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.
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.
Press release courtesy of Phil Lanides of ProElite.com
When Pro Elite announced a bout between former UFC Champion “The Pitbull” Andrei Arlovski (14-9) and Ray Lopez (5-1) as the main event for its August 27 event in Honolulu, Hawaii, many fight fans headed to their nearest laptop to look up the latter. “Who is Ray Lopez?” was the thought that came to mind for many. A quick scan of his record showed that he is a three-time King of the Cage veteran with a 6-1-0-1 record* who has finished five of his six victims in decisive fashion, and is coming off a first-round knockout victory in his last bout. Outside of that info…there just wasn’t a lot of info out there.
The Bellator Summer Series Featherweight Tournament is coming to a close tonight in Uncasville, Connecticut as finalists Pat Curran (14-4) and Marlon Sandro (19-2) meet in the main event to decide who will take on the winner of Bellator Featherweight Champion Joe Warren (7-1) vs. “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (9-1). Supporting the main event is a match-up in the heavyweight division that was originally scheduled to take place several months ago but was forced back due to injury as Bellator Heavyweight Champion “The Polar Bear” Cole Konrad (7-0) makes his return to the cage after capturing the title last fall against UFC and Strikeforce veteran “The Headhunter” Paul Buentello (28-13) in a non-title bout. Buentello is 1-3 in his past four fights while Konrad is coming in undefeated with the hunger to defeat a veteran like Buentello. “The Headhunter” will have to pull the rabbit out of his hat and gain a win in order to breathe life back into his career. In the 205lbs. division former UFC Heavyweight Champion and re-amped “Suave” Ricco Rodriguez (47-11), will meet King of the Cage, EliteXC, and UFC veteran “The Silverback” Seth Petruzelli (13-6). With Rodriguez riding a 12-fight win streak and Petruzelli finally snapping his recent two-fight skid with a first-round TKO victory this match has all the makings of a “Fight of the Night”.
“Psycho” Karl Amoussou (12-3-2) entered the lion’s den of European MMA with three first-round submission wins that earned him the honor of cutting his teeth in the ranks of the world famous M-1 Global promotion. Toting an 8-2 record within the organization, of which only two bouts saw the judges, Amoussou’s explosive style and finishing power established him as a fan favorite and a powerhouse amongst European fighters. In August 2009 the Frenchman made his US debut also under the M-1 banner in the promotion’s first ever live televised event in the United States, M-1 Global: Breakthrough. Despite disposing of his opponent John Doyle (9-16) in impressive fashion via first-round Rear Naked Choke, the Judo black belt Amoussou still went relatively unnoticed in the landscape of US MMA.
Six months later in February 2010, Amoussou entered the Strikeforce cage against South African fighter Trevor Prangley (23-7) in a bout that many believed the more experienced Prangley would dominate. Against Prangley, Amoussou showed that he’s no pushover. He got the better exchanges and was picking Prangley apart until he received an accidental eye poke and consequently was unable to see or continue the fight. The match was ruled a Draw and despite his commanding performance, the memory of all but the outcome faded in many fans’ minds.
Amoussou would not compete again on American soil until May 21 at Bellator 45. The main card feature fight pitted the 25-year-old M-1 veteran and undercover police officer against King of the Cage veteran “Smiling” Sam Alvey (13-2) for a spot in the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. After a three-round battle in which “Psycho” arguably dominated at least 10 of the 15 minutes, two out of the bout’s three judges gave the nod to Alvey and sent Amoussou back to France without a spot in Bellator’s upcoming 185lbs. tournament.
MMA Gospel staff writer Cole Moorman recently interviewed the “Psycho” in hopes of turning the American eye to the bright future of Karl Amoussou.
The inaugural Bellator light heavyweight king was crowned last night in front of fans at the L’Auberge Du Lac in Lake Charles, Louisiana at the promotion’s season-ending show, Bellator 45, as Christian M’Pumbu (5-1) and Richard Hale (12-4) went to war for the titles of Bellator 205lbs. champ and Bellator Season 4 Light Heavyweight Tournament Champion. The main event was preceded by another Season 4 finals bout, with 145lb-ers Daniel Straus (16-3) and “Pitbull” Patricio Freire (9-1) locking horns to determine the next man to take on reigning champ Joe Warren (7-1). Before the pair of tournament bouts fans were treated to a competitive match-up in the middleweight division between former college wrestler and King of the Cage veteran “Smiling” Sam Alvey (14-2) and the well-rounded former M-1 fighter “Psycho” Karl Amoussou (12-3) with the winner gaining a spot in the Bellator Season 5 Middleweight Tournament. The evening wrapped up a season filled with solid fights, surprising upsets, and emerging contenders.
Newark, New Jersey will play host to the Ultimate Fighting Championship this Saturday night as UFC 128 roars into the Garden State with a Light Heavyweight Championship match between “Bones” Jon Jones (12-1) and the reigning 205lbs. champ “Shogun” Mauricio Rua (19-4) headlining a card packed with talent from all walks of MMA life. The old guard of PRIDE faces the new breed from The Ultimate Fighter to kick things off as “Cro Cop” Mirko Filipovic (27-9-2) takes on the well rounded blue chip fighter “The Hybrid” Brendan Schaub (6-1). The always dangerous Dan Miller (13-4) then replaces “Sexyama” Yoshihiro Akiyama (14-4), who pulled out of his UFC 128 match due to the massive earthquake hitting his native Japan last week, as he puts his submission skills to the test against the former King of Pancrase “The Great” Nate Marquardt (30-10-2) and “The Prince of Persia” Kamal Shalorus (7-0-2) pits his WEC built undefeated record against the man who some say should be at the top of the contenders list in the lightweight division, “The Mongoose” Jim Miller (19-2). Serving in the capacity of co-main event for the card is a battle of WEC ground-and-pounders as the former featherweight king “The California Kid” Urijah Faber (24-4) continues his bantamweight crusade against the inaugural WEC 135lbs. champion Eddie Wineland (17-6-1).
At today’s UFC 126: Silva vs. Belfort pre-fight press conference, UFC President Dana White announced that the preliminary card bout between the highly touted “Kid” Norifumi Yamamoto (15-2-1) and “Mighty Mouse” Demetrious Johnson (10-1) will stream live on Facebook this Saturday night.
MMA fans have anticipated the UFC debut of Yamamoto for quite some time, and will get their wish this Saturday night. “Kid” Yamamoto is a Japanese mixed martial artist and kickboxer that has quickly gained popularity in the Shooto organization largely due to his aggressive style, well rounded skill set, and often controversial character. He also is a PRIDE and K-1 veteran, for the latter of which he holds the record for the fastest knockout in the organization’s Hero’s history with a four second flying knee KO over Kazuyuki Miyata (7-6) in 2006. Throughout his career, “Kid” has earned 11 TKO/KO, one submission, and three decision victories. His pair of losses are split between TKO and Split Decision, respectively. The southpaw Yamamoto fought as a lightweight to start his career in 2001 and descended the divisions to fight at featherweight from 2002-2009 and finally made his home at bantamweight just last year.
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)
Tomorrow night in Fort Hood, Texas, the UFC hosts its second Fight for the Troops event to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. The night’s action includes performances from some of the UFC’s most exciting fighters including the sharp-tongued “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2), top lightweight prospect Evan Dunham (10-1), The Ultimate Fighter 8 alum George Roop (11-5), kickboxer “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7), American Top Team stand-out “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4), “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5), fan favorite “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3), and boxer “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3). Also on the main card is a heavy-duty battle between The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 alum “Meathead” Matt Mitrione (3-0) and King of the Cage veteran “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4). Mitrione has won all three fights in his short UFC career starting with a knockout over fellow TUF 10 competitor “Big Baby” Marcus Jones (4-2), then deflating the hot air from “Kimbo Slice” Kevin Ferguson (4-2) then Joey Beltran at UFC 119. Tim Hague has fought four times under the UFC banner going 1-3 with his lone win coming over Pat Barry and his three losses coming by the hands of Joey Beltran, Todd Duffee (5-1) and Chris Tuchscherer (16-3). The bout is an important crossroads for both men, as a loss would likely cost Hague his place in the UFC and a win would send Mitrione into the fringes of the title picture.
For all the men and women in uniform serving and fighting each day to protect Americans’ lives and freedom, it seems fitting at the very least that the UFC presents a second installment of Fight for the Troops as a way of saying “thank you”. This Saturday night from Fort Hood, Texas, UFC Fight for the Troops 2 aims to do just that and show both American and worldwide audiences just how grateful citizens are for the troops’ service. Before the card’s main event featuring the explosive “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) versus Jiu-Jitsu wizard Evan Dunham (10-1), undefeated The Ultimate Fighter 10 alum Matt Mitrione (3-0) competes against “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4) in the co-main event, former WEC featherweights George Roop (11-5) and “The Machine” Mark Hominick (18-7) battle it out as a supporting event, and proceeding American Top Team stand-out “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4) taking on “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5), two of the heavyweight division’s heavy-limbed strikers are set to take the stage at Fort Hood for a stand-up war. On one end of the Octagon will stand the energetically animated yet equally lethal kickboxer in “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3). The opposite side will bear a former King of the Cage contender and concrete-handed “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3). With a majority of both fighters’ bouts ending in a (T)KO, the troops returning back home are promised a fight nothing short of memorable.
This Saturday night the UFC presents their second edition of Fight for the Troops out of Fort Hood, Texas. The card may lack the typical plethora of mainstream contenders, but don’t fall into the trap of thinking that just because names such as “Rampage” Quinton Jackson (29-8) or “Rush” Georges St. Pierre (21-2) are not on the card that this is a lackluster event. UFC Fight for the Troops 2 presents a who’s who of fighters ready to take their game to the next level. In the main event the Greg Jackson protege “The Young Assassin” Melvin Guillard (25-8-2) takes on the rising star of Evan Dunham (10-1). Former NFL star and The Ultimate Fighter Season 10 stand-out Matt Mitrione (3-0) will encounter King of the Cage veteran “The Thrashing Machine” Tim Hague (10-4) and the newly acquired WEC featherweights will make their UFC debut with Mark Hominick (18-7), currently riding a four fight win streak, against another TUF alum in George Roop (11-5) who is returning to the Octagon after a second round head kick knockout of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung (10-3). Two of the UFC’s heavyweight colossuses will encounter in a fan-friendly stand-up war when “Hype or Die” Pat Barry (4-3) meets with “The Mexicutioner” Joey Beltran (10-3), but the honors of kicking the main card go to three-time Submission of the Night winner “Magrinho” Cole Miller (17-4) and three-time Fight of the Night winner “Handsome” Matt Wiman (12-5). These two not only will be given the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of America’s servicemen and women at Fort Hood, Texas, they will set the bar for the night to follow.
Looks like Strikeforce’s December 4 “Henderson vs. Babalu” card might be making a comeback after all.
What promised to be the organization’s biggest event of the year was nearly reduced to shambles just last week after three of its biggest fan-drawing bouts, two of which were on the main card, were forcibly scrapped due to fighter injuries. The event’s deterioration began last Wednesday when 48-year-old former NFL great Herschel Walker (1-0) withdrew from his match against one-time WEC veteran Scott Carson (4-1) after sustaining a deep cut under his left eye during training. Then, that same day, welterweight Jesse Finney (6-1) dropped out of his main card fight with UFC veteran “Hands of Steel” Scott Smith (16-7), also due to an eye injury, for which he required immediate surgery. Just three days later one of the card’s biggest draws – “The Python” Valentijn Overeem (26-21) – also helped lighten the card’s load by pulling out of his fight with former Elite XC Heavyweight Champion “Bigfoot” Antonio Silva (13-2) after suffering an elbow injury. Strikeforce: Henderson vs. Babalu suddenly was reduced in size by one-third, and the change in line-up left the promotion scrambling to find comparable replacements on short notice. But all is not lost.
Bellator’s season-ending fight takes place in Hollywood, Florida at the Seminole Hard Rock Casino with two world title fights to cap off the night. The first title fight of the evening is to crown the Bellator 115lb. Women’s Championship, when the world’s top pound-for-pound female fighter “Mega Megu” Megumi Fujii (22-0) squares off against knockout artist “Warrior Princess” Zoila Frausto (9-1). Fujii and Frausto are the cream of the crop of the Season Three Women’s Tournament, having torn through fellow competitors Jessica Pene (7-1), Lisa Ward (14-4), Aisling Daly (5-1), Carla Esparza (3-1), “Jag” Jessica Aguilar (9-4), and Lynn Alvarez (5-2), respectively. Bellator 34′s main event sees the multiple-time Cuban National Judo Champion and Bellator Middleweight Champion “Shango” Hector Lombard (27-2) defend his belt against Season Two Middleweight Tournament winner “The Storm” Alexander Shlemenko (29-3) in a bout that will certainly end with a knockout. Shlemenko claims the belt will belong to the “true striker”, and that he will return to his homeland of Russia with the belt after knocking out the champion. Lombard promises to finish his opponent quickly and keep the belt tightly clinched around his waist. The champion, who tipped the scales at 183.25lbs of solid muscle, broke out of his usual silence when he spoke out at the weigh-ins. “Shango” said he plans on ending the fight with a submission, whether by strikes or his Judo-based grappling, leaving his fans and others to speculate until he takes on “The Storm” tonight in defense of his beloved belt.