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Feb 7, 2006
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Strikeforce to Delay GP Fights; Targeting California for April

With the first round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix in the books, April 9 had become the focus for the other half of the quarterfinals, but it now appears that fans will have to wait a little longer to see who will be squaring off with Antonio Silva and Sergei Kharitonov.

Sherdog.com learned today via sources close to the promotion that Strikeforce is planning to run its previously scheduled April date in California, and that the two remaining quarterfinal bouts will most likely be pushed off the card.

A fight between Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and Japanese slugger Tatsuya Kawajiri is expected to comprise one of the top two spots on the bill, while welterweight champion Nick Diaz is expected to fill the other slot against a yet-to-be-named opponent.

Speaking with Sherdog.com, Diaz’s manager and trainer Cesar Gracie said he was not sure which way the promotion was leaning, but that at least a couple different fighters were under consideration, including Paul Daley -- who fights Deep veteran Yuya Shirai next weekend in the UK -- and Tyron Woodley.

“I don’t know if (Daley) is willing to take the fight,” said Gracie. “I know Strikeforce is hoping to do the fight but he has to win his fight, come out healthy and then he has to accept the fight.”

Gracie also mentioned the possibility of highly-regarded prospect Tyron Woodley as an alternate opponent, but Woodley’s manager Sam Spira told Sherdog.com that any talk of his client taking such a big fight on less than eight weeks notice “was a bit premature.”

Gracie also raised concerns about Diaz fighting on short notice, but was clear that his charge is not likely to turn down a bout with either Daley or Woodley.

“It is a little bit of a short notice but you know how Nick is,” said Gracie. “I don’t think he will have a problem being ready to go by then.”

Heavyweight Grand Prix participant Josh Barnett was contacted for comment on his fight being pushed back and the former UFC champion said it was the first he had heard of the change in schedule.

“I don’t really have anything to say about it,” said Barnett, “I have not heard anything from the promotion yet.”

Barnett said he has been preparing with an April 9 date in mind, but that he would just have to adjust his training to ensure he was in peak condition whenever he eventually steps in the cage with Brett Rogers.

Strikeforce Matchmaker Rich Chou offered no comment when contacted Monday evening. Promotion CEO Scott Coker has not yet replied to requests for confirmation.
 
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Unbeaten Carpenter Official for Bellator Light Heavyweight Draw

As expected, undefeated light heavyweight Tim Carpenter will take part in Bellator Fighting Championships’ first-ever 205-pound tournament.

Carpenter’s participation in the competition was first reported by Sherdog.com in December and was confirmed by the promotion Tuesday. He joins Daniel Gracie, Nik Fekete, Chris Davis and D.J. Linderman on the list of official tournament combatants. A release announcing Raphael Davis’ involvement in the tournament is expected shortly.

All four light heavyweight tournament quarterfinals are expected to be held at the to-be-announced Bellator 38, which will likely go down March 26. The event’s location and venue, as well as the first-round matchups, are currently unknown.

The winner of the light heavyweight bracket will become Bellator’s inaugural 205-pound champion and will be awarded $100,000 in total pay. The promotion kicks off its upcoming fourth season from the Tachi Palace Hotel and Resort with Bellator 35 on March 5. The upcoming season will be broadcast live on MTV2 on Saturdays.

A product of Philadelphia’s Balance Studios, Carpenter has racked up a perfect 6-0 record since turning pro in 2005. Carpenter made his Bellator debut in October, earning a split decision victory over Jamal Patterson. A pupil of Phil and Ricardo Migliarese, Carpenter has finished half of his career victims by submission.

“When I started looking at Bellator and I saw the list of champions and tournament winners, it’s really impressive,” Carpenter stated in a release. “Once you hit that championship level in Bellator, you’re in there with guys like Eddie Alvarez, Hector Lombard, Ben Askren, Cole Konrad and Zach Makovsky. It would be an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence with those guys.”
 
Feb 7, 2006
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UFC Prelims Live’ Specials Return to Spike TV with UFC 128

Spike TV will once again broadcast a “UFC Prelims Live” special, as the cable network will air two UFC 128 undercard contests one hour prior to the event’s pay-per-view broadcast.

Sherdog.com confirmed the news with a source close to the broadcast, which MMAJunkie.com first reported Tuesday morning. The free special will feature a light heavyweight duel between former heavyweight prospect Karlos Vemola and hard-hitting Brazilian Luis “Banha” Cane, as well as a lightweight shootout between strikers Anthony Njokuani and Edson Barboza.

UFC 128 will go down March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., and will be headlined by a light heavyweight title clash between reigning champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua and up-and-comer Jon Jones.

Vemola looks to capitalize on his successful light heavyweight debut, as the powerful Czech most recently pounded out Seth Petruzelli at UFC 122 in November. In his last bout at heavyweight, the London Shootfighters product was outpointed by powerful wrestler Jon Madsen at UFC 116. That loss marked the first and only defeat of Vemola’s career.

Cane will attempt to bring a halt to a two-fight losing skid. In his last two outings, “Banha” suffered back-to-back losses for the first time in his career, as he was knocked out by Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Cyrille Diabate at UFC 106 and UFC 114, respectively.

Njokuani recently bounced back from consecutive defeats by knocking out Edward Faaloloto at WEC 52 in November. Prior to besting Faaloloto, the native Nigerian fell to Shane Roller and Maciej Jewtuszko to start 2010. “The Assassin” will make his UFC debut on March 19.

Another powerful lightweight striker, the unbeaten Barboza burst onto the big stage at UFC 123, where he finished Mike Lullo with a series of cracking leg kicks early in the third frame. A veteran muay Thai fighter, Barboza has finished all seven of his professional opponents in MMA, earning six knockouts along the way.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Lombard-Vitale Targeted for Non-Title Bout at Bellator 44

A non-title bout between Bellator Fighting Championships middleweight titleholder Hector Lombard and UFC veteran Falaniko Vitale is being put together for Bellator 44.

Sherdog.com confirmed the news with a source close to the event on Tuesday morning; MMAJunkie.com initially reported the matchup. Though not yet announced by the promotion, Bellator 44 is expected to take place on May 14. According to multiple sources, a venue in Atlantic City, N.J., is being targeted for the event, but arrangements have not been finalized.

A black belt in both judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, Lombard has not lost since 2006. The powerful Cuban made his Bellator in April 2009 and won three consecutive bouts over the course of two months to capture the promotion's inaugural middleweight belt.

After notching three wins outside the promotion, the American Top Team product returned to Bellator’s circular cage in 2010, earning a six-second knockout over Jay Silva at Bellator 18. Most recently, Lombard defended his Bellator title for the first time against second-season middleweight tournament winner Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 34 in October.

Vitale has won four of his last five bouts heading into his Bellator debut against Lombard. An 11-year veteran of the sport, the Hawaiian has competed for both the UFC and Strikeforce.

Vitale owns 28 victories as a professional and has submitted 16 of his career victims. After an 18-month hiatus from competition, Vitale returned in 2010, racking up back-to-back wins over Kalib Starnes and Kala Hose, respectively. Before meeting Lombard, Vitale will defend his X-1 middleweight title against Dylan Clay at the Hawaiian promotion’s March 12 event.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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UFC on Versus 3's Diego Sanchez says he's staying in welterweight division

One-time lightweight contender Diego Sanchez says his days in the lightweight division are over.

After a three-fight stint at 155 pounds that culminated in a December 2009 title shot against then-champion B.J. Penn, Sanchez (22-4 MMA, 11-4 UFC) will stay in a welterweight division in which he spent the bulk of his professional career.

"The options are closed for me to ever go down to 155 (pounds) again," Sanchez said during a conference call in support of his headlining fight with Martin Kampmann (17-4 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at "UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann."

The event takes place March 3 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky., and the main card airs live on Versus.

Sanchez, a winner on "The Ultimate Fighter 1," said he's undergone a rigorous schedule of weight training and is hovering between 187 and 190 pounds nine days out from the March 3 event.

While there's no reason Sanchez couldn't return to the lightweight division, he is adamant that his time is best spent at welterweight. That said, he feels it's necessary to add mass to his frame so that he's not outmuscled by those who cut weight from north of 190 pounds.

To that aim, he brought in Willie Parks, a former Division I wresting standout and veteran of the U.S. Olympic team who's recently made the transition to MMA. The two train together at Greg Jackson's MMA mecca in Albuquerque, N.M.

"He's a big 185-pounder ... and he's real big on lifting weights," Sanchez said of Parks. "We go and lift weights every day after practice. We hit it hard.

"Having a big, strong guy always around has been real motivating for me to be strong. Because in my last fight (against Paulo Thiago), I was physically prepared, but I wasn't strong, and that's something you've got to have being a welterweight – being physically strong."

Sanchez defeated Thiago by unanimous decision in his most recent appearance at UFC 121 this past October and won "Fight of the Night" honors for a gutsy, relentless attack against the Brazilian special forces officer. The win eased the pain of a decision loss to John Hathaway this past May at UFC 114 in his first welterweight appearance since a TKO loss to Penn at UFC 107.

Sanchez's welterweight record now stands at 8-3.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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UFC 127 headliner B.J. Penn: Welterweight division better on the mind and body

Until a pair of losses to current UFC champion Frankie Edgar, B.J. Penn was king of the lightweights.

In fact, if the sport ended today, you could make a strong case that the former titleholder is the greatest 155-pounder in MMA history.

But as Penn fights in the welterweight division for Saturday's UFC 127 headliner against perennial contender Jon Fitch, he said both his mind and body are in a better place thanks to the heavier weight class.

Penn (16-7-1 MMA, 12-6-1 UFC) and Fitch (23-3 MMA, 13-1 UFC) meet at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia. The event takes place on a Sunday, but due to the time difference, it airs live in North America in its normal Saturday-night timeslot.

For Penn, who was made irrelevant in the UFC lightweight title picture following his decision losses to Edgar, the bout gives him a second life at a championship; UFC president Dana White recently said the winner gets a title shot (though it could be for an interim championship if Georges St-Pierre defeats Jake Shields at UFC 129 and follows through with a planned move to middleweight).

Penn is proud of his accomplishments at lightweight. At welterweight, though, it's been a mixed bag with little recent success. Until a stunning 21-second knockout of former welterweight champ Matt Hughes at UFC 121, the Hawaiian was 0-3 in his three fights at 170 pounds since a 2004 win over Duane Ludwig.

Despite those results, Penn sees the silver lining in the heavier weight class.

"I feel that I'm a happy person right now," Penn said during a recent media call. "I feel that I'm in a great mindset.

"When it came to 155 pounds, I didn't even like cutting the weight to make that weight."

A big part of the happiness is due to his diet. Or more specifically, his lack of a truly restricting one. Granted, Penn never had trouble making 155 pounds on fight week; it's just that his training camp was made all the tougher.

"It's not a tough cut for me," Penn said of lightweight. "I'd probably cut about three or four pounds on the day of the weigh-in. But, you know, you've got to cut down food, and you've got to cut your water down. And I don't know if that's a healthy thing."

Cutting out food and water as he prepares for a fight just seems counterintuitive. Penn believe he should be getting stronger, not weaker, as fight night approaches.

"I don't see how that can help you and make you the stronger person," he said of drastic weight-cutting and diet restrictions. "I see people (using) IV (replenishment) and doing all these things. I never thought about playing those games and sticking needles in my arm or doing stuff like that.

"But, you know, I come from a whole different mindset. I believe you get as healthy as you can and you go out and you fight the best way possible."

At 32 years old and with 10 years of professional fight experience, Penn's weight cut only is going to get tougher.

But that doesn't mean he's closing the door on a possible return to lightweight.

"I don't think Dana would ever let that happen," he joked.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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"Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" prelims set with Gurgel, Bowling, others

The fight card for next month's "Strikeforce: Feijao vs. Henderson" event is set with the addition of six official preliminary-card bouts.

Strikeforce spokesperson Mike Afromowitz confirmed the lineup with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

Featured competitors include Ohio fighters Roger Bowling and Jorge Gurgel, who compete in separate bouts at Nationwide Arena in Columbus.

Although the night's main card and championship doubleheader air on Showtime, the six-bout preliminary-card lineup is not televised.

In all, 11 of the 12 prelim fighters hail from the Buckeye State.

In the featured attraction, Cincinnati's Bowling (8-1 MMA, 1-1 SF) looks to rebound from his first career loss, which came via first-round TKO to Bobby Voelker in the Strikeforce Challengers 11 headliner. He meets California-based lightweight Josh Thornburg (5-1 MMA, 0-0 SF), a Cesar Gracie-trained fighter and Gladiator Challenge vet.

Gurgel (13-7 MMA, 1-2 SF), whose gym is based in West Chester (located between Dayton and Cincinnati), looks to snap out of a 1-4 skid when he meets fellow lightweight Tyler Combs (13-7-1 MMA, 0-0 SF), a veteran Midwest-based fighter who recently suffered a submission loss to recent UFC signee Mike Lullo.

In a middleweight bout, Mojo Horne (8-2 MMA, 0-0 SF) takes on Brian Rogers (6-2 MMA, 0-0 SF). Both fighters are veterans of the Ohio fight scene and have competed for promotions such as MMA Big Show and the NAAFS.

Other bouts include heavyweights Jason Riley (9-5 MMA, 0-1 SF) vs. Jason "Jay" Freeman (6-5 MMA, 0-0 SF), middleweights Marc Cofer (3-3 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. Mitch Whitesel (15-20 MMA, 0-0 SF), and welterweights J.P. Felty (0-0 MMA, 0-0 SF) vs. John Kuhner (0-2 MMA, 0-0 SF).

The official card now includes:

MAIN CARD

* Champ Rafael Cavalcante vs. Dan Henderson (for light-heavyweight title)
* Champ Marloes Coenen vs. Miesha Tate (for women's welterweight title)
* Tim Kennedy vs. Melvin Manhoef
* Billy Evangelista vs. Jorge Masvidal

PRELIMINARY CARD

* Roger Bowling vs. Josh Thornburg
* Tyler Combs vs. Jorge Gurgel
* Jason "Jay" Freeman vs. Jason Riley
* Mojo Horne vs. Brian Rogers
* Marc Cofer vs. Mitch Whitesel
* J.P. Felty vs. John Kuhner
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Jason Frank involved in Backstage Scuffle with Legacy Employee according to thecagedoor.net

Multiple sources told TheCageDoor.net that words were exchanged between Frank and the worker in charge of collecting the gloves from the fighters after each fight. According to our sources, the Legacy employee was looking to get the gloves back from one of Franks fighters and after asking several times with no results, he told Frank "C’mon man, Jesus didn’t steal gloves."

"It’s always a problem getting the gloves back from those guys. I guess he didn’t like my comment so he got in my face," the 22 year old Legacy employee told TheCageDoor.net via phone.

"I left to go walk the next fighters out and when I come back in, right when I entered the locker room he was right there in my face. He was about an inch away from me. He’s a big guy and I weigh about 150 pounds. I put my hand up in front of me and said, hey man your like twice my size.

As I looked away I saw his fist coming so I clinched up and then he popped me a few more times."

According to the employee, one of the punches caused his tooth to pierce his lip and required several stitches. He also said that he filed a police report following the altercation.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Camões excited to fight TUF 8 champion Efrain Escudero

After leaving UFC on the beginning of 2010, Fabricio “Morango” Camões went through hard moments on his career. The fighter spent three months taking care of his cervical and, when he got healed, he couldn’t find an opponent to fight.

“Morango” fought only once in 2010, but this year the good vibes surrounded the black-belt again. The fighter signed a contract with Tacho Palace Fights and debuted Friday (18) on a striking way, knocking out Steve Lopez in only 23 seconds. Not even Fabricio himself believed that many months of training would be crowned in less than a minute.

“I was prepared for a three-rounds-fight and it turned out to be better than this. That’s the result of my trainings at Victory MMA, we fight hard for months and get there to fight fifteen minutes. I hope to do a complete fight of three rounds of five minutes each and God blessed me with this surprise knockout… I’ve never knocked anyone out that quick”, commented “Morango”.

If the problem is lacking opponents, Fabricio can’t complain anymore. The black-belt will return to Tacho Palace’s cage on May 5th, against Efrain Escudero, champion of the eighth season of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, of UFC. On a chat with TATAME, Camões commented the importance of confronting a known fighter to move forwards on his career.

“I was complaining that I didn’t have opponents and now everybody wants to fight me (laughs). He has a great name, he was the champion of UFC’s reality show and I couldn’t have a better opportunity than this”, celebrated the fighter, who sent a message directly to Escudero.

“Only God knows what will happen on that ring, but it’s best that he comes trained because I’m training for a long time and I’ll step up there as if it was worth the title. I’ll keep the same training rhythm I did for this bout and I’ll be better than I was. I’ll go there to play my game. I’m not worried about his, I don’t care what he’ll try to bring me, I’ll just be prepared for anything”, warned Fabricio.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Karlos Vemola out, Luiz Cane without opponent for UFC 128

An undisclosed injury has forced light heavyweight Karlos Vemola (8-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) to withdraw from a fight against Luiz Cane (10-3 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC 128.

Sources close to the event today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that a search is underway for a replacement opponent.

UFC 128 takes place March 19 at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

Light-heavyweight champion Mauricio "Shogun" Rua defends his title for the first time against Jon Jones, a late-notice replacement for the injured Rashad Evans, in the headliner.

As MMAjunkie.com reported earlier today, Vemola vs. Cane was scheduled to air on a Spike TV "UFC Prelims" special. It's unknown whether the recent change will shuffle the deck of televised bouts.

Regardless of who steps in to Vemola's spot, it's a must-win situation for Cane, a heavy-handed foe who's hit hard times in his two most recent octagon outings. The trouble started more than a year ago when he proved unready for a big step up in competition against Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and was knocked out inside of two minutes at UFC 106. It took 17 seconds longer, but his next engagement ended the same way when French striker Cyrille Diabate put him out at UFC 114 in May.

The losses erased hype built from a three-fight win streak that included victories over Jason Lambert, Rameau Thierry Sokodjou and Steve Cantwell.

A third straight loss undoubtedly would signal Cane's UFC exit.

The latest UFC 128 card now includes:

MAIN CARD (Pay-per-view)

* Champ Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs. Jon Jones (for light-heavyweight title)
* Urijah Faber vs. Eddie Wineland
* Jim Miller vs. Kamal Shalorus
* Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Nate Marquardt
* Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Brendan Schaub

PRELIMINARY CARD (Spike TV)

* Luiz Cane vs. TBA
* Edson Barboza vs. Anthony Njokuani

PRELIMINARY CARD

* Ricardo Almeida vs. Mike Pyle
* Kurt Pellegrino vs. Gleison Tibau
* Joseph Benavidez vs. Ian Loveland
* Raphael Assuncao vs. Manny Gamburyan
* Nick Catone vs. Dan Miller
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Jorge Gurgel weds long-time girlfriend Zoila Frausto

The world of Mixed Martial Arts welcomed its newest power couple over the weekend as Strikeforce lightweight Jorge Gurgel and Bellator 115-pound champ Zoila Frausto tied the knot yesterday in a private ceremony. Mr. and Mrs. Frausto-Gurgel join the ranks of notable wed fighters including Brandon/Kerry Vera and, of course, Evangelista/Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.

Gurgel revealed news of the blessed occasion through his Facebook page.

Five Ounces of Pain would like to extend our collective congratulations to the newlyweds and wish them the best! Given their individual talents it seems safe to say there will likely be no fight in life the two of them can’t overcome together.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Winner of Nunes vs. Florian in line for shot at UFC featherweight title

Ken Florian appears to be on the cusp of contendership for the third time during his six-year run inside the Octagon as it looks like his upcoming bout with Diego Nunes will serve to determine the next individual in line for a crack at Jose Aldo or Mark Hominick pending the outcome of their fight at UFC 129. Nunes and Florian are currently set to scuffle six weeks later on June 11 at UFC 131.

News of the top-contenders’ tag came by way of a comment from Nunes’ coach, André Pederneiras, during a conversation with Brazilian publication Tatame.

While the 16-1 Nunes has won a number of fights at featherweight, including a recent decision over former WEC champion Mike Brown at UFC 125, the divisional-debuting Florian’s rapid ascension is due in part a highly successful run at lightweight highlighted by wins over Takanori Gomi, Roger Huerta, and Clay Guida. “KenFlo” hasn’t fought due to a knee injury since being outpointed by Gray Maynard at UFC 118 this past August.

A victory for Nunes would mark his fourth consecutive instance of in-ring success including a win over respected grappler Rafael Assuncao at WEC 49. However, Pederneiras was also very clear in stating the 28-year old would pass on the opportunity to bring home gold if Aldo retains his title against Hominick based on their relationship as training partners at Nova Uniao.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Brandon Vera not cut by the UFC

Light heavyweight Brandon Vera is still a UFC fighter.

Vera (11-6 MMA, 7-6 UFC) was cut by the promotion this past month following his third consecutive loss, which came against Thiago Silva (15-2 MMA, 6-2 UFC) at UFC 125.

However, it has been learned that the result of that bout is expected to be changed to a "no contest" following additional scrutiny of Silva's post-fight drug test, and the promotion has rescinded Vera's release, sources close to the event told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

FiveOuncesofPain.com first reported Vera's return as a possibility earlier today.

As of now, Vera merely is back on the roster and does not have a pending booking. Until this past week, he was medically suspended for a broken nose he sustained in the third round of the Silva fight, which took place Jan. 1 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

MMAjunkie.com earlier reported that the Nevada State Athletic Commission still is processing the drug-test results for one of the athletes who competed on the Jan. 1 event, and that athlete is believed to be Silva.

If Silva is confirmed to have failed his post-fight drug test, the NSAC is likely to issue him a suspension and fine, as well as changing the result of the Jan. 1 fight to a "no contest."

The Brazilian slugger was set to meet Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at UFC 130 but since has been replaced by Matt Hamill.

Vera spoke about his struggles to return to form as the fight with Silva approached and knew he was in a make-or-break situation.

"When I first came in here as a young kid, guns blazing, you learn a lot," Vera told MMAjunkie.com at the pre-event press conference for UFC 125. "Life experiences, fighting experiences, I've learned a lot.

"My team got on me. My coaches got on me. People smacked me around and told me to get it together. I think I got it together."

Unfortunately, things didn't go Vera's way during the fight. Silva dominated the fight when it hit the mat and earned a unanimous-decision win with two scores of 30-27 and one of 30-26.

Vera made his octagon debut at UFC Fight Night 2 as a heavyweight and quickly racked up wins over Frank Mir, Assuerio Silva, Justin Eilers and Fabiano Scherner. But he hit a roadblock with back-to-back losses against Tim Sylvia and Fabricio Werdum, and shortly afterward, he dropped to the light-heavyweight division. There, he met mixed results with a record of 3-1 before his recent slide.
 
Feb 7, 2006
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Trash Talk Escalates At UFC 127 Presser; Is Bisping Walking Into Rivera’s Trap?

Trash talk.

It’s a part of sports, and it has been for as long as one man could beat another man, and then show him up with a few parting words. In MMA, certain fighters have taken trash talk to an art form, and for UFC 127 Jorge Rivera became Pablo Picasso.

Along with his main sponsor, Ranger-Up, Rivera released a series of videos aimed at Bisping, and unloaded on him for everything from not finishing a lot of fights to the way he talks during interviews. Nothing was off limits during Rivera’s pre-fight onslaught, and if his mission was to get a rise out of Bisping consider the UFC 127 pre-fight press conference, mission accomplished.

As the fighters fielded questions from reporters, it didn’t take long for Bisping to get the first one about Rivera and he unloaded in response to the myriad of videos that took aim at him during the past few weeks.

“For me, I’ve got a big fight to prepare for, I’m fighting in the premier fighting organization in the world, and I’m trying to behave accordingly. I’m a professional fighter, I’m not an idiot in the schoolyard making up silly rhymes and jokes and making stupid videos,” Bisping said.

“This is a press conference by the way Jorge, this is what you do. I know this is your first time involved in something like this. Welcome to the big leagues. After this, you’ll be back to the undercard, believe me.”

Rivera’s jabs at Bisping obviously did what they were intended to do and get under his skin before the fight ever starts. Throughout his career, Michael Bisping has been known to throw a massive amount of trash talk towards his opponents as well, so it’s only fair that turn about is fair play.

Rivera admitted as much when he was asked about the infamous series of videos.

“Some of it was fun, some of it was to get in his head and you see how he reacts and what’s going on. I’m cool with it,” Rivera commented.

Bisping didn’t stop there however, and he continued to poke at Rivera finally responding to the slew of videos released on the internet before they left for Australia.

“I want to do most of my talking on the night. I’m going to do my talking with my fists, punches, kicks, knees, elbows, jiu-jitsu, wrestling, half of that stuff he doesn’t know what it is. Jorge’s a relic, a throwback to the beginning of mixed martial arts,” Bisping said. “I’m a complete mixed martial artist, and I’ll be showing him that on the night.”

Rivera never seemed ruffled by anything Bisping was saying on Tuesday, and kept his answers short and sweet.

“I look forward to that,” Rivera responded.

When the fighters stood up from the tables and faced off, Bisping continued to jaw at Rivera and eventually the two middleweight had to be separated. The fight may still be a few days away, but there’s still a weigh-in where they will face each other again before meeting in the Octagon.

This war of words may have just begun.
 
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As UFC on Versus 3 beckons, once-stubborn C.B. Dollaway embracing variety

C.B. Dollaway officially shrugged off his old ways by submitting Joe Doerksen.

Dollaway, an All-American wrestler at Arizona State University, once believed that his native art would triumph over all inside the octagon. Then he got submitted, twice, by Amir Sadollah in his first shot at the limelight on "The Ultimate Fighter 7."

He's now a part of the well-rounded faithful when it comes to the skills he needs to be successful in MMA.

Dollaway (11-2 MMA, 5-2 UFC) and Munoz (9-2 MMA, 4-2 UFC) meet next Thursday at "UFC on Versus 3: Sanchez vs. Kampmann," which takes place at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky. The main card, including a Diego Sanchez and Martin Kampmann headliner, airs live on Versus.

Dollaway said the loss to Sadollah – first on the reality show's semifinals and then at its live finale – was the best thing that could have happened to him. It provided a catalyst to learning.

"I had to get a out of the wrestler mentality," Dollaway said today during a media call in support of the event. "When I first started fighting, I just thought ... that I would be able to go in, take guys down, and not have to worry about other parts of my game as much. I kind of skipped over the jiu-jitsu side of things."

It didn't take long for him to get the submission ball rolling. In his very next fight, Dollaway tapped fellow "TUF 7" cast member Jesse Taylor with the rarely seen Peruvian necktie.

Of course, the ball didn't always roll his way. After pounding out Mike Massenzio at UFC 92, he was choked unconscious by Tom Lawlor at UFC 100. It was back to the drawing board. Or in this case, back to the mat.

Wrestling helped Dollaway bounce back against two heavy-handed strikers in Jay Silva and Goran Reljic. But his victory at UFC 119 over Doerksen, a dyed-in-the-wool jiu-jitsu stylist with 33 wins by submission, sealed his status as a legitimate threat on the ground. Dollaway tapped the Canadian in a manner befitting his nickname, "The Doberman"; once he got ahold of the neck, he never let go.

The first-round victory put a $70,000 "Submission of the Night" bonus check in his pocket.

"It was huge," he said. "Sometimes ... you're like, 'My game's getting good,' but you don't know how good until you do something like that. It's a payoff for all the hard work you put in. It makes you open your eyes and believe in yourself and know that you can finish guys on the ground. You can be a threat there as well."

His opponent upcoming opponent has undergone a few transformations of his own. Munoz quickly jumped into MMA after a decorated career as an amateur wrestler at Oklahoma State University and soon was fighting in major promotions. But a bad knockout loss to Matt Hamill at UFC 96 taught him that he had a long way to go in the striking department, and he diligently worked to bring those skills up to the level of his wrestling.

Munoz hasn't always been successful in his journey. But he's on the same one as Dollaway in becoming a complete mixed martial artist. That's caught Dollaway's eye.

"When he came in, he was thrown right into the deep end fighting tough fights right out of the gate, and he found a way to win even though he wasn't the most well-rounded fighter when he came in," Dollaway said. "But over the last few fights, you've definitely seen a progression."

The question now is who's further ahead. The former wrestlers will figure that out next Thursday.

Dollaway's journey is still in progress.

"I have to get better – I have to evolve with MMA," he said. "It's no longer wrestlers can just go in and pound on everybody. You have to learn everything, and you have to be well-rounded."
 
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Jorge Santiago Announces He’s Signed With UFC, Faces Brian Stann at UFC 130

Jorge Santiago has chosen a new home, signing a contract to return to the UFC to face Brian Stann at UFC 130 in May.

Santiago broke the news on MMAWeekly Radio Tuesday night.

“I came here with my manager to tell you guys firsthand on MMAWeekly, I finally signed today. It’s official, I’m a UFC fighter and I’ll be fighting May 28 against Brian Stann. That’s what’s up,” Santiago revealed.

“After two years of fighting in Japan, there’s nobody else to fight. This stage in my life I was thinking about having more challenges for myself. I’m in the Top 10, been ranked for two years already. This was big stuff, giving my belt away, and ask for my release to come back to the United States and do it one more time in the UFC.”

Granted his release from Sengoku, where he reigned as the middleweight champion, Santiago was one of the top free agents in the sport. It didn’t long before he settled on a return to the Octagon.

Working with the team at Authentic Sports Management, Santiago sealed the deal with the UFC to compete in their middleweight division.

He does have prior UFC experience, going 1-2 during a brief stint there, but Santiago now believes he’s a renewed fighter. Something he’s ready to prove against Brian Stann.

“I’ve been fighting all over the world, I have a lot of experience in Europe and Japan and all over the place. I didn’t want to rush, I wanted to take my time, and I’m starting everything over again,” Santiago said. “Right now, I’m more mature. I know what I need to do, what I have to do, and how I have to train to reach my full potential.”

With champion Anderson Silva seemingly out of challengers, Santiago also breathes new life into the division. He is currently ranked in MMAWeekly’s World MMA Rankings, and has a chance to climb even higher with his return to the UFC.

One thing is for sure, he isn’t coming back just for the challenge or the honor to say he’s fighting in the UFC. He’s coming to add another title to his collection. This time it’s the UFC middleweight belt.

“Grab a pen, grab a pencil, grab a crayon, grab your girlfriend’s eyeliner, grab a napkin, grab a piece of paper, or grab anything you can to write on and write down this day that we tell you, Jorge Santiago’s going to shock the world,” Santiago’s manager Glenn Robinson stated.

“Within 18 months or whenever Dana White says or feels he’s ready, Jorge Santiago’s going to go into the UFC, he’s going to walk into the Octagon, and he’s going to put that belt on because he’s going to walk out with it.”

Santiago will start that climb with a tough challenge at UFC 130, facing Brian Stann in his UFC return.
 
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Press Conference Next Week! Thinking About A New Company Name

Some FEG news.

A press conference will be held next week. FEG’s Tanikawa has been thinking about a new company name as well. “I want something present day… Like “Fight Book” or something”.

He will also be a guest on the “KAMIPRO BOM-BA-YE2011″ talk event on April 2nd.
 
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Bisping Bites Back; Rivera Unimpressed at UFC 127 Presser

The staredown between Michael Bisping and Jorge Rivera was tense, to say the least.

After the fighters each answered questions from the media at the UFC 127 prefight press conference, the pair stood face-to-face, with Bisping jutting his jaw out and pointing a finger at Rivera's chest. What was said was inaudible, but the dialogue did not appear friendly.

Leading up to his middleweight clash with Bisping this Saturday at Acer Arena in Sydney, Australia, Rivera has certainly talked the talk. “El Conquistador” has mocked Bisping in a series of YouTube videos which poke fun at everything from The Brit's perceived lack of knockout power to his contentious split decision victory over Matt Hamill. Most recently, Rivera paid homage to “South Park” while dissing his foe, putting his own twist on one of the show's most famous, profanity-laced musical numbers.

At Tuesday's presser, Bisping let everyone know that he intended to answer Rivera's verbal taunts with physical ones when they step into the cage, even as he fired back at the American with some aural bullets of his own.

“For me, I’ve got a big fight to prepare for, and I’m trying to behave accordingly. I’m a professional fighter, not an idiot in the schoolyard, making up silly rhymes and jokes and stupid videos,” said Bisping. “This is a press conference, by the way, Jorge. I know it's your first time involved in something like this. Welcome to the big leagues. After this, you'll be back to the undercard, believe me.”

Bisping went on to explain how and why he would come out on top come fight time.

“I’m looking forward to correcting him on a few of his opinions. I think he's massively underestimating me, and I’m looking forward to making fool out of him,” said Bisping. “I’m going to do my talking with my fists -- punches, kicks, knees, elbows, jiu-jitsu, wrestling. Half of that stuff, he doesn't know what it is.”

When asked about his motives behind his prefight antics, a stoic Rivera asserted that while it was fun to rile his opponent, the videos also served a purpose.

“Some of it was for fun, and some of it was to get in his head and see how he reacts and see what's going on,” said Rivera. “I’m cool with it.”

Taunts aside, Bisping believes he's the more modern fighter, a hypothesis that Rivera seems eager to test at full speed.

“Jorge is a relic. He's a throwback to the beginning of mixed martial arts,” said Bisping. “I’m a complete mixed martial artist, and I'll be showing him that [in the cage]. And I'll do most of my talking then.”

“I look forward to that,” replied Rivera. “I'm ready whenever you're ready. I’m done talking.”