The UFC returns to Atlanta, Georgia this Saturday with perhaps the most hyped title fight of the year featuring training-partners-turned-bitter-rivals, UFC Light Heavyweight Champion “Bones” Jon Jones (15-1) and “Suga” Rashad Evans (17-1-1). Young prospect “Ares” Rory MacDonald (12-1) takes on English striker “Beautiful” Che Mills (14-4) in the UFC 145 co-main event. Returning to the Octagon searching for victory is IFL veteran “Big” Ben Rothwell (31-8) versus confident knockout artist “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (8-2) in a heavyweight scrap. Former UFC featherweight title challenger “The Machine” Mark Hominick (20-10) steps into the cage against “The Filipino Phenom” Eddie Yagin (15-5) with both men in a must-win situation. Starting up the Pay-Per-View action is Canadian submission expert Mark Bocek (10-5) welcoming fellow countryman and WEC, UFC, and MFC veteran “The Natural” John Alessio (34-14) back to the Octagon. Alessio, a long-time welterweight, has found a new home at lightweight and will look to show the fans, Dana White, and all of the 155lbs. division that he is here to stay, while Bocek looks to prove that his name belongs in the mix of top lightweight contenders. With both men having a lot to gain and a lot to lose from this fight, the main card opener is sure to entertain.
Tonight the Seminole Hard Rock Casino in Hollywood, Florida will host what is perhaps Bellator Fighting Championship’s most impressive card of the season. Reigning Bellator Lightweight Champion Eddie Alvarez (20-2) is coming off a minor injury that sidelined him at Bellator 54 and he is finally meeting Season 4 lightweight tournament winner Michael Chandler (8-0). With the 155lbs. title up for grabs in the marquis event, only a solid main card can shoulder the weight and who better to do so than Bellator Middleweight Champion and powerhouse striker “Shango” Hector Lombard (28-2)? Fresh off his submission victory over “JT Money” Jesse Taylor (14-5) at AFC 2, Lombard meets UFC, Strikeforce, IFL, and Bodog Fight veteran and Shark Fights Light Heavyweight Champion Trevor Prangley (23-7). The non-title fight will be at a catchweight of 195lbs. Lombard’s current win streak of 20 is the longest active streak in the MMA world and the South African fighter will try to end it doing what no man has done, stop the man called “Shango”. Former Sengoku Featherweight Champion and Featherweight tournament finalist “The Monster from Rio” Marlon Sandro (19-3) is returning to the cage after his knockout loss to tournament winner Pat Curran (15-4) and is looking to rebound by taking on WEC veteran submission fighter Rafael Dias (16-8). Women’s MMA will kick off the action as “JAG” Jessica Aguilar (11-4) looks to take revenge against the woman who handed her her first defeat, Lisa Ward (14-5).
The UFC 137 main card has survived a series of blows to its line-up to finally come to fruition tonight at the promotion’s primary stomping grounds, the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. To kick off the Pay-Per-View festivities, perpetual underdog and TUF 8 alum George Roop (12-6-1) welcomes Japanese sensation Hatsu Hioki to the Octagon for his stateside debut. Two former WEC stand-outs go to battle as multiple-time “Fight of the Night” winner “Young Guns” Scott Jorgensen (11-3) is pitted against fellow bantamweight and seasoned submission guru “Big Frog” Jeff Curran (35-13-1). The famed head kicks of ”Cro Cop” Mirko Filipovic (27-10-2) will likely make an appearance when the former PRIDE superstar takes on inaugural IFL Heavyweight Champion and TUF 10 winner “Big Country” Roy Nelson (15-6). The co-main event sees another heavyweight clash, this time between renowned French kickboxer Cheick Kongo (16-6-2) and the man who “pisses excellence” each time he steps foot in the Octagon, “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (5-0). Former UFC Lightweight and Welterweight Champion “The Prodigy” BJ Penn (16-7-2) goes head to head with Stockton native “Diablo” Nick Diaz (24-8) of Cesar Gracie tutelage in the evening’s marquis event – a pairing that already showed fireworks at last night’s weigh-ins. Despite its rocky start, the UFC once again has managed to string together an event chock full of promising match-ups that are nearly certain to render the full gamut of results.
Premier Canadian mixed martial arts promotion Maximum Fighting Champion (MFC) is set to rock the Mayfield Conference Center in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on October 7. But instead of the IFL and UFC veteran “Mandingo” Antonio McKee (25-4-2) defending his MFC Lightweight Championship belt against Brian Cobb (16-6) in the main event as originally planned, fans will be treated to a light heavyweight clash between top Canadian fighter and reigning champ “Big Deal” Ryan Jimmo” (12-1) and UFC veteran “The African Assassin” Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (10-8) in which the MFC 205lb. championship belt is on the line. MFC 31 also marks Sokoudjou’s promotional debut.
Toronto, Ontario, Canada gets its first taste of UFC action when the Rogers Centre hosts UFC 129: St. Pierre vs. Shields this Saturday. In the main event, title challenger Jake Shields (26-4-1) hopes to keep his six-year winning streak going when he faces current 170lbs. king “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) for the coveted welterweight title. The headlining superfight is directly supported by “Junior” José Aldo (17-1) returning from the injured list to face “The Machine” Mark Hominick (19-7) with his featherweight title up for grabs. Nebraska’s favorite fighter “The Hitman” Jason Brilz (18-3-1) enters the cage opposite International Fight League (IFL) veteran “The Janitor” Vladimir Matyushenko (25-5) and Toronto’s native son Mark Bocek (9-3) plans to give former WEC champ “Smooth” Ben Henderson (11-2) a rude welcoming in his UFC debut. In the midst of the action, history will be made as “The Natural” Randy Couture (19-11) enters the Octagon, allegedly for the last time, against the always calm but equally dangerous “The Dragon” Lyoto Machida (16-2). While the UFC Hall of Famer Couture will always be loved and admired for his accomplishments both in and outside the sport, ending his career on the highest possible note with a victory may prove difficult against Machida, who himself looks to get back on the road towards title contention.
Today Bellator Fighting Championships announced that its May 7 card, Bellator 43, in Newkirk, Oklahoma will not only host the Season 4 Welterweight Tournament finals between undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) and former International Fight League (IFL) 170lbs. champ “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4) but also will feature a stacked night of fights leading up to the main event.
Bellator Fighting Championships’ second trip to the Sooner State featured two semi-final match-ups in the Season 4 Welterweight and Lightweight Tournaments and a superfight between reigning Bellator Welterweight Champion Ben Askren (8-0) and MMA veteran “The Goat” Nick Thompson (38-14). A sold out crowd welcomed Bellator and the fighters with cheers and open arms. First on the slate Xtreme Couture finisher Mike Chandler (7-0) took on former boxer and fellow undefeated slugger “Cupcake” Lloyd Woodard (11-1), then underdog Brent Weedman (18-6) tested himself against the dangerous and experienced “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (18-4). Here, MMA Gospel takes a look at how the night played out.
Oklahoma gets a second dose of Bellator Fighting Championships when the organization returns to the Sooner State for Bellator 40 tonight with a main event superfight between welterweight champion Ben Askren (7-0) and UFC, bodogFIGHT, Strikeforce, Sengoku, and Elite XC veteran “The Goat” Nick Thompson (38-12). Askren will have his hands full with this seasoned fighter, and Thompson is coming to fight for the 15 minutes that three of Askren’s four Bellator bouts have lasted. Opening the night for the champ will be the second pair of semi-final tournament bouts. Welterweight semi-finalists step in first as Brent Weedman (18-5) takes on former UFC and Strikeforce fighter and former IFL Welterweight Champion “The Thoroughbred” Jay Hieron (17-4) with the winner moving on to face undefeated Judo Olympian Rick Hawn (11-0) in the tournament finals. Then former semi-pro boxer and heavy handed striker Lloyd Woodard (11-0) takes on Strikeforce veteran and quick finisher Michael Chandler (6-0) in the lightweight semi-finals with the winner slated against ”Pitbull” Patricky Freire (3-0). Overall the night should promise another evening of excellent Bellator action for the fans.
Tonight, Bellator Fighting Championships debuts its inaugural Light Heavyweight Tournament in the state of Mississippi in Tunica at the Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino. Starting off the night is MMA Gospel Young Gun “The Professional” Chris Davis (10-2), who brings his destructive power into the Bellator cage against French import Christian M’Pumbu (1-1, 15-3 NSF). Rage In The Cage veteran Richard Hale (10-3-1) goes against Nik Fekete (3-0) who owns a victory over Strikeforce rising force Ovince St. Preux (9-4). Bellator veteran Raphael Davis (10-1) will look to continue a nine-fight win streak as he goes against D.J. Linderman (8-1), a former heavyweight who dropped down to compete in the first ever 205lbs. tournament. Then in the main event, returning to MMA competition after five years, is a member of the legendary Gracie family and PRIDE and International Fight League (IFL) veteran, Daniel Gracie (4-2). The submission specialist will go against undefeated Bellator veteran Tim Carpenter (6-0) who sees this as a way to earn bragging rights by defeating a member of the Gracie family.
With UFC 126 in the books and another chapter in NFL Super Bowl history cemented, February is continuing to prove to be a hot month for sports. This time Strikeforce claims their stake in the heat of action with one of the most highly anticipated events when they kick off the Heavyweight Grand Prix. In the heavyweight reserve bouts, Muay Thai practitioners “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (26-21) and “Sugarfoot” Ray Sefo (2-1) begin the night, IFL veteran “The Grave Digger” Chad Griggs (8-1) and former NFL prospect Gian Villante (7-1) are paired together, and the undefeated Shane del Rosario (8-0) meets knockout artist “Big” Lavar Johnson (13-3). In the co-main event, former UFC Heavyweight Champion “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-8) hopes to get back on the winning side of competition when he welcomes PRIDE veteran Sergei Kharitonov (16-4) to Strikeforce in the first round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. In the second quarter-final match and main event, “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (14-2) takes on one of the most beloved fighters across the world, “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2). February might be the shortest month of the year, but with this latest showcase by Strikeforce, it is holding true that big things do come in small packages.
Just four days from now – on Saturday, February 12, Strikeforce’s much anticipated inaugural Heavyweight Grand Prix kicks off from the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey with Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva. The event itself, named after its main event competitors, boasts an all-heavyweight main card including two quarter-final match-ups of the eight-man single elimination tournament.
The main attraction of the evening pits the legendary Russian Sambo and Judo Champion “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-2), who is returning to the cage for the first time since his upset loss to Fabricio Werdum (14-4-1) last June, against the Brazilian behemoth and Karate, Judo, and BJJ black belt “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (14-2), a bout that Silva has been requesting for almost a year now. The co-main event sees former UFC Heavyweight Champion “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-8) return to the lime light in taking on the last man to defeat Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion (one of several titles he currently holds) “The Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem – former PRIDE superstar Sergei Kharitonov (16-4).
After his UFC Fight for the Troops 2 bout against The Ultimate Fighter 9 alum DaMarques Johnson (15-8) this last Saturday, 36-year-old MMA veteran “The Joker” Mike Guymon (12-4-1) seems to be calling it quits from the sport he has competed in for over a decade.
Following his verbal submission loss to Johnson, the UFC cameras caught a visibly emotional Guymon backstage confessing to his opponent that after a long, storied career in mixed martial arts, he is ready to hang up his 4oz. gloves for good. Guymon said, “I’m just so happy to be done with it, man. It’s such a long road, I wanted to…it’s so hard to explain. So many years fighting, I’m so happy to be done… I just accomplished everything I want to do with fighting.” (Click here to see the video)
Stuck at home tonight with no exciting plans? Think again!
Tonight at 11pm ET/PT, Strikeforce and Showtime MMA brings its fans Strikeforce Challengers 13 from the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. The electrifying evening of fights is headlined by Tyron Woodley (9-0) facing Team Quest standout Tarrec Saffiedine (9-1). This fight should be tremendously exciting as Tarrec Saffiedine utilizes a unique stand-up style that has resulted in a three fight win streak going into this bout. Woodley has looked phenomenal since debuting with Strikeforce. He’s a perfect nine wins against zero losses with six of those wins inside the Strikeforce cage. Woodley made Andre Galvao (5-2) look very ordinary in their October showdown in San Jose, California, even knocking him out only 1:48 into the first stanza. This will unquestionably be the biggest test for Tyron; in fact, it is well within reason to say that Tarec Saffiedine could pull the upset and get the win. Either way, the winner of this fight makes some noise in the welterweight division.
“The Polish Hammer” Chris Horodecki (16-3) is the most recent addition to a slew of fighters that have felt the wrath of Zuffa’s chopping block. It was announced Tuesday that the lightweight kickboxer, who partook in four bouts in the WEC over the last year, will in fact not be moving on to the big show with the impending WEC/UFC merger only a few days away. Sure the UFC is fickle about its roster and fighters come and go, but this cut in particular leaves a lot of MMA fans wondering how and why the 23-year-old Canadian could have been dubbed a UFC reject in the first place. Zuffa certainly is establishing its subsidiary the UFC as the mixed martial arts organization with the utmost top notch talent in the world, but many still wonder – was cutting Horodecki warranted?