry-shifting announcement on Feb. 5 during a press conference in Los Angeles, where Couture and Spike TV president Kevin Kay will discuss details of the agreement and what the 49-year-old retired fighter’s role will be on the Bellator series and possibly other Spike-broadcasted projects. The series is expected to feature a number of current and up-and-coming Bellator fighters.

The article also states that the deal was done, "much to the disapproval" of UFC president Dana White.

As if the budding war between the UFC and Bellator needed any more fuel to the fire after White's suggestion that fighters not sign with Bellator due to ther contract stipulation this past weekend. Things are about to get interesting to say the least.

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