UFC 128: Shogun vs. Jones goes down March 19th at the Prudential Center in Newark, and we’ve got the extended trailer for your viewing pleasure. Personally, I’m already a little burned out on watching the main eventers’ fight highlights and hearing the crusty old “youth vs. experience” debate. If you are too, just skip to the 4:51 mark to hear more about two other fights that aren’t getting nearly enough attention.
We’re only 18 days away from one of the most compelling UFC title fights in recent history. Will Jon Jones complete his prodigious ascent to the top of the light-heavyweight heap, less than three years after making his MMA debut? Will veteran knockout artist Mauricio Rua show Bones what a true champion really is? And will anybody have the guts to confront Shogun about his unibrow situation? The UFC’s latest teaser trailer has our minds racing. If you have any insight, please share…
Even though the decision seemed justified at the time, deep down Evans might wish he could take that one back. At least publicly however, he’s holding the line. As the great poet Coolio once said, wishing is for suckers, and Rashad? Well, a few weeks after seeing his next chance at that 205-pound strap evaporate when he got his knee rolled up during a freak accident in the training room, he still says he wouldn’t change a thing …
"Hey my ppl! Last night most of u heard the news. If not here is the latest. I have 2 pull out of my Shogun fight because of injury. I severely sprained my MCL in practice. While in practice I got blindsided by another group of partners right into the side of my knee like football lineman style.. Since I’m hurt my teammate young phenom Bones Jones is gonna step in 4 me! I’m gonna recover & then see what happens next 4 me! Thank all u 4 the encouragement! I love my supports & my haters! Go get that belt brudda Jones!"
On paper, Machida, who was robbed of a decision over Quinton Rampage Jackson at UFC 123 in November after losing the light heavyweight belt to Mauricio Shogun Rua in May at UFC 113, is probably the UFC’s number two light heavyweight contender at the moment behind Rashad Evans, making the announcement that he will be facing an odds defying game plan master like Couture in his next bout somewhat of a head scratcher.
The cost vs. reward ratio is skewed in Randy’s favor.
If he beats the 47-year-old nearly-retired former champion, he beat a 47-year-old former champion, which shouldn’t raise his stock much in the UFC’s light heavyweight class. If he loses to Couture, he’ll have lost three fights in a row and will likely be relegated to fighting mid-card against Krzysztof Soszynski in his next bout, while Couture will likely get a crack at winning the UFC 205-pound belt for a record fourth time in his career by facing Shogun.
Although he says that he isn’t specifically fighting to win a title shot, Couture is cognizant that a win over Machida would put him in line to face Rua (the other fighter besides Lyoto that he named as being the two opponents he would take a break from acting to face) for the title.
In the interview above with MMA30′s Dave Farra, Couture talks about how he plans to bring the fight to Machida and also touches on some topics near and dear to him, including why his protegee Gray Maynard was somewhat sluggish in his UFC 125 fight with Frankie Edgar and his former Team Quest stablemate Chael Sonnen’s recent rash of bad decisions.
In what’s expected to be an official announcement of the UFC’s return to Brazil in 2011, UFC president Dana White and Chairman/CEO Lorenzo Fertitta will be making a special announcement at Rio De Janeiro’s City Hall today at 11 a.m. ET, 2 p.m. local time. White and Fertitta will be joined by UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie, middleweight champion Anderson Silva, light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, featherweight champion Jose Aldo, #1 middleweight contender Vitor Belfort, and Eduardo Paes, the mayor of Rio. You can watch the announcement live in the video player after the jump.
"I know there’s been talk of March 19 potentially happening. While we’re looking at delivering a pay-per-view (event) around that time, nothing’s been defined in terms of whether Abu Dhabi gets it or someone else."
The former UFC light heavyweight champ says he’s preparing for every scenario that "Rampage" may present him with during the fight — even the unlikelihood that Jackson may demonstrate some newly developed kickboxing skills.
"Well, I always think for a MMA fight, despite the specialties of each fighter, you have to be prepared for anything, because we can never know what the guy is up to. A guy who doesn’t know how to kick may be kicking on the following fight, you can’t tell for sure. The need leads the frog to a jump. We have many examples of people who are good on areas that aren’t theirs specialties: Georges St. Pierre has improved a lot his Wrestling, people that didn’t kick are now kicking and so it goes… I don’t underestimate any fighter," Machida told Tatame.com. "I think that, just as I’m prepared for anything during the fight, so are they: the stand-up game, the takedowns and the ground game. Of course we have our game plan set, our strong point is Karate and the exchanges, but if we need to use the other skills, we will do the takedowns and the ground game that I train here with Valter Broca, who’s a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, graduated by De La Riva, who always help me on this area."
As far as Jackson’s gameplan, Machida doesn’t think Quinton will shy away from standing with him, despite his tough to defend against unorthodox karate striking prowess.
For the past several months fellow Brazilians have been rallying for Murilo "Ninja" Rua to be added to the UFC’s 185-pound roster.
Wanderlei Silva posted a video blog on YouTube last week asking UFC president, Dana White to sign the former PRIDE star to the organization.
Besides "The Axe Murderer," Ninja’s younger brother, UFC light heavyweight champion, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua as well as welterweight contender Paulo Thiago also appeared in the clip to express their support for Murilo, who is undefeated in his last four outings, being brought into the UFC’s middleweight mix.
Speaking with TATAME this week, Ninja says that the ultimate goal would be to join friends like Wand and Shogun in the UFC, but he isn’t banking on it happening without him proving that he deserves it.
“I see it from a positive perspective, but I’m fighting and doing my job. If one day I’ll fight for the UFC it’ll only be a consequence. I’ll wait and it’ll come," Rua explained. “[The UFC's middleweight division] is a great division; there are great fighters, it’s really hard, but I’ll try to be on my best to go for the belt. That’s my dream, my goal, and I want to deserve it. On the right time, I’ll join the UFC’s cast."