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Tag: UFC bookings

Chael Sonnen vs. Wanderlei Silva Booked for UFC 173 Co-Main Event


(…let us never forget the Battle of the MGM Grand, and the brave American who gave his life that day. / Props: Facebook.com/ChaelSonnen)

As confirmed this weekend by UFC president Dana White, UFC 173: Weidman vs. Belfort (May 25th, Las Vegas) will be supported by another high-profile American vs. Brazilian rivalry. Fresh off their unsanctioned fight on the set of TUF Brazil 3, Chael Sonnen and Wanderlei Silva will meet in the co-main event, at light-heavyweight. And for once, the phrase “grudge match” isn’t just promotional hot air; don’t expect these two to hug it out like homeboys after the fight is over.

Of course, there’s more at stake here than personal animosity. Wanderlei Silva has been competing professionally for over 17 years (!), and is coming off his bar-brawl KO of Brain Stann last March. A victory over Sonnen would give Silva two wins in a row for the first time in his UFC career. A loss would inevitably invoke calls for his retirement. That’s just the reality for a 37-year-old legend in a young man’s game.

Sonnen — who is a year younger than Silva and has been competing for nearly as long — recently got smoked by Rashad Evans at UFC 167. The American Gangster already has a promising broadcasting career in front of him, and a decisive loss against Wandy could speed up his transition out of the sport. So who are you pulling for?

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Booking Alert: Chris Weidman Will Face Vitor Belfort at UFC 173


(Chris Weidman cheers on NSAC officials as they deliberate. / Photo via Getty)

Chris Weidman‘s first middleweight title defense against someone not named Anderson Silva will take place at UFC 173 on May 24th. Weidman will be facing the young dinosaur Vitor Belfort, who is on a three-fight winning streak and most recently became the first man to knock out Dan Henderson at UFC Fight Night 32.

Of note: The fight is taking place in Las Vegas. Belfort’s last three fights were located in Brazil. Conspiratorially minded individuals suspected this clever booking had something to do with Belfort’s much-maligned TRT use. When venerable MMA journalist Kevin Iole tried to separate himself from Dana White’s cheerleaders (aka the MMA media) and call attention to the issue, he was reprimanded.

The TRT issue will, in some ways, overshadow the combatants and the other narratives present in the fight—Weidman coming into his own as champion after definitely proving his superiority over Silva, Belfort’s resurgence as a top contender, etc. The Nevada State Athletic Commission is unsure of whether they’ll award Belfort a therapeutic use exemption, while Dana White has switched stances on the TRT issue. He’s now hoping the commission denies Belfort’s TUE request and TRT gets banned from MMA. Go figure.

It’s going to be an interesting spring.

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Michael Johnson vs. Melvin Guillard Booked as New UFC Fight Night 37 Co-Main Event, With Ross Pearson Out Due to Knee Injury


(“Wait, so Ross Pearson’s not on this card anymore? F*ck it, I’m not going.” — Nobody. / Photo via Getty)

UFC officials confirmed this morning that Ross Pearson has pulled out of his lightweight do-over fight against Melvin Guillard at UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa (March 8th, London) due to a knee injury suffered in training. Details about the exact nature and recovery time of Pearson’s injury are scarce, though Pearson claims that he’ll require surgery.

I know what you’re thinking: Does this mean that Ilir Latifi vs. Cyrille Diabate gets bumped up to the UFC Fight Night 37 co-main event? LOL, of course not. Luckily, the UFC has already found a replacement for Pearson — Michael Johnson, who’s coming off an impressive knockout of Gleison Tibau at UFC 168, and has been calling out Nate Diaz and Khabib Nurmagomedov since then in an attempt to land a big fight. And while those call-outs may have been slightly premature, a decisive win against Guillard could go a long way in making Johnson’s case as a contender worthy of top competition.

Johnson vs. Guillard has a personal hook to it as well. The two hard-hitting 155′ers were Blackzilian training partners for a while, until Guillard left the crew. A few months later, Guillard took some shots at Johnson on Twitter for no apparent reason. Your predictions for this one, please.

“Gustafsson vs. Manuwa” will air on UFC Fight Pass (unfortunately), and will also feature Brad Pickett vs. Ian McCall and the return of Gunnar Nelson.

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Browne vs. Werdum, Tate vs. Carmouche Announced for UFC on FOX 11, April 19th in Orlando


(Yeesh…even the Lizbos wouldn’t go near that mug. / Photo via Getty)

The UFC announced this evening that the rumored heavyweight title eliminator between Travis Browne and Fabricio Werdum will take place at UFC on FOX 11, April 19th at the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida. It’s not yet clear whether Browne vs. Werdum will serve as the event’s headliner, but the winner of the fight will likely receive a title shot against Cain Velasquez at the end of this year, after the champ recovers from shoulder surgery.

Also on the UFC on FOX 11 lineup, women’s bantamweight contenders Miesha Tate and Liz Carmouche will face off in a meeting of fighters who know what Ronda Rousey‘s armbar feels like. Tate is riding a two-fight losing streak, thanks to her unsuccessful performance against Rousey at UFC 168, which followed her TKO loss to Cat Zingano in April. (Both of those matches won Fight of the Night, by the way.) Meanwhile, Carmouche is coming off a decision loss to Alexis Davis at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in November. Tate and Carmouche were originally slated to fight each other last July, before Tate got drafted to coach on TUF 18.

Tickets for UFC on FOX 11 will go on sale February 14th. We’ll let you know when more fights are added to the card.

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Wait Until You Hear What Nate Diaz Said About Dana White [UPDATED]


(Does this look like the face of guy who would duck a fight? / Photo via Getty.)

Remember when the UFC showed they could still book great matches when they paired off Khabib Nurmagomedov and Gilbert Melendez? And remember how they canceled that fight for no reason?

The UFC apparently had other plans for Nurmagomedov—the kind that involved a fight against Nate Diaz. According to Dana White, Diaz wanted none of it.

Needless to say, Diaz wasn’t happy with White’s words. He rushed to twitter to protect his Stockton street-cred.

 

We all probably think our bosses are full of shit to some extent, but saying it in public isn’t the smartest idea.

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Jon Jones vs. Glover Teixeira (Finally) Official for UFC 172, April 26th in Baltimore


(Photo via Esther Lin/MMAFighting.com)

After being tentatively scheduled and scrapped three separate times, the UFC light-heavyweight championship fight between Jon Jones and Glover Teixeira has been officially announced for the main event of UFC 172, which will take place April 26th at the Baltimore Arena in Baltimore, Maryland. It will be the UFC’s first visit to Baltimore, a magical place known for its scenic beauty.

Though Baltimore isn’t exactly a big-money fight town, Jones does have a geographical connection to the city, as his older brother Arthur Jones is a defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens. Plus, the champ’s east coast roots in New York State have led the UFC to repeatedly book him in Toronto and Newark during his title run, and Teixeira is a longtime resident of Connecticut, which is close enough I guess.

Jones is currently sitting as high as a -750 favorite for his bout against Teixeira. But this is MMA, and anything can happen. Right, Dalai Lama?

No other matchups for UFC 172 have been announced yet.

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Dong Hyun Kim vs. John Hathaway Booked for TUF China Finale Headliner; Menjivar vs. Hioki Win-or-Get-Fired Fight Also Added


(Kim’s Knockout of the Night-winning comeback KO of Erick Silva at UFC Fight Night 29 in October. / Video via FoxSports)

Coming off three consecutive victories against Paulo Thiago, Siyar Bahadurzada, and Erick Silva, South Korean welterweight Dong Hyun Kim is one of the most successful Asian fighters currently competing in the UFC. Naturally, the UFC has booked him to headline the TUF China Finale, which goes down March 1st at the CotaiArena in Macau. Kim will face British vet John Hathaway, who is riding his own three-fight win streak, although against somewhat weaker competition. Plus, Hathaway was inactive for all of 2013 due to ulcerative colitis, so yeah, this kind of feels like a squash match. The fight will be scheduled for five rounds; neither Kim nor Hathaway has ever competed in a five-rounder before.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the contender spectrum, TopMMANews is reporting that Hatsu Hioki and Ivan Menjivar will face off in a featherweight bout at the TUF China Finale that could end with the loser getting the axe. Once considered to be one of the greatest featherweights in the world, Hioki has struggled to find his footing in the UFC, and has lost three consecutive decisions to Ricardo Lamas, Clay Guida, and Darren Elkins. As for Menjivar, the “Pride of El Salvador” went 0-2 in 2013, dropping fights against Urijah Faber and Wilson Reis.

The TUF China Finale will stream live on UFC Fight Pass, that online subscription thing that the promotion has been hawking lately, which means that most of you probably won’t see these fights anyway. Personally, we’re going to hold off on signing up until we’re sure that the shy yoga instructor has been added to the card, hopefully in a match against Bobby Ologun. Make it happen, Mark.

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Here Are Some Awesome Fight Bookings for UFC 170 to Take Your Mind Off Silva’s Leg


(Photo via Getty)

Even though the dust and scattered bone chips have settled, we can’t help but think about Silva departing the cage on a stretcher and screaming.

If you’re anything like us, you want something to distract you from this horrible visual. Fortunately, Joe Silva provided the MMA world with some new food for thought in the form of two excellent bookings for UFC 170, taking place in Las Vegas on February 22nd.

First, Ronda Rousey will defend her women’s bantamweight title against fellow Olympian Sara McMann. This bout will main-event the PPV. Look for the UFC to work the Olympian vs. Olympian angle here, especially since the 2014 Winter Olympics coincide with UFC 170.

Rousey just dominated Miesha Tate at UFC 168 and refused to shake her hand after armbarring her a second time, cementing her role as a heel. She’s now 8-0.

McMann hasn’t fought since an easy TKO victory over Sheila Gaff back in April. Her record stands at 7-0.

Second, 21-0 Dagestani warrior Khabib Nurmagomedov will face his greatest test at UFC 170: Former Strikeforce

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Sergio Pettis vs. Alex Caceres Added to UFC on FOX 10 Card in January


(Photo by Jeff Bottari, via Getty)

After outpointing Will “The Thrill” Campuzano last month at UFC 167, undefeated bantamweight prodigy Sergio Pettis has been quickly booked for his second Octagon appearance — which will take place just ten weeks after his UFC debut. As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Pettis will compete at UFC on FOX 10: Henderson vs. Thomson (January 25th, Chicago) against Alex Caceres.

Though Caceres first became known for his wacky “Bruce Leroy” persona on TUF 12, the Miami-based former yard-fighter has developed into one of the most durable mid-level contenders in the UFC bantamweight division. If not for his weed-related no-contest earlier this year, Caceres would currently be on a three-fight win streak, with all wins by split-decision. (Four of Caceres’s last five fights ended in split-decision, which I guess makes him the Leonard Garcia of his generation.)

Pettis vs. Caceres becomes the 12th fight added to the Bendo vs. Punk card card — which also includes such notable scraps as Gonzaga vs. Miocic, Cerrone vs. Martins, and Rosholt vs. Oliynyk — though its exact placement on the lineup has yet to be announced. Shoot your predictions in the comments section, and swing by Fightland to read about the time Caceres trained with the real Bruce Leroy before his UFC debut, which turned out to be a terrible decision on every level.

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Ian McCall vs. Brad Pickett, Gunnar Nelson vs. Omari Akhmedov Added to UFC Fight Night 37 in London


(Clad in a ragged fedora and suspenders, ‘One Punch’ is the first sub-boss you encounter in the “England” level of Super UFC Bros. / Image via @MleegArt)

After pulling out of this weekend’s UFC on FOX 9 card due to injury, Ian McCall has been reassigned to UFC Fight Night 37: Gustafsson vs. Manuwa, March 8th at the O2 Arena in London. “Uncle Creepy” will face off against Brad “One Punch” Pickett, who is dropping to flyweight for the first time following a 3-3 UFC stint at bantamweight. The UFC confirmed the booking yesterday.

Though Pickett was never able to put together a long winning streak in the Octagon, his fan-friendly style has earned him four Fight of the Night bonuses and one Knockout of the Night bonus since 2011, totaling $270,000 in extra cash. His last appearance resulted in a triangle-choke loss to Michael McDonald, in a bout that won the FOTN award for UFC Fight Night 26: Shogun vs. Sonnen. Of course, McCall is no slouch himself when it comes to bonuses, with two Fight of the Night bumps in his four UFC appearances. So yeah, should be fun.

Also on the card…

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