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UFC 122 (Somewhat) Live Blog

Without giving away too much of tonight’s tape-delayed UFC 122 decisionfest show that went down in Germany today, we will tell you that the guaranteed slugfest between Jorge Rivera and Alessio Sakara got yanked from the main card of the event due to Sakara pulling out of the bout today because of illness.

We’ll be "live" tonight at 9:00 pm ET to give those of you who don’t have cable, who are too cheap to go to a bar or who think we’re really your friends and want to hang out on a Saturday night a rundown of the action via the Spike TV re-broadcast.

Check out the preliminary card results and main card play-by-play after the jump:


Bum Rush Rant: Jorge Rivera is Sick of Round Winners Who Call Themselves Fighters

("Fight, you bastard. If you want to have a dance-off, I’ll kick your ass in that too.")

A hot topic of debate at Cage Potato lately is whether or not the recent trend of wrestlers who are content to win fights by earning decisions via take downs and lay and pray is hurting the sport.

We asked UFC middleweight Jorge Rivera for his opinion on the subject during the latest episode of The Bum Rush Radio Show and El Conquistador didn’t pull any punches when explaining his take on the issue.

Rivera, who squares off with fellow slugger Alessio Sakara tomorrow at UFC 122 in Germany, says that he specifically asked for the fight with the former pro-boxer because he knows that Legionarius, like him, is a fighter who always steps into the Octagon to fight.

"I asked for this fight. Alessio’s a great fight. He’s tough, he’s got great stand-up and he comes forward. I asked for this fight. I always want tough fights. I know he’s gonna bring it. I know it’s gonna be a tough fight. I know it’s no walk in the park," Rivera explains. "You’re gonna see a good stand-up brawl and one of us is gonna get knocked out. I’m alright with that. I give the fans what they want. This is what we do. We both no what we’re getting into and we both agree to it, so let’s do it."

He says that guys who time and time again seem to be content to take a decision by being conservative and just doing the minimum necessary to win are in essence stealing from the fans.

"I was a fan before I was ever a fighter. I’m still a fan and I’m a fan of even some of the guys I fight against. I like watching them fight for various reasons. I hate watching boring fighters. You’re gonna pay 50 bucks to sit at home and watch some guy be boring. They build up all this hype around this guy and a guy puts you to sleep and you’re like, ‘What the fuck!?’ I’m not the only one. You’ve got ten million people who say the same shit. That’s not what I want to do. I want to be the exact opposite," Rivera explains. "When my name is called up, I want people to be like, ‘Hell yeah!’ because they know there’s going to be a fight. Even with this fight they know their gonna get a fight with me and Alessio. They know that. Everybody knows that we’re gonna fight. I know he’s not gonna run from me, he knows I’m not gonna run from him, and you know we both throw bombs. You guys know you’re gonna get your money’s worth. If all nine of the fights suck, ours isn’t going to. You’re gonna remember our fight for sure. That’s what I want."


Alessio Sakara Takes His Love of Body Art, Italian History Very Seriously

(Sakara will do absolutely anything to land this amateur modeling gig, you guys. Any. Thing. Props:

The prevailing public opinion on Alessio Sakara has long been: Mediocre fighter, world class tattoos. Hell, even Jorge Rivera – who will fight him this Saturday at UFC 122 – admitted in interviews this week that he thinks Sakara has the best ink in MMA. With a middling 6-4 record in the Octagon (with one hard-earned no contest after Ron Faircloth kicked him in the balls at UFC 55)  it’s even been suggested (OK, maybe just by me, but whatever) that the UFC’s rationale for giving him second chance after second chance has more to do with his wicked physical appearance than his actual fighting ability.

One glance at Sakara tells you he’s proud of his Italian heritage, but we had no idea exactly how into it he was until we got a load of his interview with Fighters Only this week. Turns out, not only does Sakara actually consider himself a modern day “solider of Rome” (his words), but he named his sons Leonidas and Marcus Valerian … which is not quite as weird as naming all your sons “Rampage,” but still. That’s dedication, people. Dedication to a proud history that ended in about 476 AD.


‘UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami’ — Extended Video Preview

(Props: fromhit)

UFC 122 may not be stacked — it’s Germany, those haters should be glad they’re getting anything — but it’ll be broadcast free on Spike, it’s full of potentially exciting matchups, and it’ll have serious implications for the UFC’s middleweight division. In the main event, Nate Marquardt and Yushin Okami will face off for a title shot against the winner of Anderson Silva vs. Vitor Belfort. Marquardt and Okami are two guys who have spent their UFC careers clawing their way almost to the top, but falling just short of the glory. Earlier in his UFC career, Marquardt was TKO’d by Anderson Silva in the Spider’s first official title defense at UFC 73; this year, Marquardt suffered a decision loss to Chael Sonnen, snapping a fearsome three-knockout run.

As for Okami, the Japanese standout was outpointed in a previous #1-contender match against Rich Franklin at UFC 72, and was also stymied by Chael Sonnen last October. In other words, UFC 122′s headliners have endured the same setbacks — and they both know that the big opportunities don’t last forever. It’s do or die time. At Jackson’s MMA and Grudge Training Center, Marquardt is getting the best preparation that this country has to offer, and he’s a powerful, vicious striker. Okami is a deceptively strong fighter with great conditioning, who might be able to smother Marquardt just like Sonnen did.


More Injuries Strike UFC 118 Lineup; ‘Godzilla’ Returns

Alessio Sakara UFCTerry Etim UFC
(Sakara and Etim, the latest victims of the UFC’s brand-new curse.)

After losing Phil Baroni and Jorge Rivera due to injuries, UFC 118 (August 28, Boston) is inching towards "cursed" status with another pair of late withdrawals that have completely re-arranged the Spike TV prelim broadcast. First off, Alessio Sakara has been forced out of his fight against Gerald Harris due to a knee injury. Harris, who was originally a replacement for Rivera, will now face the returning Joe Vedepo, who has won four straight fights by stoppage outside of the UFC since being released in April 2009. Unfortunately, the fight is no longer slated for the Spike broadcast, meaning that Harris will need another dramatic stoppage to get some TV time. At this point, it hasn’t been confirmed which fight will move up to the prelim broadcast in its place.

The injury fairy also paid a visit to Terry Etim, who bows out of his UFC 118 fight against Joe Lauzon due to a broken rib. Lauzon will instead meet — get this — Gabe "Godzilla" Ruediger, the TUF 5 contestant who became a national punchline due to his love of colonics and ice cream cake, and was eventually dismissed from the show for not making weight. More recently, Ruediger has built up a six-fight win streak competing in California, picked up the Tachi Palace Fights lightweight title, and has helped turn Paris Hilton into a killing machine.

We’ll let you know as soon as UFC 118′s lineup is finalized.


UFC Booking Update: Marquardt and Sakara Get New Opponents, Lauzon Booked for Boston + More

Nate Marquardt Rachelle Leah UFC James McSweeney
("The creepy guy behind the ring? Don’t worry Rachelle, that’s just James McSweeney. He’ll probably ask you for a lock of your hair before you leave, but he’s cool." / Photo courtesy of

– Though Nate Marquardt and Alessio Sakara were slated to meet at UFC 116 in July, Sakara has postponed his Octagon return due to the recent death of his father. So, the UFC did some re-shuffling and came up with the following: Sakara will now compete at UFC 118 (August 28th, Boston) against Jorge Rivera, who picked up his third-straight win in March when he wrecked Nate Quarry. As for Marquardt, he will also likely return in August (either UFC 118 or UFC 117), against Rousimar Palhares, who you may know as the asshole who holds his submissions for too long.

– Speaking of the UFC’s Boston show, hometown kid Joe Lauzon will try to rebound from his lopsided decision loss against Sam Stout when he meets up with British contender Terry Etim. Etim had a four-fight UFC win-streak snapped last month in Abu Dhabi when he fell to an armbar submission against Rafael Dos Anjos.


UFC Booking Alert: Hamill vs. Jardine Set for TUF 11 Finale, Nelson/Kongo and Marquardt/Sakara Reported for UFC 116

Roy Nelson Fedor Emelianenko MMA
(Roy vs. Fedor, rib-eating contest, no wet-naps allowed. MAKE IT HAPPEN, DANA.)

Spike TV has confirmed that the previously reported matchup between Matt Hamill and Keith Jardine will headline the TUF 11 finale (June 19th, Las Vegas). Hamill is coming off his DQ "victory" over Jon Jones via 12-to-6 elbow annihilation, while Jardine has eaten three straight losses against Quinton Jackson, Thiago Silva, and Ryan Bader; you’d have to assume that this is his last chance to score a victory if he wants to keep his gig with the UFC. Not sure if the match deserves a headlining spot, but we’re interested to see what happens.

According to a recent Twitter post, Roy Nelson will likely be taking on Cheick Kongo in his next match, which early reports are pegging to UFC 116 (July 3rd, Las Vegas). Nelson most recently scored a 39-second knockout of Stefen Struve at "Florian vs. Gomi," while Cheick Kongo snapped a two-fight losing streak by beating down Paul Buentello at "Vera vs. Jones." Which means that Junior Dos Santos is now completely out of opponents.

— Speaking of UFC 116, Sportsnet‘s Showdown Joe Ferraro first passed along rumors that the stacked event will also host bouts between Nate Marquardt and Alessio Sakara, and Brendan Schaub vs. Chris Tuchscherer. MMA Junkie has since confirmed those reports. UFC 116′s current lineup is after the jump; kill whoever you have to in order to get tickets.


James Irvin’s Self-Awareness Is Refreshing, Kind of Sad

(Don’t worry, buddy. We’ll pick you up a pair of oversized sunglasses at the gas station on our way to the after-party, and no one will even notice that thing.)

In the past few years James Irvin has had about as difficult a time as you can experience while still being employed and above ground. His string of untimely injuries and unfortunate mishaps earned him the title of ‘Most Cursed Fighter in MMA History,’ and the last time he was actually healthy enough to limp into the cage he took a beatdown from Anderson Silva and then got suspended for using prescription painkillers. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want to walk down the street with because chances are good that a piano might fall on his head and you’ll end up getting hit with the resulting splinter shrapnel.

But in an interview with on the verge of his return to action at ‘UFC on Versus’ this weekend, Irvin offers a sober assessment of his career and abilities that is so honest and forthright that we don’t know whether to be impressed or really bummed out.


Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin Promoted to ‘Vera vs. Jones’ Main Card

Alessio Sakara Thales Leites UFC 101 punch-face
(Alessio Sakara turns Thales Leites’s face all doofy at UFC 101.)

After a few weeks of thumb-twiddling, the UFC has finally decided that the previously announced fight between Alessio Sakara and James "Most Cursed Fighter in MMA History" Irvin will kick off the UFC Live: Vera vs. Jones broadcast next Sunday (3/21) on Versus. The middleweight contest was originally slated for the prelims, but the card’s lineup shifted a bit after Sean Sherk and Anthony Johnson pulled out due to injuries. Sakara is riding back-to-back victories over Joe Vedepo and Thales Leites, but hasn’t competed since last August, while Irvin hasn’t been inside the Octagon since his KO loss to Anderson Silva in July 2008. The current lineup of "UFC on Versus" looks like this…

Brandon Vera vs. Jon Jones (LHW)
Junior dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga (HW)
Cheick Kongo vs. Paul Buentello (HW)
Alessio Sakara vs. James Irvin (MW)

Clay Guida vs. Shannon Gugerty (LW)
Eliot Marshall vs. Vladimir Matyushenko (LHW)
John Howard vs. Daniel Roberts (WW)
Brendan Schaub vs. Chase Gormley (HW)
Mike Pierce vs. Julio Paulino (WW)
Eric Schafer vs. Jason Brilz (LHW)

After the jump: Kongo vs. Buentello video hype, plus a list of international TV stations showing the event courtesy of MMA Junkie.


UFC’s Most Cursed Fighter Will Try to Return in March Against Alessio Sakara

James Irvin UFC MMA knee injury

It’s kind of crazy to think about it, but UFC fighter James Irvin hasn’t been in the Octagon since his 61-second knockout loss to Anderson Silva, way back in July 2008. Since then, the Sandman has served a nine-month suspension for unauthorized painkiller use and pulled out of two different fights due to knee injuries. (This is the same guy who blew out his knee during a match against Thiago Silva in May 2007, broke his foot while training for a UFC 85 bout against Rashad Evans, and once fell out of the cage during a fight against Bobby Southworth.) And yet the UFC has stuck by Irvin, continuing to offer him fights that he very likely won’t show up for. Everybody cross your fingers, because Irvin will reportedly make his long-delayed middleweight debut at "UFC on Versus" (March 21st; Broomfield, Colorado).

If he can avoid injuries or other major misfortunes for the next two months, Irvin’s opponent will be Alessio Sakara, who most recently won a split-decision over Thales Leites at UFC 101, effectively beating him out of the UFC. Sakara was scheduled to face Rousimar Palhares at the TUF 10 finale, but was forced to withdraw due to injury. This has to be Irvin’s last chance to save his job — will he return to his old superman-punching, flying-knee’ing form, or will he get hit by a bus on the way to weigh-ins?