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Tag: Joe Lauzon

Exclusive Interview: Jeremy Stephens


(Stephens works for a guillotine against Spencer Fisher at the TUF 7 Finale.)

On Saturday night, Des Moines, Iowa’s Jeremy Stephens will step in to the Octagon to take the place of his friend and training partner, Hermes Franca, in a main event bout against Joe Lauzon.  Things got personal between Franca and Lauzon in an internet forum feud, so it seems only fitting that a friend of Franca be the one to replace him in an attempt to win bragging rights for his side.

In our exclusive interview Stephens talks about what this fight means, how it will be won, and what’s next for the “Lil’ Heathen” in the UFC.

CagePotato.com: You’re stepping in for Hermes Franca on somewhat short notice, but you were training with him to help him prepare for Lauzon, right?

Yeah.  I was down in South Beach training with him, and in Ft. Lauderdale, as well.  I travel a lot to train.

How did you guys get hooked up?  And is that why the UFC asked you to step in for him, because you guys were training partners?

No, we have the same manager.  My manager, when he mentioned that he had Hermes, I said, ‘He’s a great fighter.  I’d love to train with him.’  And when he told Hermes that he had signed me, Hermes said he had a fight coming up and he was going out to San Diego to train and since I had a fight coming up too we connected out there and started training together.  

But when he got hurt I actually called up my manager, Reed Wallace, and requested the fight with Joe Lauzon.

Did it have anything to do with the little feud that erupted between Joe and Hermes on the UG?

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Videos: Joe Lauzon and Jake Rosholt Just Livin’ Their Lives

(Props: MMA Mania)

Hey, look who’s getting into the video blog act — it’s Joe Lauzon, who lets us into his world as he flies from Boston to Tampa to take on Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 17. Him and his crew gawk at Tiffani Amber Thiessen, visit Gracie Tampa, do a news spot with Rich Clementi…and that’s about it. Maybe he’ll have a shock pen in tomorrow’s episode and things will really get interesting. Below: New UFC signee Jake Rosholt gives RawVegas.tv a tour of his house in Las Vegas, which contains about as many live animals as dead ones; watch to the end and you’ll see the most amazing pet trick ever.


(Props: CageWriter

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“Lil’ Heathen” in For Franca at UFC Fight Night 17


(Watch out for the uppercut, Joe)

Give the UFC this much, they don’t wait until the last minute to secure a replacement when someone goes down with an injury.  Earlier today we told you about Hermes Franca pulling out of his main event bout with Joe Lauzon and then starting a bizarre internet rivalry.  This afternoon UFC.com announced that Jeremy “Lil’ Heathen” Stephens would be taking Franca’s place on Feb. 7.

You might remember Stephens as the guy who was on his way to losing a decision against Rafael Dos Anjos at UFC 91 before he unfurled a murderous uppercut in the third round that knocked Dos Anjos out cold (see above).  It was an exciting finish that made us remember him and the totally sweet nickname "Lil’ Heathen" (even though it rhymes with his last name and we kind of hate that), but Stephens vs. Lauzon still feels like exactly what it is: a replacement bout.

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Franca Out of UFC Fight Night 17 with Knee Injury Just as Internet War with Lauzon Heats Up


(You just hate to see a guy like Franca sidelined for anything other than a steroid suspension or drunk-driving arrest.)

UFC lightweight Hermes Franca has been forced to pull out of his scheduled bout with Joe Lauzon at Fight Night 17 on Feb. 7 due to a torn ACL, according to a post by Franca on the UG.  Franca said he injured the knee last Saturday and will now have it repaired.  He added:

Thank you UFC,my fans, friends for the support, i was training hard and i was so excited ,but there’s      nothing i can do, (could be worse), so Hermes franca will take a break for some recovery,and come back  stronger than ever like i always do!!!!

Nothing like referring to yourself in the third person to remind everyone that you are a professional athlete.  This is the second time in the last week that a scheduled opponent of one of the Lauzon brothers has had to pull out of a fight due to injury.  First Chris Horodecki failed his physical exam prior to a fight with Dan Lauzon, which meant “The Upgrade” had to face “Frantic” Bobby Green and get his testicles jostled.  Now Franca is hurt and the UFC will have to find a replacement to take on Joe Lauzon.

Lauzon, replying to Franca’s post, expressed his disappointment at the news and wished Franca a speedy recovery, real gentleman-like.  Then things got a little weird on the ol’ internets, with this remark from Franca:

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UFC Fight Night 17 Card Finalized; Neer/Danzig Still On

Joe Lauzon Hermes Franca MMA UFC Mac Danzig Josh Neer
(Props: MMA Mania)

The UFC has confirmed the lineup for UFC Fight Night 17, which will go down February 7th at the University of Southern Florida Sun Dome in Tampa; tickets can be purchased here. Notably, the recently arrested Josh Neer still has the green light to compete in a lightweight feature against Mac Danzig. Also on the televised main card, TUF 7 winner Amir Sadollah finally has his first post-TUF match against undefeated Ring of Combat vet Nick Catone, Cain Velasquez welcomes Golden Glory striker Denis Stojnic to the Octagon, and Joe Lauzon and Hermes Franca try to build a win streak in the main event. The full lineup is below…

Main card
Joe Lauzon vs. Hermes Franca  (LW)
Cain Velasquez vs. Denis Stojnic (HW)
Mac Danzig vs. Josh Neer (LW)
Amir Sadollah vs. Nick Catone (MW)

Undercard
Kurt Pellegrino vs. Rob Emerson (LW)
Alessio Sakara vs. Jake Rosholt (MW)
George Sotiropoulos vs. Matt Grice (LW)
Gleison Tibau vs. Rich Clementi (LW)
Luigi Fioravanti vs. Anthony Johnson (WW)

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Sokoudjou and Gurgel Get Laid Off + More UFC News


(Photo courtesy of daylife.com.)

Well, it looks like the Octagon will be short one dreadlocked Camaroonian. Multiple sources have confirmed that charismatic Team Quest fighter Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou has been released from his fight contract following his TKO loss to light-heavyweight up-and-comer Luis Cane at UFC 89 last month; the defeat dropped Soko’s UFC record down to 1-2, and his overall record to 5-3. Though he entered the UFC on a wave of hype last year with quick knockout victories over PRIDE stars Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ricardo Arona under his belt, Sokodjou’s relative inexperience was exposed in his unsuccessful debut against Lyoto Machida, and now he’s been pink-slipped to sharpen up his game elsewhere.

Speaking of fighters who never lived up to the promise of their pre-UFC performances, Rich Franklin’s BFF Jorge Gurgel has been cut — despite winning a $60,000 Fight of the Night bonus at UFC 91 — and picked up by Strikeforce. Gurgel’s decision loss to Aaron Riley earlier this month was just another frustrating example of Gurgel brawling his way to defeat rather than use the fearsome jiu-jitsu that earned him a 9-1 record (with all wins by submission) before being signed by the UFC. Within the Octagon, Gurgel went 3-4, with all but one fight going to a decision.

Though he told MMA Junkie that the cut was "very humiliating" and "a crushing of my childhood dream," he also sounded hopeful in a press release distributed by Strikeforce, saying "To me, this is like a new start. I’m coming in fresh…I make some bad decisions because I have too much fun. I have never used my Jiu Jitsu in the UFC…[people] ask me why I don’t use my Jiu-Jitsu. I have so much fun standing up and I completely think I’m winning all the time…I will always bring the same intensity and I’m always going to fight 110 percent. I just want to be able to use everything that I know."

UFC 91 PPV numbers and more after the jump…

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Must-See: “The Karate Hottie,” Randy Couture’s Comedic Debut + More

Pro fighter/bikini model Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Watterson will make her EliteXC debut on the untelevised undercard of their September 20th Showtime broadcast. You can get to know her better by watching this video of her posing in bikinis and doing high kicks; thanks, Fightlinker.

Sometimes the most badass guys are the ones you’d least expect — for example, the short, skinny, possibly Hispanic man in the above video with the insane fu-manchu mustache. Who knew he’d have that kind of upkicking prowess? (See the 2:28 mark). By the way, if anybody can figure out what he’s saying at 1:18, 1:23, 1:27, and 1:32, please let us know. Bas Rutten, you’ve just been served. Mad props to our buds at Holy Taco.

Here’s a clip from the Rob Schneider comedy Big Stan featuring Don Frye, Bob Sapp, and Randy Couture. If we remember Couture for nothing else, let’s remember him for the line he delivers at 3:28. Props to “Card” on the UG.

Bonus awesomeness after the jump…

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Exclusive Interview: Kenny Florian

UFC fighter Kenny Florian
(Whose house? KenFlo’s house.)

As MMA fighters go, Kenny Florian is as intelligent and articulate a guy as you can hope to find. He’s also a workaholic and an ever-evolving bad-ass in the cage, and his next test against the formidable Roger Huerta should answer any lingering questions as to who deserves to be the UFC’s top lightweight contender. Whether B.J. Penn will stick around to defend his 155-pound title, well, that’s another issue altogether.

In this exclusive interview with KenFlo we discuss training strategies, Roger Huerta’s apparent dissatisfaction with the UFC, being an ESPN MMA analyst, and more.

CagePotato.com: Hey Kenny, thanks for talking with me. How has your training for this fight been going?

Everything’s been going really well. My training camp was awesome. I really didn’t take too much time off. After the Lauzon fight I think I was back in the gym the following week and I wasn’t completely pleased, technically speaking, with my performance, so I wanted to get right back in the gym and improve on those things. With all the commitments I had before this fight, the traveling and all that, I’m glad I got a jump on it early.

What were you displeased with about your performance against Lauzon?

Joe Lauzon just shouldn’t have taken me down like he did. That was the main thing, was the wrestling angle of it. I just wanted to get back and get my hands on a quality wrestling coach so I could really improve in that area. It’s one thing to be able to do it in training, but it needs to be second nature in order for you to use it when you need it in a fight. So I found a great wrestling coach who’s just been a phenomenal addition to my team.

I’ve just been working on a lot of the fundamentals of wrestling, both defensively and offensively, and working on making sure I’m doing things right technically. With wrestling in particular you get a lot of people who will tell you ‘Oh, you should do it this way or that way,’ but having a world class guy to show you this is the way it should be done and here’s why, it gets it into your muscle memory and makes you a stronger fighter.

What do you think Roger Huerta’s greatest strength is as a fighter?

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Dan Henderson to Return at UFC 88

Dan Henderson UFC
(Photo courtesy of DanHenderson.com)

MMA Weekly reports that Dan Henderson’s next Octagon appearance will be a middleweight bout against Rousimar Palhares at UFC 88 (September 6th, Atlanta). Palhares (8-1) is the Brazilian Top Team rising star who pwned Ivan Salaverry so hardcore during his Octagon debut at UFC 84 that Salaverry retired from fighting. Henderson is coming off of back-to-back title fight losses, to Quinton Jackson at UFC 75 and Anderson Silva at UFC 82. Palhares has serious potential, to be sure, but his relative lack of experience puts him at a great disadvantage against one of the most accomplished fighters in the world. Still, if Palhares can pull off an upset, he’ll put himself in the mix for a middleweight title shot.

In other UFC fight-booking news…

Joe Lauzon has agreed to fight Kyle Bradley at UFC Fight Night 15 (September 17th; Omaha, Nebraska). Bradley, a Team Voodoo product and veteran of various regional leagues, made his Octagon debut as a welterweight at UFC 81, where he was destroyed by Chris Lytle in 33 seconds. He’ll now be fighting at his natural weight of 155.

— Rory Markham, a Bettendorf-based IFL standout who most recently submitted Jay Ellis at Adrenaline 1 on June 14th, will be making his UFC debut at UFC Fight Night 14 (July 19th, Las Vegas). His opponent will be Brodie Farber, a former Rage in the Cage middleweight champion who’s won his last six fights in the MMA Xtreme organization.

— Thomasz Drwal, the Polish light-heavyweight whose 13-fight win streak was snapped by Thiago Silva at UFC 75, will make his second Octagon appearance at UFC 87 (August 9th, Minneapolis) against 5-0 IFL veteran Andre Gusmao. Drwal was slated to fight David Heath in February, but was forced to pull out of the bout with a knee injury.

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Video: Gesias Calvancante vs. Joe Lauzon

Since this morning’s Baszler/Chan viddy was pulled off YouTube in nothin’ flat, here’s another must-see: Gesias “JZ” Calvancante vs. Joe Lauzon in an amateur MMA match that took place I don’t know when and I don’t know where (if you can fill in the blanks, please hit us with the info in the comments section). The fight starts out as a jiu-jitsu chess match — honestly, it looks like the guys are just playing Twister at one point — until Lauzon scores the full mount and rains down some green leather. But JZ reverses the position and the round ends. In the second frame, Calvancante patiently works to Lauzon’s back and slips in the rear-naked choke; Lauzon stands up with JZ on his back, and eventually goes down like a wounded animal. It’s an interesting look back at a time when Joe was just starting out and Gesias wasn’t such a freakin’ beast.

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