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Feb 7, 2006
Strikeforce opens Thursday's L.A. press conference to the public

Strikeforce is officially inviting fight fans to its Thursday press conference in Los Angeles.

The event will hype the organization's April 11 event, which features a headline bout between former Strikeforce and UFC champion Frank Shamrock and former EliteXC lightweight contender Nick Diaz at a catch-weight of 179 pounds.

"Strikeforce: Shamrock vs. Diaz," which takes place at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif., will be the first Strikeforce show to air on Showtime.

The March 12 press conference takes place at the Avalon Hollywood, which is located at 1735 Vine St. in Los Angeles. The event begins at noon PST.

Scheduled to attend are headliners Shamrock and Nick Diaz; Strikeforce world lightweight champ Josh Thomson and April 11 opponent Gilbert Melendez; Scott Smith and opponent and Benji Radach; Robbie Lawler and Renato "Babalu" Sobral. Strikeforce founder and CEO Scott Coker, Showtime executive Ken Hershman and HP Pavilion executive Jim Goddard will also be in attendance.

The California-based Strikeforce promotion recently acquired select assets, including the Showtime deal, from ProElite, Inc. following the collapse of the EliteXC promotion.
Feb 7, 2006
UFC newcomer Yoshihiro Akiyama in talks to meet Alan Belcher at UFC 100

UFC newcomer Yoshihiro Akiyama (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), a highly regarded middleweight who signed with the UFC in February, could make his octagon debut against UFC veteran Alan Belcher (14-5 MMA, 5-3 UFC) at UFC 100.

A source close to the negotiations told ( the proposed fight hasn't been signed and "isn't set in stone," but bout agreements could be distributed and finalized soon.

UFC 100 takes July 11 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, and as announced this past weekend, will likely feature a title-unification bout between UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar and interim title-holder Frank Mir.

Akiyama, a decorated judoka of Korean descent, launched his MMA career in December 2007 and has spent most of his career with the K-1 HERO'S organization, which now operates under the DREAM banner, in Japan. The 33-year-old is now 11-0 (with two no-contests) since July 2005.

In his 13 official bouts, Akiyama has never gone to a decision. All 12 of his wins have come via stoppage (seven via submission and five via knockout), and only two have gone past the first round.

A source close to Akiyama told the fighter had hoped to make his UFC debut on U.S. soil, though he remains hopeful the organization will eventually head to Asia so he can fight there, as well.

If the UFC 100 fight is signed, Akiyama will face a very stiff test in his octagon debut. Belcher is one the middleweight division's hottest fighters, with four victories in his past five fights, and recently upset another MMA notable making his UFC debut.

Back in January at UFC 93, Belcher scored an upset and ruined the long-awaited UFC debut of Denis Kang. After dodging submission attempts and dropping the first round, the 24-year-old quickly turned the tides in the second and submitted Kang via guillotine choke.

In addition to Lesnar vs. Mir, which was pulled from the UFC 98 card following Mir's recent knee surgery, UFC 100 is expected to feature UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre vs. Thiago Alves, and "The Ultimate Fighter 9" coaches Michael Bisping and Dan Henderson are slated to meet in a middleweight bout. It's quickly shaping up to be the can't-miss UFC event of 2009.
Feb 7, 2006
Matt Hughes not ruling out a future move to middleweight

After a prolific career that included one of the most legendary championship runs in mixed-martial-arts history and a string of title defenses against the best of the best in the welterweight division, Matt Hughes says he isn't ruling out a possible move to middleweight.

In fact, Hughes considered doing it once before.

Back in 2005, Hughes' friend Rich Franklin defeated Evan Tanner for the middleweight title. However, had he won, Tanner instead would have served as a coach on "The Ultimate Fighter 2" and fought Hughes in a season-ending, champion vs. champion fight at 185 pounds.

However, those plans were scrubbed when Franklin defeated Tanner with a fourth-round TKO at UFC 53. Franklin got the coaching slot instead, and he and Hughes coached rival teams on "TUF2." However, unlike the first season of the reality series with coaches Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture, there was no coach vs. coach fight to end the season season of the show.

"When I was champion, I always thought about moving up, and actually I was going to do that before I did 'The Ultimate Fighter 2' if Evan Tanner would have beat Rich," Hughes said during this past Thursday's UFC Fight Club Q&A in Columbus, Ohio. "I would have bumped up to 185 to fight Evan Tanner for the show. That was the deal. The winner of Franklin and Tanner was going to be the other coach, and then us coaches would have fought again."

During his 11-year career, Hughes held the UFC's welterweight title from November 2001 to January 2004 and again from October 2004 to November 2006. The legendary run included seven title defenses and wins over notables such as Georges St. Pierre, B.J. Penn, Sean Sherk, Frank Trigg, Carlos Newton and even the legendary Royce Gracie.

While many consider the 35-year-old Hughes to be in the twilight of his career, and though the future UFC hall-of-famer has openly contemplated retirement on a few occasions, Hughes isn't opposed to jumping a weight class before he calls it quits.

But before doing that, Hughes said, he needs to take care of business in the welterweight division, where he's lost three of his past four fights (following a 19-1 run from 2001 to 2006). Ultimately, Hughes would like a shot at Anderson Silva, the UFC's seemingly invincible middleweight champion.

"I still would toy with the idea of moving up to 185 (pounds) to face Silva," Hughes said. "But I've got to square away things in my weight class before I do that, though."

He'll look to right the ship on May 23 when he meets "TUF6" rival coach Matt Serra at UFC 98.

Hughes (42-7 MMA, 15-5 UFC) said it's the last fight on his current contract.

"But that doesn't really mean anything," Hughes said. "The UFC knows I won't go anywhere else to fight."
Feb 7, 2006


There was a time when that word was nowhere to be found in the vocabulary of Quinton "Rampage" Jackson. That is no longer the case.

"To be honest, that was the last thing I ever had to worry about was overtraining because I always under train for my fights," he said. "I had to take like three days off. I was peaking too soon. I never experienced that before."

He came out on top with a unanimous decision victory over Keith Jardine at UFC 96 on Saturday night in Columbus, Ohio, but that doesn't mean that Jackson wasn't critical of himself.

"I don't think it was anything he did," the former UFC light heavyweight champion retorted when asked why he wasn't more aggressive, like he was against Wanderlei Silva at UFC 92. "I think it was my mind and what I had going on in my mind. I just kind of psyched myself out with my cardio. I don't want to burn myself out because I been kind of overtraining a little bit."

Still, Jackson expected more out of himself, even if his camp didn't. "I think I could have done a lot better. Jardine is a tough opponent. My camp is happy with what I did."

A fight is a fight, however; there is someone standing across the Octagon ready to fire back. A fact not lost on Jackson.

"I hit Jardine with everything but the kitchen sink," he stated at the UFC 96 post-fight press conference. "He went down, I tried to pounce on him, but he recovered and got up. He was pissing me off, like, 'Damn, why don't you just stay your ugly ass down? Let me knock you out.' But he wouldn't go. He's tough man, much respect."

The win puts him at the front of the line for a shot at current champion Rashad Evans, but the current thoughts of overtraining and a hurried date of May 23 at UFC 98, casts at least a slight shadow of doubt on whether he will accept or voluntarily drop a rung down on the ladder. Such a decision would allow Lyoto Machida to step in at UFC 98 and the shot at the gold around Evans' waist.

“I want my belt back,” proclaimed Jackson, but tempered his response by adding, “I’ve got to talk to my manager, see if everything’s cool. I’ll tell Dana in a couple of days.”
Feb 7, 2006

SAITAMA, Japan – Japanese mixed martial arts fighter Masakazu Imanari, 33, prevailed by the narrowest possible margin of victory against Atsushi Yamamoto in the Main Event Sunday at the DREAM.7 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 1st Round.

Held before a sellout crowd of 19,528 at the futuristic Saitama Super Arena, the FEG mixed martial arts production featured a dozen of the world's best under-63kg/139lbs fighters in a sextet of elimination matches. The winners earned the right to advance toward the ultimate prize -- the first-ever DREAM Featherweight GP championship belt.

Imanari, known for his leg submissions, had his hands full with speedy countryman Atsushi Yamamoto, who fights out of the revered Kid Yamamoto's Krazy Bee gym. (The Kid will join tonight's winners in the next round of the Lightweight GP.)

The contest started with Yamamoto bouncing on his toes, and Imanari standing center ring with open arms, inviting his peppy opponent to close before finally affecting a mocking bounce of his own. Imanari rarely raised his guard through the entire bouts, and Yamamoto passed early on, to smack him in the face with a right. Imanari then took the fight to the mat, where, characteristically, he would spend much of the bout working from the guard. While Yamamoto pestered his opponent's head and body with close punches, Imanari, meanwhile inched his legs up Yamamoto's back and round his neck, looking for the elusive gogoplata chokehold. Yamamoto's defense against this maneuver was however sound.

After a re-stand, Yamamoto landed a nice left, but this did not deter Imanari from further antics -- doing the crab walk, playing the loosey-goosey, and swaggering in a manner part Ray Sefo, part Genki Sudo. The first was marked by good strikes, Yamamoto firing in low kicks and Imanari putting the foot to the body; studied groundwork by Imanari; and a number of dramatic reversals, including Yamamoto twisting his way out of an armbar. In the second again the confident Imanari goaded his opponent, and although he never did manage the gogoplata or the omoplata armlock, two judges saw the serious attempts as worthy of a win (the third liked Yamamoto) and so Imanari walked away on the good side of a split decision.

"I couldn't finish the fight early, and I got tired," said Imanari afterward. "Yamamoto is cool. I did mean to focus on leg attacks. I just went with the flow of the fight. Afterward, Kid Yamamoto came over and said it was a good fight!"

In another Featherweight GP elimination contest, world-class striker Hiroyuki Takaya of Japan stepped in against Korean MMA fighter Jong Won Kim.

The boys stayed on their feet through most of the first, trading punches while Takaya launched the occasional low kick, both connecting but neither bringing the hurt. Finally Kim grabbed a leg and pushed for a clumsy takedown, wrapping his arms round Takaya's waist and pushing to the corner where Takaya forced a stalemate. More sparring after the re-stand, as Takaya landed a hard low kick and some solid tight hooks.

And then, early in the second, both fighters threw right straight punches at the same moment. Both were on target, but Takaya's hit the bull's eye. Kim stumbled backward, and likely would have fallen if not for the ropes. Takaya closed quickly with more fists to put the Korean on the mat, then came in from above, firing punches to prompt the referee to stop it. An aggressive fight and KO finish from Takaya.

"I've been having a hard time finding my distance lately, and I couldn't find it tonight in the first round," said Takaya in his post-fight interview. "So, I just fought my own fight, and I was able to get inside with punches, so this was a good step toward my future."

Twenty-seven-year-old Japanese Pancrase fighter Yoshiro Maeda was a high school table tennis whiz who found his MMA calling late, but has since excelled in the sport. Sunday he met Micah Miller of the USA, who fights for the celebrated American Top Team. After an early exchange on the ropes that landed him outside the ring, the lanky Miller settled in ably, holding his own in guard, threatening on occasion while suffering minimal damage from Maeda's strikes. A lack of action here prompted the referee to show the boys the yellow card. The second started with Miller using his reach to throw a couple of promising punches, but by consensus the fight soon returned to the mat to suffer again from a lack of action. Judges regarded Maeda as more aggressive, and gave him a unanimous decision.

"I was nervous," admitted Maeda later, "because it's been a while since I fought in Japan. I tried to use the experience I gained fighting abroad, which helped me, but I wasn't aggressive enough so I'm not satisfied. I feel bad that I couldn't show the audience a more exiting fight."

A highly anticipated matchup pitted slugger Akiyo "Wicky" Nishiura of Japan against American submission master Abel Cullum. The pair's contrasting styles was reinforced at the press conference, when Nishiura pranced in with pink hair, and Cullum sidled up in a black cowboy hat.

And aggressive Cullum charged in from the bell with a straight punch before manhandling his opponent to the canvas. Nishiura ended up on top, but could do little to gain an advantageous position, and soon the pair was scurrying around the ring in the clinch. Cullum got another takedown, going to half mount, but Nishiura twisted a tumble, and came out on top once more. Here, Cullum patiently worked an armbar, but could not finish against the wily Wicky. Terrific action, plenty of ups and downs and reversals on the ground, Cullum thrice failing in the armbar, Nishiura landing a number of solid punches and knees, both fighters indefatigable, showing excellent agility in both attacks and evasions. Late in the round, Cullum took a full mount and scored with punches before Nishiura could wrap his legs round in defense. Cullum persevered, moving to side mount them back to full mount, slamming in more big fists to end the round.

In the second, Cullum again initiated, charging in with punches before getting a takedown and partial back mount. Nishiura rose and slammed to briefly reverse, but Cullum worked harder -- positioning better, threatening and landing more on the mat. Spirited action right to the final bell, Nishiura scoring promisingly with a late right hook, but Cullum's go-to style earning the cowboy the decision.

"I was only looking for a KO or submission," said Cullum in his post-fight interview. "Wicky is a great fighter, both physically and mentally, and I know he's good with counters, so I stayed close and tight to avoid them. I was happy to fight in front of Japanese fans, now I'll go back to New Mexico and train even harder, so I can come back even stronger."

American choke sleeper specialist Chase Beebe battled compatriot Joe Warren, a wrestler making his mixed martial arts debut. Beebe connected with punches as the two stayed on their feet in the early going, but Warren did better with a savage right, and then kept the initiative, throwing the fight's first takedown. Beebe wrapped round a high guard before deftly kicking his opponent back and off. After short time on their feet, Warren again took the action to the mat, but the experienced Beebe dominated from guard. They got to their feet late in the round, where a Warren right knee caught Beebe hard on the face, opening a gruesome gash. The first ended soon afterward, but the ringside doctor would not clear the hemorrhaging Beebe to continue, and Warren had the win.

"I'm a wrestler, so this was all new to me, but now I'm very confident, and I believe in myself." Warren told the media afterward. "My mind is very strong and my techniques will be 100% better next time. I'm here for the belt, and anything that gets in my way now is just an obstacle I'll overcome."

In the last of the Featherweight GP matchups, Japanese wrestler Takafumi Otsuka took on accomplished Brazilian jujitsu fighter Bibiano Fernandes.

The pair went to the mat early, where Fernandes landed a few fists to the head from half mount before standing to pass with punches. The boys fought on their feet through the remainder of the first, Otsuka evading most of his opponent's roundhouses, hot-dogging, and sinking some decent counters, also scoring by foiling Fernandes' leg takedown attempts. After piggybacking in rear mount for a spell, Fernandes pumped up a knee that was the strike of the second round and stunned Otsuka. Fernandes unfortunately did not exploit, allowing the Japanese fighter to ride out the round. A unanimous decision in favor of Fernandes.

"He was strong, and a good fighter," said Brazilian afterward. "I trained a lot for striking, I trained with Black Mamba and his team. And in the next lightweight Grand Prix event, it doesn't matter at all to me who I fight, I will fight whomever I face."

There were three other bouts on the card.

In a Welterweight Superfight, Japanese MMA ace Shinya Aoki tangoed with American wrestler David Gardner.

From the opening bell, Aoki went for the leg takedown. But Gardner caught an arm, twisted his opponent to his side, and delivered a number of rights. Unfazed, Aoki twisted round to a back mount, whereupon the pair bobsledded uneventfully for a time. Gardner escaped a triangle attempt, and the fighters started again on their feet. In no time Aoki had another takedown and another back mount. When Gardner curiously raised one of his arms as if to signal or wave, Aoki wrapped round the rear naked choke for a submission victory.

"I think David was waving his hand to the audience, saying 'Hello Japan' during the fight," speculated Aoki. "Maybe he thinks he's on vacation? But I'm here to get the job done, so I choked him and finished him. Hello Japan!"

In a Lightweight Superfight, it was a couple of experienced and competitive Japanese -- Mitsuhiro Ishida and Daisuke Nakamura. After a bit of sizing up, Ishida executed the first takedown, but found his right arm locked up. Ishida finally got free to take a back mount, hammering the recently liberated right into his opponent's head. Nakamura again went for the arm, but now suffered a cut over his eye, which prompted a doctor check. Upon resumption the boys fell to north-south, Ishida continuing to slam the knee into his opponent's head, before both fighters got to their feet to ride out the round. An acrobatic takedown by Nakamura early in the second, the fighter then landing a number of punches from a high guard. Ishida finally assumed a controlling position, tying up his opponent while landing blows from a back mount. A unanimous decision for Ishida.

"It was not a brilliant fight," said Ishida afterward. "In the second round, Nakamura was aggressive, but I couldn't find my form. I wasn't happy with that."

Also at Lightweight, Tatsuya Kawajiri of Japan met Ross Ebanez, an American Muay Thai fighter who had had spent the previous two days working on making weight. All the sweating must have taken something out of Ebanez, who never found his form here. Kawajiri, meanwhile, was more than ready, and in minutes had put on the rear naked choke for a submission win.

"I know that my opponent got this fight only a week ago, but once you take an offer, as a professional you should be able to make the weight. He weighed in over, and it was a very slow, boring fight. I won but it finished before I was able to explode."

This is the first-ever DREAM Featherweight GP. The opening ceremony included a moment of silence observed in honor of Brazilian jujitsu founder and mixed martial arts legend Hélio Gracie, who died on January 20 at the age of 95.

The DREAM.7 Featherweight Grand Prix 2009 1st ROUND attracted a sellout crowd of 19,528 to the Saitama Super Arena. It was broadcast live in Japan in HD on Pay-Per-View, and on the TBS national network.
Feb 7, 2006
Josh Neer vs Kurt Pellegrino UFC Fight Night bout possible for August 5 has been able to confirm that a lightweight match up between 155-pound veterans Josh Neer (25-7-1) and Kurt Pellegrino (13-4) is in the works for an upcoming UFC Fight Night planned for August 5.

While both fighters are in verbal agreement, bout contracts have yet to be signed.

Since posting a 2-3 record in the UFC, “The Dentist” won six of seven fights outside the promotion before returning to the Octagon and defeating Din Thomas by unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 13. He followed that up with a split decision loss to Nate Diaz, but not before earning “Fight of the Night” in their three-round war at UFC Fight Night 15 back in September.

Neer, who promises “Win, lose or draw I’m going to bring it,” would go on to nab his second straight “Fight of the Night” in a win over Mac Danzig at FN 17, which no doubt prompted the UFC to award him with a recent contract extension for his efforts inside the cage and his ability to electrify the crowd with his aggressiveness.

It’s going to take every ounce of that talent for Neer to get past the crafty Pellegrino. “Batman” has flirted with being recognized as a top competitor in a very crowded division on numerous occasions throughout his career; however, he has been plagued by inconsistency just as he reaches the precipice of contendership.

After being submitted by Nate Diaz at Fight Night 13 last April, Pellegrino was able to string together two consecutive wins including a solid unanimous decision nod over Thiago Tavares at UFC 88: “Breakthrough” back in September and a submission victory over Rob Emerson at FN 17 just last month.

A win over the surging Neer would unquestionable re-establish him as a force to be reckoned with.
Feb 7, 2006
Patrick Cote Back in Gym and Eyeing Summer Return

Former French-Canadian UFC middleweight title contender Patrick Cote will be back in the octagon by August or September.

Cote confirmed his status with The Fight Network on Saturday.

According to Cote, he has already begun preliminary conditioning training for his UFC return.

“I will be back in the gym fully training in three weeks or so,” said Cote, who underwent knee surgery for a torn meniscus in November.

A 29-year-old product of Brazilian Top Team Canada, Cote injured his knee in a bout against Anderson Silva at UFC 90 in October.

Cote was the first man in Silva’s UFC career to go more than two rounds with the middleweight champion. The bout was halted when Cote landed awkwardly and fell to the ground, prompting the referee to stop the fight 39 seconds into the third frame.

Before challenging Silva for the 185-pound title, Cote racked up wins against Scott Smith, Jason Day, Kendall Grove, Drew McFedries and Ricardo Almeida.

The former middleweight champion of the now-defunct Canadian TKO organization has his sights set on Silva’s title. He says he wants to face the cream of the crop in the middleweight division upon his return.

“I want to fight someone in the top-five or top-10,” said Cote, who spoke enthusiastically about his prospective return to the promotion.

“I want Alan Belcher or the winner of Rich Franklin vs. Wanderlei Silva,” he said.

Another possible opponent mentioned by Cote is not under contract with the UFC.

“I would love to fight Vitor Belfort if he came to the UFC,” said Cote.

Belfort is coming off a sensational first-round knockout of world-renowned wrestler Matt Lindland at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning” on January 24. There are currently no plans to bring him into the UFC middleweight fold.

Cote, who is 14-5 in his professional MMA career, has been keeping busy since his injury.

On February 27, Cote was the color commentator alongside Mauro Ranallo, former voice of PRIDE Fighting Championships, for the Canadian-based “XMMA 7: Inferno” pay-per-view broadcast.

“Who knows? I could have a second career outside of fighting,” said Cote jokingly.

“The Predator” is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu standout splitting time training at BTT Canada in Montreal under BJJ instructor Fabio Holanda and Team Sityodtong in Boston under muay thai coach Mark DellaGrotte.
Feb 7, 2006
Dream Japan Ratings has the ratings picture for the latest installment of Dream, by way of SportsNavi:

I have no other words for it… They aired it late at night, and there were not too many stars on the card. BUT a rating of 2.4% is not good…. Shinya Aoki vs. David Gardner drew the biggest crowd with 4%. Good thing Gardner got to say hello.

From what I gather, the card was shuffled off to a tape delayed late night time slot that pretty much doomed any kind of large viewership. The low rating seems a further illustration of the hard times that MMA has hit recently in gathering mainstream attention in Japan.
Feb 7, 2006
Demian bets on Wanderlei against Franklin

t Wanderlei Silva’s first middleweight fight at UFC, Rich Franklin, former UFC champion, will be his opponent at UFC 99, and Demian Maia, friend and training partner of the “Axe Murderer”, bets on Wanderlei. "He is doing weight experiments, it isn’t a final thing for what he has told me. He wants to go and then, who knows, test his adaptation", said Demian, betting on Silva at UFC 99 main event.

"He has everything to beat Rich Franklin, he has the weapons that he needs. Obviously is a good opponent from the category, but I think he has all the weapons to beat him. Wanderlei is the best in both, standing or on the ground", says the fighter, who counted the training partners "imported" by Wand from Brazil to Las Vegas. "Who is there with him is Vitor Vianna, world champion of Jiu-Jitsu of our team and that has a very good Muay Thai, and maybe he’ll take Cláudio Godói too", finished.
Feb 7, 2006
Bustamante wants to be back in action

Murilo Bustamante, leader of the Brazilian Top Team, is away from the rings since 2007, when he fought at Yarennoka, in Japan, and was defeated by split decision by the Japanese Makoto Takimoto. Despite of more than a year of inactivity, the black-belt guarantees that he’s far from retirement and that will sign a contract soon. "Some proposals are appearing, but for now I'm just analyzing, there’s nothing concrete. The fact is that this year I’m full of desire to fight", said the fighter.
Feb 7, 2006
New Brazilian team at M-1 Challenge

After the defeat by 3x2 to the American team in M1-Challenge, the Brazilian team will now have to go for a victory against Red Devil team, from Russia. This time the team will fight at home, at the Sírio Club, in São Paulo, in the event that will happen on May 9th. For the master Carlão Barreto, coach of the team, several factors hinder the performance of the Brazilian team against the Americans.

"It was very tough fights, the decision was tough, but some factors must be taken serious: first, we had very few time to plan well and our athletes had to lose from ten to 15 pounds in a short time, which I think it was a bad thing for us. Second, the judges were bad. I’m not accusing anyone of bad faith, but it really lacked experience. Another factor that got us by surprise is that we hoped other attitude in technical terms, from the Americans", explained Carlão, who ensures that, at the next edition of the event, in São Paulo, the story will be different.

"On March 9 we will dispute the event against the Russian team and we will be better prepared. We will have a camp in the first week of April and then we will announce the five athletes who will represent the country and they will not disappoint, because we’ll have more time and will be better planed", revealed.
Feb 7, 2006
Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante Interview

One of the best light heavyweight fighters in the world, Rafael “Feijão” Cavalcante impressed the world with three huge knockout victories at EliteXC, but now seeks other events to work. In an exclusive interview to, the Brazilian spoke about a possible upcoming fight against Renato “Babalu” Sobral, for the Strikeforce title, his relationship with Anderson Silva, pointed Lyoto Machida as the next UFC champion, Rodrigo Nogueira’s loss to Frank Mir and his pre-fight injuries and much more. Check below the exclusive interview with Feijão.

How are your trainings?
The team was already excellent, now with more reinforcements such as (André) Galvão, (Ronaldo) Jacaré and Corvo, they are all helping us a lot. Beyond Rodrigo (Minotauro) and Rogério (Minotouro), who are always there. We are training hard. Anderson is training very well for this fight, he’s well prepared, he will bring another victory for Brazil, he’s doing a hard work, only who knows him know that he’s a very dedicated man. He trains a lot and, he will be rewarded for the work he is doing.

How much are you weighting now? How will it be for you to return to your normal weight?
I’m weighting 253 pounds now. I think about two months, according to the Master Rogério Camões, which is what he is doing to me. My normal weight is 231lbs, he gave an increased now, made a strength work and hypertrophy, and I managed to get this weight. I'm feeling well, I’m training with this weight as it were a vest, but natural. Now the idea is to lose weight.

How is your situation after EliteXC’s sell?
That part I'm leaving for my manager, because it’s a lot of problem. My main concern is to stay a long time without fighting, I want to maintain that rhythm that I was having. It seems that the EliteXC was sold for Strikeforce, which will have transmission of CBS Television and Show Time. I hope to return, because I still have about 2 or 3 fights there. We have several proposals, Ed Soares and “Joinha” are already studying it. Or will be in one or another, but I'm preparing to fight in two months.

You followed Lyoto, even trained with him. What do you think of him in this category? If they put him against Rashad, do you think he would win?
Certainly. He is a very intelligent guy fighting. There are many people who sees fights, but don’t really understand. Many guys put a label on the fighter, as with Anderson after Cote’s fight, when they said he had to win the first round. That doesn’t exist, he has five rounds to win the fight, all though he wasn’t in his best day, but he doesn’t have to win the first round. This involves several things that fans generally don’t know, involves loss of contract, loss of sponsorship. Lyoto, for me, is one of the smartest guys in the 205 category, he proved that in the fight against Thiago Silva, he made a great fight and demonstrated a absurd superiority. He is an excellent athlete, I believe that he’ll be the next UFC light heavyweight champion.

There is the possibility of the Elite to invite Renato “Babalu” Sobral to a title fight with you. You have already trained with him?

I heard this too. I'm ready, I have the best in the world here by my side. I already got to train with him sometimes, when Rogério, Rodrigo and I still trained here, but now we train in two different places. Many people question whether there was a separation between Anderson and Minotauro, but that didn’t happen. We’re part of the Minotauro Team, but we train at different times, separated by the morning train, but at night we train together every day, at the Minotauro’s gym. Babalu is an idol, since I were a little boy, when I was training, he already fought, was already winning several fights. If I have to fight him, it will be a pleasure. I'm ready for this fight or any other that comes, I'm feeling very well, well conditioned, feeling confident and well trained. The development comes with the work, and I think I'm making mine straight.

“Shogun” said that he didn’t know you, but that you and Junior dos Santos received him very well here, that he liked you guys a lot. Was there a contact after that?
No, it wasn’t, because we traveled after that, I went to my hometown. But he was there at the academy, because we are sponsored by the same brand of fight wear, Bad Boy. This rivalry thing never was us who created, I’ve sat with him, chatted, Rodrigo and Rogério also opened the doors of the academy for him. He’s a cool person, I have nothing against him. If he comes, he’ll be welcome. We even had an opportunity to go out together, we went out for dinner and conversation. Many people make an image of someone without knowing.

Speaking of image, Rodrigo’s, who’s your partner, everybody always demands wonderful fights. Do you, who trains him, already expected that he didn’t showed up so good against Frank Mir, because of the contusions he had and the furuncle problem?
He was falling a lot, for me he was already on overtraining, but it is what we spoke, it has a contract that he signed and he has to fight. If he misses a fight like this, he could have worse consequences. He wasn’t well prepared, was well trained, but was taken to the hospital and had serum. That is no excuse, it doesn’t have why to invent anything, but that day he really wasn’t good, he was very bad, with injuries in every place, so that the he operated his knee too. He had an infection too, so he couldn’t train, had to reduce his training to about 20%. If he fought 30% of what he could, was too much. He already made tougher fights. Who saw Rodrigo fight that day, saw that it wasn’t Minotauro.

Do you think the fans will see him 100% again?
Absolutely. He always seeks the development. Everyone is here to help him. If I’m here today, if Anderson is here today, is because of him. Everything I have, I own to him and Rogério, they are like brothers to me. If it weren’t for them, nobody would know me, then I’m ready to help him in what he need.
Feb 7, 2006
DREAM WWGP Participant’s

s going by tradition, DREAM WWGP Participants will be decided at the Club DEEP event in Tokyo on March 14th.

The event will also see the semifinals and finals of DEEP’s current Bantamweight Class Tournament contested.

Current DREAM WWGP Participants:

- Shinya Aoki
- Hayato “Mach” Sakurai
- Seichi Ikemoto
- Yuya Shirai / Yoon Young Kim
Feb 7, 2006
Boxing promoter Don King and partners entering MMA; HBO deal on deck?

World-renowned boxing promoter Don King, the sometimes-controversial yet highly successful head of Don King Productions, is set to make his first venture into MMA.

King will partner with self-described "bad boy of Wall Street" Ross Mandell in the upstart RHM Productions. ( learned of King's hiring as a senior adviser for the new company from sources close to the Boca Raton, Fla.-based organization, and confirmed the news with King's news media advisor, Robert Weneck.

"[King] has been retained as a senior adviser to a Wall Street group that wanted to invest in mixed martial arts," Weneck said. "[Mandell] put together people from London, from New York, lots of major companies. It's a very credible list. They all wanted to invest in light of the growth of mixed martial arts.

"I said, 'Well, I've represented Don King for 15 years as his news media adviser. Let's get the pioneer of boxing, that understands how to do events, knows all the arenas, knows HBO, knows Showtime, knows all the sports people, and it will save you a lot of time and money.'"

While complete details of the new group's business plan were not immediately clear, the company's initial efforts are expected to begin with a reality show/documentary film series in the style of HBO's successful "24/7," which will use the program to build up the as-yet-unnamed promotion's fighters before the debut event.

"Don has always been tracking (MMA) and keeping up because it's part of what he does," Weneck said. "The thing is, it was just a nice opportunity. ... It would give people an opportunity to participate in a company that could have a potential phenomenal growth and get the proper people together to help these guys.

"I grew up with karate and judo and all that, but we never had stars. We never had events. Now, look at it. What was it, at the MGM (Grand Garden Arena) in January? [The UFC] grossed $110 million. I think 1.4 million people hit pay-per-view for $55 an event. It's huge."

Broadcast distribution for the new promotion's reality series and debut event is reportedly in negotiations. While the sources could not reveal what networks were involved in the bidding process, King's 30-plus-year relationship with the subscription-cable giant HBO would seem to provide a unique in-road to the channel's programming.

HBO had been close to a deal to air MMA in the past. One such potential came with the UFC in early 2007, but differences over creative control, including the selection of the production team and announcing crew for the event broadcasts, prevented an agreement from being finalized. The network's relationship with the sport has been hot and cold since the terminated deal. HBO's own lead boxing analysts, Jim Lampley and Larry Merchant, have made repeated derogatory statements on air regarding the lack of technical prowess in MMA.

Although King has been publicly critical of MMA in the past, Weneck said the long-term health of the sport was important to the members of the new partnership.

"It's got to be with the right people," Weneck said. "A lot of people went in and were just fast-buck artists. You've got to have the right people behind it [who] really are in for the long haul and will pay to get the right people and give these kids a chance. This is the opportunity."

The new promotion plans on promoting bouts in multiple weight classes with both male and female fighters.

RHM Productions plans to use Mandell's past success on Wall Street as a means to establish the new promotion as a publicly traded entity. Mandell is the founder and former CEO of Sky Capital Holdings, an international full-service merchant bank and brokerage firm that is publicly traded on the London Stock Exchange.
Feb 7, 2006
Evans Expects Machida at UFC 98

Despite every assurance made during Saturday night’s UFC 96 pay-per-view broadcast, UFC light heavyweight champ Rashad Evans doesn’t believe Quinton “Rampage” Jackson will be standing across the Octagon to face him at UFC 98 on May 23.

“As I learned, ‘Rampage’ might need time off,” Evans told the Sherdog Radio Network’s “Beatdown” show on Monday. “It’ll probably be Lyoto Machida, but I haven’t gotten a confirmation on that.”

Jackson, who earned a hard-fought decision over Evans’ teammate Keith Jardine in the main event on Saturday, told reporters afterward that he needed time to evaluate the May title bout offered to him that night before he’d give his answer.

The 30-year old Memphis, Tenn., native lost the belt to Forrest Griffin at UFC 86 last July. Evans then took it from Griffin at UFC 92 in December.

Tensions rose on Saturday night when Evans (13-0-1) entered the cage to trade barbs with Jackson seconds after his victory. Evans said he knew then that Jackson (30-7) might not be up to snuff for a May encounter.

“I don’t know. I’ve just got that feeling,” said Evans. “Just listening to him when we were in the ring talking he was kind of like, ‘Yeah man you’re lucky I wasn’t 100 percent’ and he started making excuses and I was thinking like it sounds like an excuse-fest is about to happen, so I know he ain’t going to take no fight with me. He’s making excuses now.”

Evans was actually surprised the standoff became as heated as fast as it did.

“I didn’t expect any of that, man,” said Evans. “I was just going to do the face-off and what not but then he started talking trash. I wasn’t even in the mood to play or joke around, I just saw one of my best friends lose a fight which I had him winning until the last 10 seconds. I see the hurt in [Jardine’s] eyes and he’s so upset and he’s disappointed and I feel, like, bad for him. Then this dude is bumpin’ his gums at me, and honestly, I really wanted to punch him in his face, but I knew that wasn’t the right time to do that so I just tried to stay as composed as possible because I don’t like to talk trash. Whenever I got into a street fight I never talked -- I just hit. I never liked to be in someone’s face that close just talking.”

There is a certain double standard in the war of words leading up to the Evans-Jackson showdown that hasn’t escaped the 29-year-old champion. Evans consistently catches heat for his antics in and out of the cage, while Jackson seems to be applauded for it.

“You know what, I can’t understand it either,” said Evans. “I can’t understand it either man. I try not to. There was a time where it really bothered me and ate at me and I was like, ‘I don’t understand.’ I’m in the arena and everyone is booing me. And that’s so funny because everyone is in here booing at me, but I just spent about two hours signing autographs. So who the hell is booing at me, you know what I’m saying? Who’s booing at me? It’s just so contradictory to everyone that comes to speak to me. I always treat everyone with respect. Yet everyone still boos. They don’t like me. But that’s OK. Everybody has a cross to bear in life and maybe that’s my cross to bear. I don’t have to be popular in life, as long as I know who I am then that’s OK.”

Evans will probably have other things to ponder in short turn, most likely the conundrum that is Machida (14-0), a fighter whose style perplexes opponents more often than not.

“The kid’s been phenomenal,” said Evans. “He’s been better than phenomenal. He’s been looking better every fight. But that’s the fight business. That’s the fun part about a fight is the fact that you go in there with an opponent that sometimes seems insurmountable. But then you figure it out and that makes the victory that much sweeter. With that said, there may be some kinks in his armor that I have yet to see that I can exploit when I look at the tapes more closely. Nobody’s unbeatable. Machida’s been looking slicker than I don’t know what, but everybody has a weakness even if you do look slick as oil. Everyone has a weakness.”

Evans said he’s a lock to expose weaknesses on May 23, though if it will be Jackson or Machida’s shortcomings remains to be seen.
Feb 7, 2006
WEC veterans Brookins and Ledbetter among additions to Bellator's debut

With less than three weeks until the upstart Bellator Fighting Championship's debut event, details for the full fight card are beginning to surface.

Sources close to the event confirmed to ( that the most recent additions to the card include a pair of WEC veteran featherweights, Jonathan Brookins (8-3) and Stephen Ledbetter (6-2) meeting in a non-tournament bout.

Bellator's first event is scheduled for April 3 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Fla. The card will air on ESPN Deportes on a 24-hour tape delay.

Brookins, a former roommate of the colorful and controversial Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett, last saw acion in a third-round TKO loss to the WEC's fast-rising star Jose Aldo at "WEC 36: Faber vs. Brown" in November 2008.

Brookins made his professional debut in 2006 with a 19-second knockout win over future "TUF 5" competitor Allen Berubie.

Ledbetter trains at the Hardcore Gym in Georgia. A five-time veteran of the Georgia-based Wild Bill's Fight Night promotion, Ledbetter dropped a unanimous decision to Jeff Curran at WEC 29 in August 2007. Sources close to Ledbetter indicated that the 26-year-old signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator.

As first reported by, the April 3 event will also feature a female non-tournament bout between Jessica Aguilar (5-2) and Rosi Sexton (9-1).

An American Top Team fighter, Aguilar last fought in a March 2008 win over Angela Magana. Aguilar's two career losses have come by decision to Carina Damm and Lisa Ward, both ranked in WAMMA's top-five in the bantamweight (115.1 to 125 pounds) division.

Sexton, ranked third by WAMMA in the bantamweight class, is currently riding a four-fight winning streak. Her lone career loss came in a 2006 loss to Gina Carano.

Adjustments are also being made to Bellator's first-round matchups in its inaugural eight-man, 155-pound tournament. Eddie Alvarez (16-2) and Daniel Morales (5-1), previously scheduled to meet, will now take different bouts against as-yet-unnamed opponents.

Jorge Masvidal (16-3) will also face an unnamed opponent, while his original foe, Diego Garijo (3-1), will compete on Bellator's April 10 show in Connecticut.

Finally, sources close to the organization indicated Bellator has signed Swedish featherweight Sami Aziz (4-0-1). Undefeated since turning pro in 2005, the BodogFIGHT veteran has one draw against the WEC's Rafael Dias.

The full card for Bellator's debut event is expected to be announced in the next few days. As it stands now, the card includes:

155 tourney: Eddie Alvarez vs. TBA
155 tourney: Daniel Morales vs. TBA
155 tourney: Jorge Masvidal vs. TBA
155 tourney: Israel Giron vs. Toby Imada
145 tourney: Nick Gonzalez vs. Yahir Reyes
145 tourney: Joe Soto vs. Ben Greer
145 tourney: Estevan Payan vs. Luis Palomino
Non-tourney: Jonathan Brookins vs. Stephen Ledbetter
Non-tourney: Jessica Aguilar vs. Rosi Sexton
Feb 7, 2006
Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson signed for The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale in June

While not yet officially announced by the organization, the live finale for "The Ultimate Fighter 9" has added a lightweight showdown between former "TUF" champions Nate Diaz (10-3 MMA, 5-1 UFC) and Joe Stevenson (29-10 MMA, 6-4 UFC).

MMAMadness first reported the that the pair had verbally agreed to the contest, and ( has since learned from sources close to the bout that contracts for the fight have been signed.

The Ultimate Fighter 9 Finale is scheduled for June 20 at the Pearl at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas.

Stevenson has endured a tough 1-3 stretch while facing some of the lightweight division's top talent. The winner of "The Ultimate Fighter 2," Stevenson was submitted by current UFC lightweight champion B.J. Penn in January 2008 and again by current no. 1 contender Kenny Florian in November 2008.

Stevenson last fought in a unanimous decision loss to Diego Sanchez in the "TUF 1" champion's first bout at 155 pounds.

Diaz will also be looking to bounce back from a loss. The "TUF 5" winner dropped a split decision to Clay Guida at UFC 94 in January. Prior to the defeat, Diaz had won five straight bouts for the organization, including four by submission.

With the addition to the card, the TUF 9 Finale now includes:

Lightweight finalist No. 1 vs. No. 2
Welterweight finalist No. 1 vs. No. 2
Clay Guida vs. Diego Sanchez
Nate Diaz vs. Joe Stevenson
John Howard vs. Anthony Johnson
Feb 7, 2006
Hector Lombard to headline Bellator's April 17 show in Oklahoma

The long-awaited U.S. debut of former Cuban judoka Hector Lombard (18-2-1) has once again been scheduled.

Now training with American Top Team, the middleweight will fight in the third week of upstart Bellator Fighting Championships' debut season.

Lombard's agent, Malki Kawa of First Round Management today confirmed the headlining bout of the new promotion's yet-to-be-announced April 17 event with ( It'll be an opening-round matchup in the organization's eight-man middleweight tournament.

"We're extremely excited to have Hector fighting for Bellator Fighting Championships," Kawa said. "Unfortunately, I can't share any other details about his fight at this time, but I can say we have very high expectations for Hector in this middleweight tournament."

Additional sources have shared that Lombard will likely be facing Virgil Lozano (6-1-1) at the event. While an exact location for the event has not yet been announced, those same sources cite Norman, Okla., as the likely destination.

Lombard has been fighting professionally since 2004. "Shango" has fought for PRIDE, SpiritMC and DEEP, among other organizations. Lombard is currently riding a 12-fight unbeaten streak that includes one draw. His two career losses have come to the highly regarded Gegard Mousasi and the always tough Akihiro Gono, both by decision.

Lombard was expected to make his U.S. debut against Scott Smith under the EliteXC banner in the ill-fated November 2008 show, "A Night of Champions." The organization eventually folded, and the show was canceled.

Known as "The Mexican Machine," Lozano began fighting professionally in 2001. Fighting out of Tijuana, Mexico, he has earned five of his six career wins by submission.

Lombard is among three officially announced middleweight participants in Bellator's inaugural eight-man middleweight tournament. Edwin Aguilar (20-12) and Daniel Tabera (12-1-3) have also been officially named as 185-pound competitors.

Scheduled to air on ESPN Deportes on a one-day tape delay, Bellator Fighting Championships' inaugural season consists of 12 consecutive weeks of events throughout the country. Featuring eight-man tournaments in the featherweight, lightweight, welterweight and middleweight divisions, Bellator's first event is scheduled for April 3 in Hollywood, Fla.