One other man that wants to lay claim to the coveted UFC middleweight title shot is Alan Belcher.
“I’ve put together a nice little streak,” Belcher remarked on a recent edition of AXS TV’s (formerly HDNet) Inside MMA.
That he has.
In his last seven trips to the Octagon, Belcher has only one blemish on his resume. He lost a split decision – in a fight many felt he won – to Yoshihiro Akiyama three summers ago at UFC 100.
Just in case you're counting, that now makes Belcher, Chael Sonnen, Patrick Cote, Rich Franklin, Cung Le, Chris Weidman, Mark Munoz, Michael Bisping, Luke Rockhold, Hector Lombard and Vitor Belfort that all have tried to lay a claim at a future shot at Silva.
Now's as good a time as ever, right?
The UFC’s planned September return to the Midwest for a show in Indianapolis has been scrapped.
Sources close to the event on Tuesday confirmed to MMAjunkie.com that UFC on FX 5, which was set for Sept. 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, will not happen as planned. UFC officials were not immediately available to comment on the reason for the change.
Instead, UFC on FX 5 is expected to take place, sources said, on Oct. 5. A location and venue for the card is not yet known, but the UFC is soon expected to make an official announcement about the change. Additional sources said the show will not remain in Indianapolis.
UFC on FX 5 would have been the promotion’s second event at the 19,000-seat arena, which was known as Conseco Fieldhouse the first time the UFC visited the Indiana state capital for UFC 119 in September 2010.
Showtime Sports Boss Wants to See UFC Champ vs. Strikeforce Champ Superfights
On Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour, Showtime sports president Stephen Espinoza surprisingly put forth a hope of matching Strikeforce champions against UFC champions.
“I hope that we’re getting the story out there clearly enough that these are two high-level organizations, he said. “You can make the analogy—the one I like to use is the AFL and the NFL. Before the NFL as we currently know it existed, there were two leagues and they’d play once a year in the Super Bowl. And that’s how the Super Bowl came about, was a championship between two different leagues. I think a best case-scenario for the fans that I talk to and I’m sure the fans that you talk to, [they] would like to see some structure like that and sort of answer those questions about who is the best middleweight, who is the best welterweight, all those kinds of things going forward.”
Espinoza didn’t say how likely such a scenario is, and chances are probably against it in the immediate future given the demanding schedules of the UFC and Strikeforce, along with all of the contractual obligations and fine-print details that might get in the way. Yet it’s certainly intriguing to hear that a high-powered executive with some sway in the possibility has an interest in answering the questions that are until now, just hypothetical.
I know what you're thinking. UFC vs. PRIDE. UFC vs. WEC. They never happened. And UFC vs. Strikeforce probably never will either, but for the first time, we actually have a non-Zuffa/DSE executive who is willing to put his money where his mouth is.
Still gives me hope.
Vinny Magalhaes rejoins the UFC
Following a series of suggestive tweets from “The Ultimate Fighter 8” runner-up and recent M-1 champ, MMAjunkie.com confirmed the long-expected signing with sources close to the promotion.
Tatame first reporting the deal, though a reported September fight date hasn’t been confirmed.
Since a 0-2 stint in the UFC, which included a loss to Ryan Bader in the “TUF 8” tournament final and a subsequent defeat to Eliot Marshall, Magalhaes has racked up a 7-1 record. Half the jiu-jitsu specialist’s fights came in M-1, where he won the organization’s 205-pound title before a strained relationship with company officials.
Magalhaes told MMAjunkie.com the relationship soured during an October title defense over Mikhail Zayats. Magalhaes, who won the belt from Viktor Nemkov in his previous bout, and representative Steve Pacitti said an M-1 official, Evgeni Kogan, was openly rooting for and coaching Zayats during the bout. Magalhaes has been on the sidelines ever since while he waited for his M-1 contract’s matching period to fully expire.
And that could be a slight problem for Sonnen’s goal of getting more than, he says, three fights a year, which is about what healthy UFC fighters average.
“It’s not about anything else – it’s about competition,” Sonnen said. “I hate the fact that we only fight three times a year. I hate the fact that I’ve got to go to bed at night wondering, ‘I wonder how I’d do with this guy, or what this guy’s skills would do with mine.’
“Well, let’s just find out. Let’s get in there a lot more often. Let’s fight all these guys.”
Sonnen said he understands why it can’t happen and doesn’t happen, but the Division I All-American wrestler from the University of Oregon longs for the days of the kind of competition that had him wrestling many opponents a day.
It's almost impossible to have more than three UFC fights under your belt in the course of a single year these days. The fact that Donald Cerrone was able to make five appearances in 2011, albeit a couple of times as a short-notice replacement, is amazing.
But with the amount of shows the UFC is now putting on, it's not impossible. Fans and fighters alike have recently been calling for a thinning out of the talent pool. The recent rash of injuries has obviously decimated the lineups for upcoming UFC shows, leaving ticket holders to look forward to matchups featuring a serious lack of star power since that is all the UFC can muster at the moment. If they started stacking the cards as in years past, problems and wishes would go away and be granted at the same time.
UFC Announces China Debut in November With UFC on FUEL 6
After years of speculation, the UFC will make its long-awaited Chinese debut on November 10, 2012 with UFC on FUEL 6, promotion officials announced on Tuesday’s episode of UFC Tonight.
The international event is slated to be held in Macau, a special administrative region of China located on the country’s eastern shore, at the 15,000 seat CotaiArena inside the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel. The $2.4 billion hotel opened in 2007 and is currently the largest casino in the world.
“Breaking into a market with a population of over 1.3 billion is both a testament to the growth of our sport and a long-term challenge we are excited to undertake,” UFC Chairman and CEO Lorenzo Fertitta stated. “This is just the first of many world-class fights we plan to hold over the coming years in China, one of the birthplaces of martial arts.”
This is huge news for the UFC, who earlier this year, didn't believe a trip to China was in the cards until 2013 at the earliest. The promotion has slowly built a following in the country through television specials and online broadcasts and will now test the market with a live event in Macau, which hosted Chinese-based Legend Fighting Championship in recent years. It'll be exciting to watch.
Dan Hardy: Pay Structure May Affect Fighters' Strategy
“We’ve all seen him fight. We saw his fight against [Diego] Sanchez and all those other crazy ones where they were back-and-forth wars. He’s got a great pace and he’s a fantastic fighter. So really, for me, that showed that he made the choice of going in there and fighting that way. And whether that was down to his coaches convincing him or what, I don’t know, but I do think a lot of the responsibility is on the fighter.
“But at the same time, I think pay scale could be an issue as well. I think that there could be a way of paying people so there’s not a massive amount of money resting on winning and losing. I mean, 50 percent of purse pretty much is a win bonus for most people. If you win the fight, you get double the money. For a lot of people, double the money is what they need in order to cover their training camps. It’s really difficult. We need a little bit more money turning towards the fighters and we need the fighters with a bit more of an aggressive work ethic.”
Hardy's take on things is definitely something that's part of the equation here. However, there are other factors. The biggest is the UFC's ability to cut struggling fighters. Three losses and you're out has been the policy for years now, with a handful of exceptions for certain guys. We're starting to see cuts after two consecutive losses as well as two defeats in three fights more and more, especially with those fighters that don't carry any sort of name value.
Pay certainly has something to do with it, but job security has more. In Guida's case though, it may not have been either of the two. It could have just been the plan employed by his camp. It's not the first time that Guida has been conservative in fights since joining Jackson's. Just ask Anthony Pettis.
“When we did the press conference down in Brazil, Silva hadn’t even agreed to fight him,” White said. “That fight wasn’t happening. I had them bring Anderson to the place where the press conference was, and we sat in a room for three hours fighting about the fight.”
Fans may remember the April 24 news conference in Rio de Janeiro for its late start. And White said that late start was because he and his biggest star were at odds over Silva signing on for the rematch.
Silva, as should come as little surprise, is not a fan of the brashness and trash talk that led up to UFC 117, and the talk that Sonnen has continued for nearly two years since then. But when Sonnen got on the plane with White, he flew to Brazil with no guarantee of a fight – only the hope that White could get Silva to agree to the rematch.
“Yeah, (Chael knew),” White said. “He knew there was no fight. (What Chael said) was true, absolutely true. We went down there to make that fight. We set up a press conference, and I had to get it done.”
As interesting as that story is and was, I'd be even more intrigued to find out what the UFC's plans were for the press conference had Anderson not agreed to the bout. Would they have allowed Sonnen to call him out again in his home country? Or would Dana and Chael have just held a "state of the UFC" address?
Dana White: Shogun Would Rather Be Cut Than Face Glover Teixeira
But according to UFC President Dana White, Shogun wanted no part of that fight for whatever reason. He was so serious in fact that he said he’d rather be released than to fight Teixeira for his next bout.
“Shogun didn’t want to fight Glover Teixeira. He said he would rather be cut then fight him,” White revealed in an interview with Fuel TV following UFC on FX 3.
“Shogun didn’t mind fighting Brandon Vera, so he is fighting him. Shogun is a warrior; he has fought everyone from PRIDE, to Dan Henderson in his last fight. It’s just a weird situation.”
Nick Diaz, World Champion Braulio Estima Agree to Meet in BJJ Superfight
Braulio Estima, one of the best Jiu-Jitsu players in the world, will welcome Nick Diaz back to the world of BJJ.
The Diaz vs. Estima BJJ superfight, which will be contested at 180 pounds, will take place at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo on May 12 in Long Beach, Calif., according to WJJE officials.
The 31-year-old Estima has won a plethora of BJJ competitions over the past decade. He most recently defeated Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in a super-fight at the 2011 edition of the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling Championship and won gold medals at the 2009 ADCC tournament in the 88kg and Absolute divisions. He is currently training with the Blackzilians in South Florida in preparation for his MMA debut later this year.