Shooto featherweight champion Hatsu Hioki announced today that he has relinquished his belt and that he is moving on from the Japanese promotion in search of other challenges.
“At this time, I’ve returned the Shooto world lightweight title,” Hioki told Sherdog.com via email. “There is a pride in wearing the Shooto world title, but I think that, in the near future, I would like to challenge a new stage of pride.”
According to Sherdog, the popular 24-4-2 fighter, who holds a pair of wins over UFC featherweight contender Mark Hominick as well as one a piece over Takeshi “Lion” Inoue and Marlon Sandro, is being flown in to Vancouver, BC to attend UFC 131. I think we can all connect the dots on where he’s fighting next.
(That’s what happens when you spar every day with Steven Seagal.)
Heavy.com is reporting that UFC featherweight champion Jose Aldo has sustained an unspecified injury that will likely push back a planned late summer title defense against Chad Mendes.
According to the story, which sites several unnamed sources who predict the minor setback wil keep Aldo out until about September, Mendes will likely take a fight in the interim. Although no potential opponents have been named at this point, one fighter who would likely be up to facing Mendes is Mark Hominick, who logged a gutsy five-round war with Aldo in April at UFC 129 in Toronto.
(Mendes thinks he can expose Aldo on the ground using his wrestling prowess)
Number one UFC featherweight contender Chad Mendes watched Jose Aldo grind out a decision win over Mark Hominick live at the Rogers Centre in Toronto and walked away from the event with the confidence that he can beat the previously thought invincible UFC featherweight champion.
Mendes told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto yesterday that he isn’t buying the excuse that the Aldo was sick going into the bout or that the strain of cutting weight after adding muscle the past several months left him in a weakened state strength and conditioning-wise.
(If featherweight doesn’t work out, Stevenson will likely test the waters of the Strikeforce women’s 135-pound class)
Well, Joe “Daddy” Stevenson will be spared from the UFC’s chopping block for at least one more fight. The Ultimate Fighter 2 winner who dropped to lightweight in 2006 will face Javier Vasquez at UFC on Versus 4 June 26 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
(“Admit it, you guys have no idea who I am, do you?” Pic: Heavy)
Still so relatively new to the UFC party, the sub-lightweight divisions are to MMA analysts as the New World must have been to early cartographers. We think we have a rough sketch of what’s out there, but the exact shape of things is a little foggy and once we get past the top two or three, we’re just gonna draw some squiggles and write something like “Here there be sea monsters!”
The featherweight class, for example, is still very much in the process finding its legs in the Octagon, with the promotional debut of champion Jose Aldo pushed back to UFC 129 due to the pain in his neck. Already however, there has been a pretty significant influx of talent into the 145-pound ranks since the UFC officially absorbed it at the beginning of this year. Michihiro Omigawa, Kenny Florian and Tyson Griffin have all plunged into the division, with more immigration sure to follow as the 155-pound division gets more and more crowded. We guess what we’re saying is, things can change fast in the land of the little man, so read our inaugural featherweight rankings now before something happens to render them moot.
(Faber vs. Mizugaki; fight starts at the 6:59 mark, and the nasty finishing sequence begins at 10:49. Props: borntoride5656. Get a look before it’s pulled…)
In the first phase of its two-part farewell tour, the WEC transcended its lame-duck status with yet another thrilling card last night in Las Vegas. Urijah Faber left no doubt in fans’ minds that he’ll be a force at bantamweight, needing less than one round to take out Takeya Mizugaki in the main event. After a few exchanges contested on the feet and in the clinch, Faber snatched a guillotine, then brilliantly transitioned to Mizugaki’s back to secure a rear-naked choke. Mizugaki gamely tried to defend, but eventually passed out rather than tapping; he was asleep for a solid 10 seconds before referee Josh Rosenthal recognized what was up. The victory earned Faber a $10,000 Submission of the Night bonus, which he vowed to split with his teammate Joseph Benavidez.
Following his dominant showing, it appears likely that Faber will get the next bantamweight title shot against the winner of Dominick Cruz vs. Scott Jorgensen at WEC 53. When asked about that matchup following the event, Faber said “[Scott and I] have a good relationship. He’s a guy I helped get into the sport a little bit. We’ve trained a bunch together. He’s mentally tough. I’d rather fight Dominick, but I’m rooting for Scott [to win that fight].”
As for his new home at 135, Faber was psyched: "When I first started fighting there was no 135-pound weight class. So it’s not like I had the choice. I was just the best guy at 145. So now it’s my time to shine down here. I’m at my most competitive weight. It’s my time. It’s a new era baby!"