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Tag: UFC bookings

TUF 8 Winner Efrain Escudero Gets Another Ticket Back to UFC, Will Face Francisco Trinaldo


(My memory’s not so good…this was the TUF 8 lightweight final, right?)

If you put together a list of the most successful Ultimate Fighter winners in the show’s history, TUF 8‘s Efrain Escudero would definitely not be on that list. “Hecho in Mexico” has already bounced out of the promotion twice: First in 2010 when he blew weight by four pounds before a submission loss to Charles Oliveria, then in 2012 when he suffered back-to-back decision losses to Jacob Volkmann and Mac Danzig.

MMAFighting reported yesterday that Escudero will have a third crack at Octagon success, as he’s been brought back to fight Francisco “Massaranduba” Trinaldo at UFC Fight Night 51: Bigfoot vs. Arlovski 2, September 13th in Brasilia, Brazil. Trinaldo is a TUF Brazil 1 vet with a 4-3 official record in the UFC. He last competed at UFC 173, where he was dominated by Michael Chiesa en route to a decision loss.

Escudero most recently competed in May, where he TKO’d a person named Juha-Pekka Vainikainen in Sweden to win Superior Challenge’s lightweight belt. Before that, he lost a decision to former film-actor Dakota Cochrane, a guy who couldn’t even make it into the house on The Ultimate Fighter: Live. In other words, Escudero is currently riding a one-fight win streak.

The UFC needs as many warm bodies as it can get these days, which might explain Escudero’s new UFC contract. Will the re-signing of Travis Lutter be far behind? (Yes, yes, I know Lutter is retired, but I just couldn’t resist making a joke that lazy.)

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Demetrious Johnson vs. Chris Cariaso Booked for UFC 177 Co-Main Event


(Hell yeah bro, if you’re not psyched for this one you’re just not a real f-ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.)

As first reported by Yahoo!’s Kevin Iole, UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao 2: Seriously? Already? (August 30th; Sacramento, CA) will also feature flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson facing challenger Chris Cariaso in the co-main event.

It’ll be a brisk 11-week turnaround for Johnson, who successfully made his fourth title-defense against Ali Bagautinov at UFC 174 last month, in spite of Bagautinov loading up on EPO during his training camp. [Ed. note: Mighty Mouse deserves some extra cash for that. Can the UFC institute a "Sorry We Made You Fight a Juicer" bonus?] Fun fact, via Iole: “Given that UFC 176 was canceled, Johnson will appear in two of the last three pay-per-view shows when he steps into the cage on Aug. 30.” And of course, Dillashaw and Barao will appear in two of the last four, since they previously got it on at UFC 173.

Chris Cariaso is just 4-2 as a flyweight, but has won his last three bouts against Iliarde Santos (0-3 UFC record), Danny Martinez (0-2 UFC record), and Louis Smolka (1-1 UFC record) — not exactly a murderer’s row of top competition. Fun fact, via me: The split-decision that Cariaso notched against Smolka represented the first time that Cariaso has ever appeared on a UFC main card, back in May at UFC Fight Night 40. And this guy is getting a title shot, because the UFC is struggling to fill out this pay-per-view card. Times are getting hard, boys.

And so, UFC 177′s buyrate has shot up from an estimated 95,000 buys to a solid 110,000 with the addition of Johnson/Cariaso. I kid the flyweights. Sort of. I mean, they’re awesome and everything, but good luck convincing paying customers of that.

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UFC Booking Roundup: Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell, Andrei Arlovski vs. Bigfoot Silva 2 Added to September Cards


(You wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.”)

Dana White might insist that he’s not trying to compete with Bellator on September 5th — but the UFC is making damn well sure that its Connecticut card will be worth watching. In addition to Gegard Mousasi vs. Ronaldo Souza 2 being confirmed as UFC Fight Night 50′s main event, the following matches have also been added to the FOX Sports 1 card…

- Alistair Overeem vs. Ben Rothwell: Coming off a redemptive win against Frank Mir in February and a layoff for elbow surgery, Overeem will take on fellow heavyweight Ben Rothwell, who will be competing for the first time since his August 2013 TKO of Brandon Vera and subsequent nine-month suspension for elevated testosterone. (Again, UFC Fight Night 50 is taking place on an Indian reservation, so Overeem and Rothwell probably won’t have to deal with any inconvenient random drug tests before the match.)

- Matt Mitrione vs. Derrick Lewis: Mitrione was supposed to compete at last weekend’s UFC 175 event until his opponent Stefan Struve collapsed in the locker room and was pulled at the last minute. “Meathead” has now been re-scheduled against Derrick Lewis — better known as “The Black Beast” — who has gone 2-0 in the Octagon so far, with both wins by first-round TKO. Lewis most recently finished Guto Inocente at the TUF 19 Finale. I smell a slugfest.

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Gegard Mousasi vs. Ronaldo Souza 2 Moved to UFC Fight Night 50 in Connecticut


(Jacare Souza, smiling like a man who clearly doesn’t remember getting upkicked in the face six years ago. Photo via Combate/Globo)

In the wake of UFC 176′s cancellation, scheduled co-main event fighter Gegard Mousasi posted the following on Facebook:

 

Mousasi later erased the post, but it was too late — the UFC responded to his sarcasm by reassigning his rematch with Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza to Fight Night 50, the September 5th card being held on an Indian reservation in Connecticut, ten miles away from a Bellator show.

To be honest, we doubt the UFC brass had any malicious intent with this booking, but it’s still a kick in the nuts to go from a pay-per-view event at the Staples Center to a Friday night FS1 card in Ledyard, CT. Mousasi vs. Souza hasn’t officially been named as the UFC Fight Night 50 main event, although that’s certainly a possibility, considering that the only other notable fight on the lineup right now is Joe Lauzon vs. Michael Chiesa. We’ll keep you posted.

Fun fact: UFC Fight Night 50 comes smack in the middle of an eight-week stretch that will feature 10 UFC events. So yeah. The eyes of the world will be watching.

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Miesha Tate vs. Rin Nakai in the Works for UFC Fight Night Japan in September


(…everything else is virtually identical. / Image via McKinley Noble)

In a matchup straight out of our darkest, most deranged fantasies, a fight between UFC bantamweight contender Miesha Tate and Japanese muscle-fetish sex symbol Rin Nakai is reportedly in the works for UFC Fight Night Japan: Hunt vs. Nelson, September 20th in Saitama. MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani first reported the bout on Wednesday’s edition of UFC Tonight, but clarified that it hasn’t been finalized yet.

Tate (14-5) recently earned her first win in the UFC, out-pointing Liz Carmouche at UFC on FOX 11 in April. Nakai (16-0-1) is an undefeated Queen of Pancrase — although the promotion has occasionally had to bend the rules to keep her impressive record intact. Random fact: Nakai’s height is listed at 5’1″, which makes her even shorter than John Dodson. We can’t wait for her first post-fight interview with Helwani.

Does anybody else feel like Tate vs. Nakai is a direct response to Bellator’s latest moves? I picture Joe Silva huddled on his laptop saying, “Oh, you think you can beat us on freak show fights, huh? We can do this all day, homie.”

After the jump: Videos of Rin Nakai working out topless — tastefully shot from behind — and bouncing on an exercise ball while giggling. #fitnessmotivation

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The Durkin Era Continues: Patrick Cummins to Make Quick Return Against Kyle Kingsbury at UFC on FOX 12 in July

The UFC knows when it has a hot commodity on its hands. And so, the promotion has booked light-heavyweight ex-barista Patrick “Durkin” Cummins to return at UFC on FOX 12: Lawler vs. Brown (July 26th, San Jose), just days after he ran through Roger “At Least He’s on Sherdog” Narvaez on the Fight Pass Prelim of UFC Fight Night 42. Total time between fights: Seven weeks, which is a little on the short side. Then again, UFC fans are currently in the throes of Durkinmania, and their appetite must be fed at all costs.

I’m sure you’ll tune into this one no matter who Cummins is fighting, but for the record, he’ll be taking on TUF 8 vet Kyle Kingsbury, who hasn’t competed since Jimi Manuwa shattered his orbital bone — and gave him his third consecutive loss — in September 2012. Though Kingsbu considered retirement after that rough patch, he confirmed last month that he’ll be returning to action in San Jose, where he currently trains. Too bad he’s being sacrificed to a GODDAMNED JUGGERNAUT.

We’ve been guilty of declaring “eras” a little prematurely around here, but I think it’s safe to say that we’re already living in the Durkin Era, and are rapidly approaching the Geological Epoch of Patrick Muthatruckin’ Durkins. Trust me, guys. Just watch it happen.

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Mark Hunt vs. Roy Nelson to Headline September UFC Fight Night Card in Japan (Yes!); Event to Air on Fight Pass (Crap!)


(“Ohhh, look at that. It’s like an ad for a f*ckin’ weight-loss center. Before, and *way* before.” / Photos via MMAJunkie)

After a month of rumors, it’s finally official: Heavyweight sluggers Mark Hunt and Roy Nelson will be trading bombs in the main event of UFC Fight Night 51, which is slated to take place September 20th at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

Hunt hasn’t competed since his Fight of the Year-candidate draw against Antonio Silva last December, which followed a TKO loss against Junior Dos Santos at UFC 160. Nelson is coming off his brain-rattling knockout win over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in April, which snapped a two-fight losing streak. Feel free to call this one “The Battle of the Bulge,” as long as you acknowledge that Hunt already made that joke.

The only drawback to this guaranteed slobberknocker is that the event is expected to air on Fight Pass, which means that most of us North American types won’t see it live, and will have to settle for the GIFs that hit the Internet later. Ah well. The Great and Powerful UFC has a plan, and we must always trust in it.

Your predictions, please.

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Hector Lombard vs. Dong Hyun Kim Booked for UFC Macau Show on August 23rd


(We’d like to formally retract that “Caribbean Jerk” comment. / Photo via @hectorlombard)

As reported on yesterday’s edition of UFC Tonight, a high-profile welterweight bout between Hector Lombard and Dong Hyun Kim is expected for an August 23rd UFC Fight Night show at the Cotai Arena in Macau, China.

Lombard is coming off a dominant decision win against Jake Shields at UFC 171 in March, which followed his first-round knockout of Nate Marquardt last October. Kim is riding a four-fight win streak, and most recently knocked out John Hathaway with a spinning back elbow at the TUF China Finale, which also took place at Macau’s Cotai Arena.

Though Lombard had been trying to build heat for a fight against Matt Brown, it seems that the UFC has other plans for “The Immortal” right now. What those plans are remain to be seen, although UFC president Dana White stated last night that he’d happily set up Brown vs. Nick Diaz if Diaz wanted it.

The 8/23 Fight Night show in Macau will likely be broadcast on UFC Fight Pass, and will take place the same day as a FOX Sports 1 card in Tulsa, Oklahoma, God help us.

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Weird Booking of the Day: Urijah Faber vs. Alex Caceres Added to UFC 175


(Be patient, this will make sense soon. / Image via @UrijahFaber)

In a booking that Bjorn Rebney might describe as a “weird, funky, freaky kind of Cirque du Soleil-esque type of fight,” #1-ranked bantamweight contender Urijah Faber will fight #13-ranked Alex “Bruce Leroy” Caceres at UFC 175: Weidman vs. Machida, July 5th in Las Vegas. The UFC announced the matchup yesterday.

The pairing came about after a fan suggested it to Caceres on twitter, Caceres said he was down, and then Faber responded two weeks later with the photoshop you see above, accompanied by the phrase “Sho Nuf!!” Seriously, that’s all it took for the UFC matchmakers to greenlight this one.

Look, I get it: Joe Silva and Sean Shelby are barely keeping their heads above water these days. Plus, after Faber lost his sixth-consecutive title bout in February — against Renan Barao at UFC 169 — he has officially entered the “just gimme some fun fights” stage of his career, and if nothing else, The California Kid vs. Bruce Leroy is a fun fight. I think. Right? And who knows, maybe Caceres will surprise us by rising to the occasion. After exposing Sergio Pettis in January, the TUF 12 vet proved that he’s not to be taken lightly.

More importantly, the UFC gets to add one of its biggest sub-155 stars to a pay-per-view that is already their most stacked card of the year by a wide margin. Mark your calendars for July 5th, and check out the current lineup after the jump…

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Slobberknocker Alert: Soa Palelei vs. Jared Rosholt Added to UFC Fight Night 43 in New Zealand


(Photo via Getty)

Australian heavyweight Soa Palelei has been putting together one of the greatest career comeback stories outside of Anthony Johnson. At one time considered to be a one-and-done UFC washout after he lost to Eddie Sanchez at UFC 79, “The Hulk” has won 11 straight fights since 2011 — all by KO/TKO — including three wins in the Octagon.

After effortlessly running through Ruan Potts at UFC Fight Night 40: Brown vs. Silva last Saturday, Palelei has been quickly re-booked to fight 10-1 heavyweight up-and-comer Jared Rosholt at UFC Fight Night 43: Te Huna vs. Marquardt, which takes place June 28th at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand. Rosholt also carries big knockout power, though he’s yet to show it off in his current UFC stint, where he’s scored decision wins over Walt Harris and Daniel Omielanczuk.

The quick seven-week turnaround might be less than ideal for Palelei, but fighting in front of a supportive Oceania crowd will more than make up for it. Unrelated fun facts (via BloodyElbow): Palelei got his first tattoo with a wooden chisel and mallet, and Mark Hunt is the only opponent he’d turn down, because “We’re training partners, and we’re like family.”

The current lineup for UFC Fight Night 43 is below…

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