Bellator Fighting Championships sets up shop in the Buckeye State on October 26 with Bellator 78 at the Nutter Center in Dayton, Ohio. A pair of 170lbs. tournament semi-final bouts serve as the main course while a pair of feature fights spotlighting two of Ohio’s own open up the live main card on MTV2. Featherweight tournament winner and long-time Bellator veteran Daniel Straus (20-4) has elected to take an interim fight rather than wait to face the winner of the upcoming featherweight championship match, as he welcomes to the Bellator cage four-time UFC alum “Kid” Alvin Robinson (12-6), who boasts 11 submission wins in his career. Powerhouse middleweight and two-time tournament semi-finalist “The Predator” Brian Rogers (9-4) returns to face rival Ohio native “Non-Stop Action Packed” Dominique Steele (6-2) who possesses well-rounded talents to showcase in his Bellator debut. Strikers collide in the co-main event and the first of two Season 7 Welterweight Tournament semi-final match-ups as “Spartan” Andrey Koreshkov (11-0) faces arguably his biggest challenge to date in the former DREAM 170lbs. king “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (19-6). The main event features former Bellator Welterweight Champion “Cyborg” Lyman Good (13-2) against submission specialist “The Lonely Wolf” Michail Tsarev (24-2).
The card has been afflicted by a slew of injuries and has undergone multiple replacements but is now set in stone as UFC 149 comes live out of the Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada on June 21. “The Menace” Chris Clements (11-4) takes on “Deep Waters” Matt Riddle (6-3) in the main card opener. “Bad Boy” Brian Ebersole (50-14-1) steps in on short notice to take on James Head (8-2) in a welterweight battle. Heavyweight action is set for the Canadian crowd as “The Savage” Shawn Jordan (13-3) and Cheick Kongo (17-7-2) are locked to do battle in the card’s anchor. In the main event, “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (26-5) will clash with the always lethal Renan Barao (28-1-1) with the interim bantamweight title on the line. The co-main event has its own share of buzz surrounding it as “The Barbarian” Tim Boetsch (15-4) replaces an injured “All American” Brian Stann to welcome the long-awaited UFC debut of former Bellator champion “Lightning” Hector Lombard (31-2).
It’s another stop in Atlantic City, New Jersey this Friday night as Caesars Hotel and Casino hosts the Bellator Season 6 Featherweight Tournament finale between former Sengoku 145lbs. king “The Monster of Rio” Marlon Sandro (22-3) and seasoned Bellator veteran Daniel Straus (19-4). Both men are making their second appearance in the tournament finals. Bantamweight semi-final number one goes down in the co-main event as WEC veteran “Loro” Macros Galvao (11-5) faces submission expert “T-Train” Travis Marx (19-3). Two UFC veterans will face off in a light heavyweight special feature fight as “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli (14-6) battles “The Fury” Carmello Marrero (14-5). Starting off the main card on MTV2 is a rematch that has been brewing since November 2010 when their Strikeforce bout was ruled a No Contest, as DREAM Welterweight Champion “The Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (16-6) locks horns with Wacchiim Spiritwolf (9-9) for a second time.
It started in April of 2011 at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley. “Mak” Mike Kyle (15-8) was set to face former DREAM middleweight king and former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Gegard Mousasi (32-3). However, a broken hand that Kyle suffered in his near upset loss to heavyweight “Big Foot” Antonio Silva (15-3) sidelined him from the fight. Again the two were set to face each other in September 2011 at the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals, but this time it was Mousasi who withdrew from the fight. Now, after a year of trying to come to the same crossroads, the two veterans will finally face each other in the Strikeforce cage.
The UFC solidifies its 2011 calendar year as one of the biggest in the promotion’s history, closing it out tonight with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. The honors of starting off the main card on Pay-Per-View go to The Ultimate Fighter 12 alum Nam Phan (19-10) and undefeated fellow featherweight “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0). Forty-year-old IFL veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) looks to stay in the good graces of the UFC brass with a defeat over rising 205lbs. prospect “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1). Former welterweight title challenger Jon Fitch (22-3-1) pits his wrestling credentials against those of rising talent Johny Hendricks (11-1). The co-main event features one of the most volatile grudge matches in recent memory, with former WEC stand-out “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) teeing off against Stockton, California native Nate Diaz (13-8). Serving as the promotion’s final bout in 2011 is the long-awaited UFC debut of K-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) as he takes on an equally mammoth-sized former UFC champion in Brock Lesnar (5-2).
“Anything can happen in MMA”, especially when it comes to thoughtful pairings like those featured on the UFC 141 main card. Below, the MMA Gospel staff takes a crack at predicting how the night could play out.
The world’s premiere MMA organization finishes off the year with a bang this Friday night with UFC 141: Lesnar vs. Overeem. Undefeated featherweight prospect “The Kid” Jimy Hettes (9-0) takes on Nam Phan (19-10) in the main card’s opening bout. “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) collides with the fast rising “The Mauler” Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) to see whose stock gets a lift in the light heavyweight division. Johny Hendricks (11-1) is looking to get into the higher echelon of the welterweight class but will first have to grind it out against former title challenger Jon Fitch (22-3). The main event is seen as the classic “grappler versus striker” formula as former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (5-2) and current K-1, DREAM, and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (34-11) fill the roles, respectively. The co-main event is receiving just as much acclaim as the marquee feature as Nate Diaz (13-8) and “Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) butt heads in a lightweight match-up. Diaz and Cerrone are two of the sport’s most enigmatic personalities but once the cage door seals, this clash of personalities will turn into a battle truly worthy of remembering.
The old classic Friday Night Fights aura surrounds the December 30 date for UFC 141 and rounds out the promotion’s year rather nicely. Perhaps the most dangerous heavyweight striker in all of MMA, former Strikeforce, DREAM, and K-1 Heavyweight Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (34-11), steps into the Octagon tp begin his long awaited UFC career. In his way of a shot at UFC gold though is the villainous former UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar (5-2). Red hot former WEC title contender “The Cowboy” Donald Cerrone (16-4) and Nate Diaz (13-8) of Cesar Gracie tutelage will bring their heated encounter from months before to the surface as they face off in the co-main event. Top-ranked welterweight Jon Fitch (22-3) returns since his lackluster Draw against former UFC lightweight and welterweight champion BJ Penn (16-8) to face heavy-handed WEC veteran Johny Hendricks (11-1). Exciting young fighter Alexander Gustafsson (12-1) has yet to go past the second round in his UFC career but his toughest test to date will tower in front of him in the form of long-time UFC veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (26-5) who has looked better than ever with two knockout wins supporting him going into this match-up. Starting off the UFC 141 main card is undefeated “The Kid” Jimy Hettis (9-0) who has submitted all of his opponents – six in the first round and three in the second, teeing off against the tough and relentless Nam Phan (19-10), who recently made UFC history for his rock ‘em sock ‘em battle with “Bad Boy” Leonard Garcia (15-8). Both men are guaranteed a tough fight in each other, and it is one that surely will serve as an entertaining opener to the Pay-Per-View card.
Last night some of the most prominent names in mixed martial arts convened at The Palms in Las Vegas, Nevada to honor nominees in 22 categories at the 2011 World MMA Awards. The categories, which are selected by a nominations panel then voted on by fans, honor all things MMA, from fighters, to referees, to equipment, apparel, ring girls, and much more. The annual awards show, now in its fourth year, once again saw the UFC taking the majority of the honors. And the winners are…
“Eli” Paulo Filho (22-4) was at one time considered the number two middleweight in the world, directly under countryman and UFC middleweight ruler “The Spider” Anderson Silva (29-4). But that was in 2008 – before his first professional loss to the Kryptonite of the MMA kings, Chael Sonnen (25-11). Prior to that loss he was in the midst of one of the longest dominating streaks in the world with 16 consecutive victories, eight by stoppage. Many believed he was the only man to prove a true challenge to “The Spider”, but as he stepped on the scale for his WEC 36 weigh-in for what would be the final middleweight fight before the promotion dropped the larger weight classes, “Eli” began losing his footing at the top of the middleweight mountain, and rumors regarding his descent swirled overhead.
Tomorrow night the famed Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino hosts yet another Bellator event: the Bellator 50 and the Season 5 Middleweight Tournament quarter-finals. ”Shango” Hector Lombard (28-2), with the championship belt hoisted across his shoulder, reigns at 185lbs. and only one man will earn the chance to challenge for his gold strap. Stacked with Bellator veterans, a former title challenger, and new faces from around the globe, the tournament seems geared to ensure that man is the toughest test yet of Hector’s reign. “The Beast” Bryan Baker (12-2), a giant and powerful middleweight, has overcome many hardships to unleash “The Beast” inside the cage. Standing across from him is the hard nosed and gritty Jared Hess (12-2), the man who was the runner-up in the first season but was cut down short in the second season due to a freak knee injury. Russian striker “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (30-4) will bring his flashy spinning back fists and kicks into the cage to welcome Croatian kickboxer and DREAM and Cage Rage veteran Zelg Galesic (9-5), a man who has never been out of the first round in his entire career. Perhaps one of the most decorated Jiu-Jitsu champions in the world, Vitor Vianna (10-1), will bring his high level grappling with him as he makes his Bellator debut against “Smiling” Sam Alvey (14-2). Starting off the tournament are two newcomers in Strikeforce veteran Brian Rogers (7-2) and Victor O’Donnell (12-1). Both men love to strike and have secured most of their pro wins by TKO. Only four men can move on to the semi-finals but with such talent that is involved in this tournament, anything goes.
Australian Fighting Championship is making their sophomore effort, AFC 2: Lombard vs. Taylor, a bomb blast with the newly minted AFC Middleweight Championship belt up for grabs in the main event. The September 3 card, though very much still in the building process, is slated to feature a marquis match-up between Bellator and CFC Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) and TUF 7 alum “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5).
Jesse Taylor is riding a three-fight win streak and is fresh off a first-round submission victory over PRIDE, Spirit MC, and UFC veteran Denis Kang (35-13). He has been a very busy man since his lone bout in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, providing several promotions including Strikeforce and MFC his fighting services and racking up a 10-3 record in less than three years. “JT Money” has proven his penchant for the ground game, earning the bulk of his wins via submission, but will have his hands full when stepping in the ring opposite multi-promotion champ Hector Lombard.
Strikeforce Heavyweight and K-1 Champion “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (32-12) has reportedly been cut from Strikeforce.
After much back-and-forth talk from Overeem, his camp, and the Strikeforce and Zuffa brass about his Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix semi-finals match-up with “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (15-2), Overeem ultimately withdrew from the fight July 18, stating that the September 10 fight date would not allow ample time to heal from the broken toe he allegedly sustained even prior to his quarter-finals bout against “Vai Cavalo” Fabricio Werdum (14-5-1), in which he won the decision after three relatively uneventful rounds. Additional injuries to “The Demolition Man” have been reported but not yet confirmed.
Friday’s edition of “Inside MMA” first broke the news of Overeem’s release and was immediately followed by an official statement from HDNet regarding the matter. Overeem’s trainer Martijn de Jong also confirmed the cut, though Strikeforce officials have yet to release a statement to confirm or deny Overeem’s departure from the organization.
Amassing nearly two dozen wins in his five-year career and going undefeated thus far in his four bouts in 2011, one of Canada’s top welterweights has finally been signed to a major promotion. Sources close to the signing have announced and confirmed that 21-year-old “Young Guns” Jordan Mein (21-6) has signed a multi-fight contract with Strikeforce.
The signing comes as no surprise to those who have followed Mein’s career and witnessed his current eight-fight winning streak, including victories over UFC veterans “Diesel” Joe Riggs (33-14) and “People’s Warrior” Josh Burkman (21-9). Mein’s most recent match-up saw him go the distance with DREAM Welterweight Champion “Whitemare” Marius Zaromskis (13-5) at Score Fighting Series in June, where he earned the judges’ nod.
Welterweight “Doomsday” John Howard (14-7) and lightweight Andre Winner (12-6-1) are the latest members of the UFC’s roster to have their necks stretched across the Zuffa chopping block. It was announced today that the heavy-handed Boston native Howard and The Ultimate Fighter 9 runner-up from Team Rough House, Winner, have had their last fights inside the UFC Octagon.
“Doomsday” introduced himself to UFC fans worldwide with a four-fight winning streak, taking out opponents such as “The Barn Cat” Tamdan McCrory (11-3) and MMA veteran “Superman” Dennis Hallman (45-13-2). His tear through the UFC’s welterweight division however was put to an abrupt stop by Jake Ellenberger (24-5) in August 2010. Howard followed up his loss to Ellenberger with two more consecutive defeats, the most recent of which was at the hands of “The Immortal” Matt Brown (12-10) in June, prompting the UFC to cut ties with “Doomsday”. Howard announced via his Twitter that he is now looking to sign with Bellator or DREAM, or “whoever makes the best offer”.