If you listened to The Bum Rush Radio Show this week (and we’re pretty sure at least some of you did, right mom?) you would know our collective feelings on the inevitability that Kenny Florian would be handed another undeserved title shot if he beat Diego Nunes at UFC 131. Well, according to UFC president Dana White, KenFlo “pretty much” has dibs on Jose Aldo when the champ returns from nursing a nagging shoulder injury.
When asked at the post-UFC 131 press conference if Florian’s win earned him a shot at Aldo, White answered succinctly, “More than likely. How’s that for confirmation?” before adding “I’ve got a lot of respect for him. He deserves a shot at the title. No doubt about it.”
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.
(“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.
(Sadly, the Sengoku Girls have already been disassembled and sold for scrap.)
Well, it’s not like we expected something miraculous to happen after Sengoku started granting releases to their biggest stars. The Japanese promotion posted an “urgent report” on its website yesterday, saying that primary sponsor Don Quijote has pulled all of their financial support from the company, and if they can’t find another sponsor to replace DQ, Sengoku’s collapse will be unavoidable. More details via FightOpinion:
The note says that Don Quijote was backing the company fully, including office headquarters. The note says that a lot of money was lost and that rather than stay in the ball game, Don Quijote left and that the ‘heartless mass media’ comments made about them didn’t help matters. Sengoku’s note claims that Don Quijote will continue sponsoring other MMA organizations but that everything is under further review.
(If you thought we were going to pass up the opportunity to post a Wu Tang-infused Marlon Sandro highlight vid, well, you must be new around here. Vid: YouTube/Meyer124)
Former Sengoku featherweight champion Marlon Sandro – believed to be the second-best 145-pounder not currently under the UFC umbrella – has signed a deal with Bellator Fighting Championships and will make his American debut sometime in 2011, according to multiple internet reports out on Wednesday. Sandro’s exodus comes amid news that Sengoku is granting releases to fighters who ask for them, probably signaling that the Japanese promotion’s prolonged death spasm is nearing its end.
Sandro is currently ranked in the featherweight Top 10 on any list worth its salt. Though he lost his Sengoku title to Hatsu Hioki in late December he’ll make a stellar addition for the newly MTV-friendly Bellator. The promotion crowned Joe Warren it’s 145-pound champ after his come-from-behind victory over Joe Soto in September and you’d have to think Sandro immediately becomes No. 1 contender. Some pontificating on what it all means after the jump.
During last night’s episode of Sportsnet’s MMA Connected, the show’s host "Showdown" Joe Ferraro revealed that if Mark Hominick handily beats George Roop at UFN 23 and comes out of the fight without injury, he will fight Jose Aldo at UFC 129 in Toronto on April 30.
"If London, Ontario’s Mark Hominick can defeat George Roop and come out unscathed at UFC Fight Night 23, look for "The Machine" to earn a title shot versus featherweight champion Jose Aldo," Ferraro stated.
A veteran of 27 MMA bouts, Hominick’s only losses in the past six years have come at the hands of three highly-touted fighters: Grispi, Rani Yahya and Hatsu Hioki. His second bout with Hioki, which he lost by a razor-thin majority decision and was contested under the TKO banner is widely regarded as one of the greatest featherweight fights in Canadian MMA history.
For an idea what Aldo-Hominick might look like, check out that fight after the jump.
("A bunch of dudes got knocked dead this morning! Yaaaaaaaay!" / Photo courtesy of src-official.com)
Spoilers after the jump to protect your delicate feelings. Click through for full fight results and a rundown of some notable moments from today’s World Victory Road: Soul of Fight event at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo. Videos to come.
Although the promotion has only "officially" announced one of the match-ups for its annual New Year’s Eve extravaganza, the December 31 K-1 Dynamite! show, in Saitama, Japan, which may include at least two title fights, is looking pretty good so far.
K-1 announced today that DREAM featherweight champion Bibiano Fernandes will rematch Hiroyuki Takaya on the card and that it will be a five-round affair that will see the Brazilian defend his belt for the second time.
According to a Tatame story, Sengoku fetherweight champion Marlon Sandro is in negotiations to put his belt on the line against Japanese standout Hatsu Hioki at the event as well. Sandro says he has verbally agreed to the bout and is awaiting the contract to make it official.
A year and a half after Jorge Santiago scored a fifth-round comeback submission against Kazuo Misaki to win Sengoku’s middleweight title, the two fighters met again in the main event of yesterday’s Sengoku Raiden Championships 14 in Tokyo. And once again, Santiago managed to pull out a stoppage in the final round, forcing Misaki’s corner to throw in the towel with just 29 seconds left in the fight — a fortunate outcome indeed, considering that Santiago was down on the scorecards.
"The Grabaka Hitman" controlled the first two rounds thanks in large part to his grappling, scoring two takedowns in the opening frame, and threatening with a guillotine choke and full mount in the second. The bout entered "Fight of the Year" territory beginning in the third. Santiago surged back, dropping Misaki with a head kick and smashing him with strikes from the top. It looked grim for the Japanese fighter, but Misaki survived and turned the tables once again in the fourth round, flooring Santiago with punches then working some knees to the head; Santiago intentionally rolled under the ropes to escape the abuse and was slapped with a red card. When the action was re-started, Santiago scored another knockdown of his own during a fierce striking exchange and pounded on Misaki to the bell.
The final round began with another knockdown by Santiago. After a couple of submission attempts from the reigning champ didn’t pan out, Misaki swept Santiago, then Santiago swept Misaki. Santiago seized his moment, firing down hammerfists and punches until Misaki was turtled and helpless. The referee wasn’t quite convinced, but Misaki’s corner had seen enough, and threw in the towel at 4:31 of round 5. Santiago retains his Sengoku middleweight belt in another dramatic performance, while Misaki suffers his third defeat in four fights.
In other action, Akihiro Gono took a suprising decision loss against Mongolian K-1 vet Jadamba Narantungalag, top-ten featherweight Hatsu Hioki notched a first-round submission over a very game Jeff Lawson, and former top-ten welterweight Nick Thompson ate his third consecutive stoppage loss against Sengoku newcomer Taisuke Okuno. Full event results and video of the Santiago/Misaki battle are after the jump…
(Hioki vs. Kanehara: The fight went as planned, but everything afterwards didn’t. Props to 19054771 via Bloody Elbow.)
I have to admit, I was pulling for Michihiro Omigawa to shock the world and win Sengoku’s Featherweight Grand Prix, after entering the tournament in March with a 4-7-1 record. But the way he reached the finals at today’s Sengoku Ninth Battle show in Saitama, Japan, was questionable to say the least, and he wound up losing to a guy who shouldn’t have even been there in the first place. Let’s start at the beginning…
Tournament favorite Hatsu Hioki dominated Masanori Kanehara in the tourney’s semifinals, putting Kanehara in constant danger with submission attempts and ground-and-pound. Though Kanehara was able to make a late rally, the fight went to Hioki by unanimous decision. Unfortunately, it was discovered that Hioki suffered a concussion during the match, and wouldn’t be able to continue to the finals.
Chan Sung Jung choked out Matt Jaggers later that night in the GP’s reserve bout, and should have rightfully taken Hioki’s place. But Jung, who had previously been robbed by the judges in his quarterfinal match against Masanori Kanehara in May — a decision that many fans chalked up to the fact that Jung is Korean — was insulted again today when it was quickly decided that Kanehara would fill in for Hioki. So basically, the alternate bout was absolutely meaningness, due to the fact that a Korean won it.