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Tag: UFC

Rich Franklin, ‘Shogun’ Rua Could Return to UFC in April; Sherk Also Rumored

RF
(Rich Franklin, not overcompensating.)

The Fight Network reports that Rich Franklin is looking to make his Octagon return at the UFC’s April 19th event in Montreal. His opponent will be TUF4 middleweight winner Travis Lutter; it was first rumored that Franklin would face Lutter at UFC 82, but recent knee surgery forced Franklin to postpone the match. Both men are coming off of losses to Anderson Silva.

Echoing a previous claim, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua has revealed to GracieMag.com that he will also be fighting in Montreal, against a yet-unnamed opponent. The Chute Boxe defector has decided to stay in Curitiba, Brazil, and form a new gym with ex-teammate Andre Dida called Universidade da Luta (Fight University).

If these big-name fights and the probable welterweight unification match between Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra all hold up, the UFC’s Montreal event would be incredibly stacked; throw in a rumor about Sean Sherk fighting the winner of Penn/Stevenson at the event, and you’re looking at an all-time classic. We hope that the card does brisk business for the UFC — but as we learned yesterday, when Rich Franklin is on the marquee, nothing is guaranteed

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Hughes to Keep Fighting; Won’t Win Pulitzer

Hughes

Matt Hughes was on Cincinnati’s 700 WLW with Jim Scott yesterday and Hughes has confimed he will keep fighting for the UFC. Props to 5oz of Pain for snagging this quote:

“Yes, I am. I can’t go out on a loss like that. I’m too much of a competitor. I’m 34 years old, my body’s actually extremely healthy from what I’ve done my whole life. If you look at it, Chuck Liddell, I think he’s 37 or 38, Randy Couture’s close to 43 and he’s called the most dominant heavyweight right now. So if you look at the timeline, I’ve got plenty of fights left in me.” 

So it looks like Hughes could be eyeballing Serra if the current welterweight champ falls to GSP in April. About damn time those two face off. Click here to the check out the rest of the Hughes radio interview.

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Boring But Important: UFC Edition

JH
(Jeremy Horn, giving Chael Sonnen the business.)

— Middleweight veteran Jeremy Horn will be returning to the UFC at February 2nd’s “Breaking Point” event, replacing Thales Leites, who broke his hand during training and had to pull out of a scheduled match with Nate Marquardt. Horn has compiled an astounding professional record of 77-16-5 since turning pro in 1996, and holds notable wins over Chuck Liddell and Forrest Griffin. His last UFC fight was at UFC 60 in May 2006, where he defeated Chael Sonnen by armbar.

— Welterweight contender Jon Fitch, who has gone 7-0 since joining the UFC in 2005 and hasn’t been defeated since 2002, will face Akihiro Gono at UFC 82: “Pride of a Champion.” Gono is the former PRIDE vet who tied Tamdan McCrory into a pretzel during his Octagon debut at UFC 78, picking up a Submission of the Night bonus in the process. Fitch has also reportedly re-signed with the UFC for three more matches.

— The lineup for UFC 80 is official. (Yes, it will be airing live and on tape delay.) The lineup for the following week’s Ultimate Fight Night card is nearly set as well.

— The UFC’s PPV buys in 2007 decreased 5% compared to 2006. During those two years, UFC 66 (Liddell vs. Ortiz, 12/30/06) was by far the most popular event, with 1,050,000 buys; the three least popular cards — UFC 58, 64, and 72, with 300k, 300k and 200k buys, respectively — were all headlined by Rich Franklin.

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Fisher/Aurelio Set to Battle at UFC Fight Night 13

UFC Fight Night 13 - tentatively scheduled for April 2 – will now also feature a lightweight showdown between Spencer Fisher and Marcus Aurelio, reports MMA Junkie. Sources have confirmed that both fighters have agreed to the fight, although nothing has been signed. We do know that UFC Fight Night 13 will be the lead-in for “The Ultimate Fighter 7” season premiere and it’s rumored to go down in Colorado.

Spencer Fisher is 31 and owns a record of 20-4, with three of those losses happening in the UFC. He lost a decision to Frankie Edgar at UFC 78, but did rock Sam Stout at UFC Fight Night 10 to avenge his earlier loss to “Hands of Stone” (incidentally, a nickname trying so hard to sound tough that it might make our next worst nicknames list). Marcus Aurelio is three years older than “The King Fisher” (get it? The Fisher King!) and had lost three fights in a row before getting back on track – also at UFC 78 - when he TKO’d Luke Caudillo in the first round. He stands at 15-5, but hasn’t been too impressive in his two UFC fights.

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Fights of the Day: Matt Hughes vs. Dennis Hallman 1 + 2

Matt Hughes only experienced defeat twice in his first 23 fights — a stat that’s even more remarkable when you consider that both losses came from a dude named Dennis Hallman, who was able to submit Hughes within the first 20 seconds of each match. This clip from UFC 29 presents the entire saga (fight #2 starts at the 5:30 mark). Hallman didn’t go on to beat any other MMA legends, but he’s still active in the game, winning his last fight at Strikeforce in November, and compiling a 2-1 record in the IFL in 2006.

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CORRECTION: Kongo/Herring Added to “Pride of a Champion”

CK
(Cheick yourself before you *wreck* yourself…)

**UPDATE: It looks like Kongo/Herring will go down at UFC 82: Pride of a Champion (which will be headlined by the middleweight championship match between Anderson Silva and Dan Henderson), not UFC 81: Breaking Point. Our bad, as they say. At this point, all five of UFC 81′s main card bouts and three of its preliminary matches are reportedly locked down.

“Breaking Point” could now refer to the scales used at UFC 81′s weigh-in, as a third high-profile heavyweight match has been added to the event. Already headlined by the UFC debut of former WWE-star Brock Lesnar versus ex-champ Frank Mir, and the interim heavyweight championship bout between Tim Sylvia and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, UFC [82] will also feature a match between heavies Cheick Kongo and Heath Herring, according to MMA Mania. Kongo, a.k.a. “The French Sensation,” is the UFC rising star whose last two matches resulted in decision victories over Assuerio Silva and Mirko Cro Cop. Heath Herring is a former PRIDE vet who has gone 1-2 in the UFC; his last fight was a decision loss against Nogueira, and he is perhaps best known for this unfortunate staredown with Yoshihiro Nakao at K-1 Dynamite 2005:

MMA Weekly is reporting that the pay-per-view portion of UFC 81 will include two middleweight bouts — Ricardo Almeida against Alan Belcher, and Nate Marquardt against Thales Leites — and a lightweight bout between Tyson Griffin and Gleison Tibou. The three officially announced undercard bouts are Marvin Eastman vs. Terry Martin (middleweights), Tomasz Drwal vs. David Heath (light heavyweights), and Keita Nakamura vs. Rob Emerson (lightweights).

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UFC vs. Boxing & the Fake Stuff

Liddell/Silva

Dave Meltzer over at Yahoo! Sports has his own version of FMK today. The contestants being MMA, boxing and pro wrestling (okay, it’s impossible to properly play FMK with an entire sport, but go with it). He rambles on for what seems like hours and covers much of what we already know – that MMA is growing rapidly, but douches like Mayweather and De La Hoya keep boxing at the forefront with their hordes of mindless fans. And rednecks keep procreating at a rapid pace, thus keeping pro wrestling afloat.

However, he does a decent job of breaking down the numbers, mainly the TV stats. While the PPV numbers are not yet available for UFC 78 and 79 (how long does it take them to print out their numbers anyway?), the expectations are that both events will be in the top 15 PPV events of the year. Why top 15, you ask? Because that’s what Meltzer’s Wrestling Observer gave us:

1. Boxing: Oscar De La Hoya/Floyd Mayweather, May 5: 2,400,000
2. Boxing: Mayweather/Ricky Hatton, December 8: 850,000
3. WWE: Wrestlemania, April 1: 760,000
4. UFC: Chuck Liddell/Quinton Jackson, May 26: 675,000
5. UFC: Tim Sylvia/Randy Couture, March 3: 540,000
6. UFC: Couture/Gabriel Gonzaga, August 24: 520,000
7. UFC: Liddell/Keith Jardine, September 22: 475,000
8. UFC: Tito Ortiz/Rashad Evans, July 7: 425,000
9. UFC: Anderson Silva/Travis Lutter, Feb. 2: 400,000
10. UFC: Georges St. Pierre/Matt Serra, April 7: 400,000
11. Boxing: Manny Pacquiao/Marco Antonio Barrera, October 6: 350,000
12. WWE: Summerslam, August 26: 344,000
13. Boxing: Miguel Cotto/Shane Mosley, November 10: 340,000
14. UFC: Anderson Silva/Rich Franklin, October 20: 325,000
15. WWE: Royal Rumble, January. 28: 314,000

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Bob Meyrowitz Still Doesn’t Get It

BW
(Not Bob Meyrowitz, but close enough.)

Entrepreneur Bob Meyrowitz — who founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 1993 with his company Semaphore Entertainment Group before running it into the ground and selling it to Zuffa in 2001 — has emerged from obscurity to throw his hat into the cage once again. According to Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer, Meyrowitz and leading event promoter Live Nation have signed a deal to start a new MMA promotion, with more details to follow in the next two weeks. Though Bloody Elbow argues that Live Nation’s network television connections give the yet-unnamed promotion an immediate leg up, we can’t help thinking that another addition to the MMA landscape would sink under a lack of available stars.

Meyrowitz’s first foray into MMA ended after he tried to market the UFC as the deadliest, most outrageous spectacle on pay-per-view; Dana White and the Fertittas proved that it could thrive if it was presented as safe, mainstream entertainment on basic cable. There’s no question that Meyrowitz will be taking cues from his disciples, but there’s more to launching an MMA organization than following the UFC’s lead. With all the nation’s truly talented MMArtists already signed to one promotion or another, Meyrowitz will have to cull unproven, inexperienced fighters to fill the ranks of his new show. Sure, that might be enough for the teenaged stoners looking for low-impact entertainment on Saturday afternoons — the same demographic that watches dudes jump around a halfpipe on Live Nation’s Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour on NBC — but for a new promotion to truly catch fire with MMA fans, it would need star power, or at least a large amount of undiscovered talent. If Monte Cox and Fedor Emelianenko can’t attract a decent talent pool, we don’t see Bob doing it either…

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Something’s Rank in Here!

If you’re bored this weekend and there’s not an “I Love Lucy” marathon polluting your TV screen, here’s something with which you can pass the time. Yesterday and again today, BloodyElbow did cool breakdowns of the latest rankings in MMA. Their overviews didn’t include the rankings for 5oz of Pain or MMA on Tap, but they included them in updates. To check out those rankings, follow the links we have for you. Kid Nate observes the obvious domination the UFC has on the rankings, especially the light heavyweight division. Pretty much across the board.

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The Great White Hype

As we roll towards UFC 80, the hype machine is already revving for UFC 81. I, however, still have the burr of Sokoudjou’s hype rammed up my ass and am going to proceed with caution. My particular focus is on the building hype surrounding Brock Lesnar, the former college wrestling champ, WWE champ, NFL shit-causer, Japan pro wrestling star and now undefeated MMA fighter (1-0). It was announced at UFC 77 that Lesnar had signed with the UFC, so we knew it was just a matter of time before we started hearing the hype drums in the distance. He faces off against Frank Mir on February 2nd in Las Vegas.

Lesnar’s story might be an interesting one, but only because he’s earned a reputation for pissing in the face of success. I’m not convinced he’s going to be a force in the UFC, but if he does pull his shit together and starts making waves, I wouldn’t be surprised if he bolted like he always does. However, if he does become a huge UFC force, I will erase this post and replace it with one where I predict Lesnar will be the next UFC king. That’s how I roll.

Let’s glance at our most recent hype example. The bad taste of The African Assassin’s loss has been particularly rank for bettors. Some of the lines had Sokoudjou and Machida almost even at UFC 79 with some giving the edge to Machida. Yet most sites like this one still suggested betting Sokoudjou. Message boards around the MMA world threw more fuel on the hype fire and by the afternoon of the 28th, it was being reported by BloodyElbow that wages were being placed overwhelmingly on Sokoudjou. Not that the Assassin didn’t have a shot. He had impressive KO’s in PRIDE, is a ball of muscle and those dreds look badass. But this is the UFC and Machida has been winning in Dana World already. He’s a counter strike specialist and his ground game is one of the best (notice BloodyElbow saw past the Sokoudjou bullshit).

Did we – and bettors – pay attention to this? We’d like to say yes, but the hype monster is too fucking strong sometimes and we don’t realize it until we see the guy we bet (Sokoudjou) on his back for most of the fight looking like a turtle flipped on his shell. I don’t blame us. We just want to be there when the next dominating fighter bursts on the scene — is that so wrong? So when you feel the urge to throw down your life’s savings on Brock Lesnar just because something inside is telling you to, that’s not intuition. It’s Dana White’s hype machine.Note: We should mention that one of Lesnar’s nicknames is “The Next Big Thing”. Subtle.

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