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Rumor of the Day: Brock Lesnar to Face Shane Carwin at UFC 106

Brock Lesnar Frank Mir UFC MMA
Shane Carwin UFC MMA
(Photos courtesy of tsbmag.com and obsessedwithsports.com.)

MMA Madness and Fighters Only are both reporting that Shane Carwin has been pulled from his UFC 104 bout against Cain Velasquez, and will instead take on Brock Lesnar at UFC 106 (November 21, Las Vegas). Velasquez may remain on the UFC 104 card against a different opponent.

In the original scenario of Carwin vs. Velasquez as a #1 heavyweight contender fight, Brock Lesnar would have to sit out until early 2010. If the new reports are accurate, it would suggest that the UFC (or Brock himself) thought it would be best if Lesnar fought one more time this year, even if the challenger hasn’t definitively earned his shot. Not that Carwin can’t compete with Lesnar, but it would have been ideal if the Engineer of Pain had one more fight to build up his name. Carwin had this to say on his website:

Lots of talk going around right now. It seems to stem from a twitter post out of MN. I can’t confirm or deny anything I can just tell you guys that I am training harder then ever and your support and loyalty will carry me through any fight they send my way. With you guys on my side I am ready for whatever happens. Stay tuned to the site or UFC.com for any official news about me.

Can’t confirm or deny? Well, we know what that means…

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Gilbert Yvel Reportedly Signs With the UFC

Gilbert Yvel MMA UFC
(This photo was taken directly after Gilbert stomped a waitress to death for bringing him a Bud instead of a Bud Light. Photo courtesy of CombatLifestyle.)

He may be infamous for biting, eye-gouging, and referee-assaulting, but that doesn’t mean Gilbert Yvel wouldn’t be a welcome addition to the UFC. Buried in a report about Lil’ Nog’s recent signing, MMA Weekly claims that Yvel is on the list of fighters who have been picked up by Zuffa after the collapse of Affliction. The 33-year-old Dutch heavyweight — who sports a record of 36-13-1 with one no-contest, and has claimed all of his wins by stoppage — most recently scored a grisly knockout over Pedro Rizzo at June’s "Ultimate Chaos" show. Before that, he got crushed by Josh Barnett at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, which snapped a seven-fight win streak.

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Chuck Liddell Joins ABC’s ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Chuck Liddell club shirtless MMA UFC
(What can you say? The man’s a natural…)

Dana White might have forced Chuck Liddell into retirement, but somehow, some way, the Iceman’s competitive fire was going to find an outlet — it’s just too bad it had to be through a televised dancing competition. UFC.com has revealed that the former light-heavyweight champ and UFC Hall of Famer has accepted a spot on the ninth season of ABC’s Dancing With the Stars, which premieres Monday, September 21st. Liddell will be battling for dance-floor supremacy against Michael Irvin, Donny Osmond, Tom DeLay (!?), Melissa Joan Hart, Mya, Aaron Carter, Kathy Ireland, Kelly Osbourne, and seven other C/D-listers. Chuck has had no prior dance training, and told UFC.com "I like to dance, but I don’t know how to dance." Still, he’s not counting himself out:

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BJ Penn Won’t Wait to Take on Diego Sanchez

BJ Penn UFC MMA
("All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, the blood of my opponents, and I’m fine." Photo courtesy of Fight!)

BJ Penn isn’t exactly the most prolific fighter in the world; over the last three years, the Prodigy has only made six appearances in the Octagon. But now that he’s entered his 30s, the UFC lightweight king has vowed that his long layoffs are over, and he’s ready to get back in the cage sooner rather than later. As he told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald:

"It’s gonna happen, hopefully within the next two, two-and-a-half months. I’m 30 now and I’m hoping to get a couple of more fights in. I know they say that in MMA, people peak later, but who knows? My whole career, fighting from age 20 to 30, I’ve gotten into real good shape and gotten out of shape and started getting back into shape again. I don’t want to do that anymore. Here I am. I’m in shape. I want to have fun for a couple of days, take some time off, eat some good food, and then I want to get right back into all that stuff."
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Videos: Shaq Shills for the WEC, Jesse Taylor is Ready for War + More


(Props: YouTube.com/UFC)

Well this is interesting. The WEC convinced die-hard MMA fan Shaquille O’Neal to cut a promo for their Cerrone vs. Henderson show on September 2nd. "They’re lucky I’m a heavyweight," Shaq says. Still, would it have killed you to knock over a cardboard cutout of Cowboy? In a related story, O’Neal’s upcoming ABC series Shaq Vs. will be hosted by the UFC’s own Mike Goldberg.

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Strikeforce Kicks Out Phil Baroni (Sort Of), Picks Up Matt Lindland

Phil Baroni MMA
(Kickin’ asses, breakin’ hearts, and stealin’ robes from Courtyard Marriotts. Props: sports.sho.com)

Strikeforce distributed a press release yesterday evening announcing that Phil Baroni had been released by the organization, citing Baroni’s "one-sided defeat" at the hands of Joe Riggs in June, and the fact that he’s lost four of his last seven fights. (Kind of harsh, since he’s also won three of his last four.) Said Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker: "We wish Phil the best of luck and hope he can revive his career. If he can, maybe one day, he can return and fight for us." The news was surprising for a couple reasons. First, have you ever heard of Strikeforce releasing a big name due to poor performance? It’s not like their welterweight division is so deep that they can be picky, and Baroni is a draw whether he wins or loses. Also, the vaguely negative tone of the press release seemed out of character for Strikeforce. Did something else happen behind the scenes?

The answer: Yeah, maybe. Immediately after the press release hit our inboxes, it was reported that Baroni had verbally agreed to a new contract with the UFC. The New York Badass compiled a 3-5 record in the UFC as a middleweight from 2001-2005, and was released after taking four consecutive losses. During his recent stint as a welterweight, Baroni has yet to defeat a fighter who currently holds a winning record, which seems to imply that the UFC’s offer to Baroni had more to do with sticking a thumb in Strikeforce’s eye than acquiring a promising 170-pounder. It also gives more credence to yesterday’s wild speculation about an upcoming season of TUF featuring old guys. Call us crazy now, but you’ll see.

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‘TUF 10′ Hype Videos: Rampage, Rashad, Yoda, Kimbo, Sims + Nelson


(Props: Spike via BloodyElbow)

Spike TV has released a whole mess of interview clips featuring the stars of The Ultimate Fighter: Heavyweights, which premieres September 16th after UFC Fight Night 19. The clip at the top is your standard Rampage vs. Rashad gum-flapping session, with Quinton Jackson saying that the Team Rashad heavyweights are "lil’ bitty," "garbage," and "booboo." (?) Meanwhile, Rashad predicts a lot of tantrums from his rival. The second video reveals something interesting that I guess we should have seen coming — Evans’s "assistant coach" will be none other than game-plan master Greg "Yoda" Jackson. Once you hear Greg talk about "personal growth plans" for each fighter, it’s hard to imagine how Team Rampage will compete in the mental game.

Now let’s check in with some of TUF 10‘s heavyweight hopefuls…

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LOLZ of the Day: MMA Classics, Recreated in MS Paint

Fedor Emelianenko Andrei Arlovski MMA Affliction

Keith Hackney Joe Son MMA UFC

We’d like to direct your attention to a thread on the UG titled "You’re favorite MMA moments recreated in MS PAINT!", in which amatuer scribblers have made crude drawings of iconic moments in the sport using the beloved Windows drawing program. It’s by far the greatest thing I’ve seen all week; props to everybody who contributed. Lots more gems after the jump. If you think you can do better, e-mail your submissions to feedback@cagepotato.com.

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Old Men Enter, Young Man Leaves: UFC Brings Back Matyushenko, Ditches Leites

Vladimir Matyushenko MMA UFC IFL
(Photo courtesy of daylife.com.)

Yesterday, we mentioned that the UFC had made the unexpected decision to bring back old-timer Dennis Hallman after a four-year absence from the organization. Now we’ve learned that the UFC has re-signed another hardy veteran, adding a fight between 38-year-old Vladimir Matyushenko and Igor Pokrajac to UFC 103. A one-time UFC light-heavyweight title contender, Matyushenko went 3-2 in the UFC from 2001-2003, scoring wins over Yuki Kondo, Travis Wiuff, and Pedro Rizzo. Since then, the Janitor has gone 9-1, became the IFL’s light-heavyweight champion, and most recently won a decision over Jason Lambert at Call to Arms 1 in May. It was also reported that 35-year-old PRIDE/UFC vet Marcus Aurelio will be returning later this month at UFC 102. Between Vlad, Aurelio, Hallman, Ortiz, and the possibility that Chuck Liddell isn’t quite retired, it’s clear what’s going on here: TUF 11: Last Call. The coaches will be Chuck and Tito, the minimum age will be 33, and the winner will receive $100,000 in prescription medication.

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Videos: Tito and Dana Swap Spit, Natasha Wicks Is Single + More


(Props: PunishmentFilms.tv/dragonman34)

How happy is Tito Ortiz to be back in the UFC? So happy that he would engage in an illicit homosexual kiss with his boss and former rival, Dana White. WHY ISN’T TMZ COVERING THIS?? Later, Ortiz revealed that White "had a hairy lip," and White scrubbed his tongue with steel wool.

After the jump: A quick video profile on new Octagon Girl Natasha Wicks (she’s not just a piece of meat, you guys — she has thoughts, emotions, and she loves the outdoors), some footage of Lyoto Machida training for Shogun, and an underrated Fedor Emelianenko fight, just because.

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