Tuesday, December 23, 2008

MMA Junkie News

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Event Organizers: UFC | WEC | Affliction | EliteXC | Adrenaline MMA | Strikeforce

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Anderson Silva vs. Thales Leites likely for April date in Montreal

While speculation has placed UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in a number of matchups in both the middleweight and light-heavyweight division, it appears likely that "The Spider" will be defending his title at an as-yet-unannounced date in April.

Sources close to the bout have indicated to MMAjunkie.com that Silva and fellow Brazilian Thales Leites have verbally agreed to the contest. Bout agreements have yet to be signed.

While an official date and venue for the event have yet to be announced, the sources indicated that the UFC is eyeing a return to Montreal for the card.

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Three more bouts official for "WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone"

The WEC today announced three additional bouts for January's "WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone" on their official website.

Edgar Garcia vs. Hiromitsu Miura, Anthony Njokuani vs. Ed Ratcliff, and Frank Gomez vs. Scott Jorgensen were all added to the card.

"WEC 38: Varner vs. Cerrone," which also features a featherweight bout between Urijah Faber and Jens Pulver is scheduled for Jan. 25 at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego, Calif. The main card will air live on Versus.

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MMA Regional Fight Scene: Dec. 22 edition

MMAjunkie.com and HDNet's "Inside MMA" again return with our latest installment of "MMA Regional Fight Scene," which takes us across the globe for a look at top MMA fights from shows big and small.

This week Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten, along with panelists Andrei Arlovski, Frank Shamrock and Gilbert Melendez, take us across the U.S. for a wide variety of highlights in three different organizations.

King of the Cage, Mayhem Promotions and the North American Allied Fighting Series were all featured in this week's edition.

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UFC 94 bout order confirmed, Fitch vs. Gono on preliminary card

The UFC today released the bout order for "UFC 94: St. Pierre vs. Penn II," scheduled for Jan. 31 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

The card will feature an unprecedented main event between two current UFC champions when Georges St. Pierre meets B.J. Penn in a highly anticipated rematch of their 2006 meeting.

In a bit of surprise, a welterweight clash between former No. 1 contender Jon Fitch and the always dangerous Akihiro Gono has been relegated to the evening's preliminary card.

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Bob Sapp to fight anime character in Japan on New Year's Eve

In one of the strangest bout announcements in recent memory, K-1 has announced that the larger-than-life Bob Sapp has agreed to face Japanese anime character Kinniku Mantaro.

Or rather Japanese wrestling standout Akihito Tanaka wearing a Kinniku Mantaro mask.

The bout will take place at the year-ending FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 event at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

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Matt Hamill: Raw (Part 2 of 4)

A list of MMA's most fascinating people wouldn't be complete without the addition of UFC light heavyweight Matt Hamill.

In the second of a four-part series leading up to a UFC 92 bout with Reese Andy, MMAjunkie.com's Jon Lane delves into the world of Hamill, the UFC's first-ever deaf fighter. While the surface has been scratched, Lane takes us deep into Hamill's world and explains how it all comes together - in MMA and in life.

MMAjunkie.com is pleased to present Part II of our new series, "Matt Hamill: Raw."

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Jackson ends year on the brink with must-win fight against old nemesis

One fight can change plenty.

For Quinton Jackson, one fight changed everything.

A year ago, Jackson was the toast of the MMA world. The charismatic Memphis native was on a three-fight unbeaten streak in the UFC and had KO'd the legendary Chuck Liddell for the light heavyweight title. The outspoken, born-again Christian was a larger-than-life African-American ruling the UFC's marquee division in a sport dominated by white fighters.

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Brian Bowles vs. Miguel Torres likely for WEC in April

WEC bantamweight champion Miguel Torres appears likely to put his WEC bantamweight title on the line for the third time in April.

MMAjunkie.com has learned that Torres and undefeated challenger Brian Bowles have verbally agreed to meet in April in as-yet-unannounced WEC event likely headed to Chicago.

Contracts have not yet been signed by either fighter, but multiple sources close to the event indicated that both fighters have agreed to the bout.

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The Sunday Junkie: Dec. 21 edition

With a rare weekend without a major MMA event, our readers' attentions turned to a wide variety of subjects.

Next week's UFC 92, "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" and FEG FieLDS Dynamite!! 2008 were all topics of discussion. But the state of striking skills in MMA, the U.K.'s support of their fighters, how tattoos affect performance, and how to find a proper training academy were all addressed.

In our latest installment of The Sunday Junkie, MMAjunkie.com readers discuss an astounding variety topics from around the world of mixed martial arts.

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Mike Patt vs. Brandon Vera set for UFC 96 in Ohio

While there have been no officially announced bouts by the organization, light-heavyweights Mike Patt and Brandon Vera have verbally agreed to meet at UFC 96.

Sam Caplan of Fiveouncesofpain.com first reported the likelihood of the bout earlier today, and MMAjunkie.com was able to confirm the agreements with multiple sources close to the bout.

UFC 96 is scheduled for March 7 at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

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Tito Ortiz looking for further role with Affliction?

When free agent light-heavyweight Tito Ortiz was announced as a special guest at Affliction's recent press conference, rumors began to swirl that "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" would be fighting for the upstart organization.

Those rumors were immediately halted when Ortiz was introduced as a broadcaster, and not a fighter, for the Jan. 24 "Day of Reckoning."

But Ortiz later hinted to MMAjunkie.com that the organization may still be in the running for his services as a fighter.

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Mike Swick: Feud with Goulet over in just 33 seconds

UFC welterweight Mike Swick and Canadian slugger Jonathan Goulet had been on a collision course for almost 18 months before they met earlier this month at the UFC's "Fight for the Troops."

But as Swick recently told TAGG Radio, the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com, his 33-second destruction of Goulet has left that controversy in the past.

"He was a formidable opponent, and we had a history," Goulet said. "He definitely is a tough guy. It just worked out good for me that night."

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Affliction unwilling to speculate on 2009 schedule

Depending on who's talking, Affliction Entertainment's plan for 2009 could include anywhere from one to 16 events.

But after waiting six months from their debut show to promote the Jan. 24 "Day of Reckoning" in Anaheim, Calif., Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio said the organization's schedule for next year is still undecided.

"Right now I like to just look at each event as it comes," Atencio told MMAjunkie.com. "I'll get past this one and I'll look towards the next."

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Refocused at 170 pounds, Phil Baroni seeks return to UFC

Never one to shy away from putting on a show, the always-entertaining Phil Baroni is seeking a return to the biggest stage in MMA.

"I'm hoping (to return to) the UFC," Baroni recently told TAGG Radio, the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com. "That's where I'd like to fight. That's the biggest show right now. That's where you want to be if you're fighting in America right now. That's where I want to fight."

And while "The New York Bad Ass" left the UFC in 2005 on a four-fight losing streak, the 32-year-old believes this time would be a different story.

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Legendary Nogueira far from finished

If there's a secret regarding the legendary durability of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, it might be his vivid memory.

The former PRIDE heavyweight champion, who has fought some of the biggest and baddest men in the sport in 37 professional fights, has never been stopped, even though he's spent plenty of time getting pounded and been in situations often that would have stopped virtually all competitors.

Frank Mir, who challenges Nogueira on Dec. 27 at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for the Ultimate Fighting Championship interim heavyweight title, refers to him as being like a cockroach that can't be killed.

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Mike Brown agrees to face Leonard Garcia in first WEC title defense

New WEC featherweight champion Mike Brown and top contender Leonard Garcia have verbally agreed to meet on as-yet-unannounced card in March.

Fellow 145-pound contender Wagnney Fabiano first mentioned an announcement of the rumored bout in an interview with the Brazilian website Tatame.com, and MMAjunkie.com has since been able to confirm the agreement with multiple sources close to the bout.

An exact date and location has yet to be determined, but the sources indicated that Brown's earlier claims to MMAjunkie.com of a likely Florida locale in March still appeared accurate. Bout agreements are expected to be signed by both fighters in the near future.

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Jake Rosholt vs. Alessio Sakara set for UFC Fight Night 17

Former collegiate wrestling champion and WEC veteran Jake Rosholt is set to make his debut against American Top Team's Alessio Sakara at February's "UFC Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs. Franca."

Our friends at Fiveouncesofpain were the first to report the possibility of the bout, and MMAjunkie.com has confirmed with multiple sources close to the bout that both camps have agreed to the fight and bout agreements are forthcoming.

"UFC Fight Night 17: Lauzon vs. Franca" takes palce Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

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Wilson Gouveia vs. Nate Marquardt likely for UFC 95

As the card for the UFC's return to London is quickly filling out, a middleweight showdown between Wilson Gouveia and Nate Marquardt appears likely as the latest addition to the event.

MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to the fight that both parties have accepted the fight, though bout agreements have yet to be signed.

UFC 95 takes place on Feb. 21 at the O2 Arena in London.

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Rashad Evans prepared for "TUF" battle with Forrest Griffin

When Forrest Griffin shocked Quinton "Rampage" Jackson in July and claimed the UFC's light-heavyweight title, many pointed to Griffin's success as validation for the the viability of "The Ultimate Fighter" as a means to find new talent for the organization.

And while many pointed to the most recent season of the program as proof that the show had outlived its need, undefeated Rashad Evans believes his upcoming bout with Griffin proves the remaining value of the series.

"If you get the best talent out there then these fighters are going to be the fighters of the future," Evans said in a recent UFC 92 conference call. "We're going to be the Chuck Liddells and the Randy Coutures and those guys."

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Lindland: "I'm sure Belfort will be prepared" for January bout

Despite being out of the UFC for over three years, top-ranked middleweight Matt Lindland has continued to face an impressive roster of big-name opponents.

That won't change at January's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning," as the 38-year-old will be taking on the heavy handed Vitor Belfort.

And while Belfort has gone through his share of struggles through the years, Lindland recently told MMAjunkie.com that he believes "The Phenom" will be in peak form on Jan. 24 in Anaheim, Calif.

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"Inside MMA" poll results: Whom should Frank Shamrock fight next?

It's been nearly nine months since Frank Shamrock broke his arm and lost his Strikeforce world middleweight championship belt to Cung Le in one of the year's most anticipated bouts.

But which fighters do fans want Shamorck to meet once he returns to competition?

We posed the question in our latest weekly poll, and perhaps surprisingly, Le didn't even rank in the top two when the results were revealed during tonight's episode of "Inside MMA."

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Paul Taylor out, Neil Grove, Stefan Struve in at UFC 95

When tickets went on sale for the Feb. 21 UFC 95 event in London, not one bout had been announced for the card. Now nine weeks away, the evening's schedule is quickly filling out.

The U.K.-based Fighters Only magazine is reporting the addition of UFC-newcomer heavyweights Neil Grove and Stefan Struve to the festivities at the O2 Arena.

A separate report from the magazine also states that five-time UFC veteran Paul Taylor will not be physically ready in time to participate in the event.

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Shannon Gugerty vs. Jeff Lawson added to UFC 95

A lightweight fight between Shannon Gugerty and British product Jeff Lawson has been added to UFC 95 in London.

MMAjunkie.com today confirmed the Feb. 21 bout with Gugerty.

"It's going to be a great fight," Gugerty said. "I'm definitely looking to showcase a lot of stuff that I haven't really shown yet in the UFC. I'm excited."

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Diego Sanchez set to face Joe Stevenson in UFC 95 co-main event

In what will be his first bout in the 155-pound division, UFC veteran Diego Sanchez has agreed to face fellow "The Ultimate Fighter" winner Joe Stevenson.

Rumors of the UFC 95 bout began to surface earlier today, and MMAjunkie.com has learned from sources close to Sanchez that the 26-year-old has signed a bout agreement for the Feb. 21 fight at the O2 Arena in London.

Despite additional reports that the bout would serve as the night's main event, the sources indicated that the fight is currently being tagged as a co-main event for the card.

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Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal returns at Sengoku no Ran 2009

Undefeated light-heavyweight prospect Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal will return to action for the third time in less than four months at Sengoku no Ran 2009 on Jan. 4.

World Victory Road recently announced Lawal's participation, along with two additional bouts, on their official website.

The former collegiate wrestling champion will meet K-1, DEEP and Pancrase veteran Yukiya Naito.

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Belfort, Sokoudjou indicate pro boxing bouts possible

The oft-discussed partnership between Affliction Entertainment and Golden Boy Promotions may not be such a bad thing after all.

"Affliction: Day of Reckoning" fighters Vitor Belfort and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou recently said they hope to utilize the partnership between the two companies to fulfill their professional boxing aspirations.

"I would like to fight boxing professionally," Belfort said. "That's going to be an opportunity for me. Hopefully Golden Boy can put me to start boxing. It would be a dream for me."

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UFC welterweight Mike Swick on today's TAGG Radio

UFC welterweight Mike Swick (13-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC will be a guest on today's edition of TAGG Radio.

Swick is currently riding a three-fight win streak since dropping to 170 pounds. The 29-year-old lived up to his moniker at the UFC's recent "Fight for the Troops" with a "Quick" knockout of Canadian brawler Jonathan Goulet. Swick will discuss that performance, his involvement with the discussions between the UFC and his training team at AKA, his desire to fight welterweight contender Thiago Alves, and his recent performance in the World Series of Poker.

TAGG Radio, the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com, streams Monday-Friday at noon EST (9 a.m. PST) at www.taggradio.com.

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Josh Barnett unfazed by Gilbert Yvel's past antics

When Affliction Entertainment first announced Gilbert Yvel's U.S. debut at "Day of Reckoning" on Jan. 24, many MMA pundits openly questioned whether he would even be approved by the California State Athletic Commission.

With Affliction vice president Tom Atencio claiming that hurdle has been cleared, the attention now turns to opponent Josh Barnett and his opinion of Yvel's bad-boy antics.

"I don't care one way or the another," Barnett told MMAjunkie.com. "I've been in situations where street fights can occur or a fight in the ring. When it comes right down to it, none of that bothers me or scares me one bit. It's life."

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"The Sunday Junkie" deadline reminder

Submissions for the upcoming edition of "The Sunday Junkie" are due Sunday.

Got UFC 92 on your mind? What about "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" and new color commentator Tito Ortiz? WEC bantamweight Will Ribeiro's recent motorcycle accident? Or perhaps the untimely death of troubled fighter Justin Levens? All topics are welcome.

Send your submission of no more than 150 words with your full name (or MMAjunkie.com screen name) and hometown to sundayjunkie AT mmajunkie.com by Sunday at 10 a.m. ET. The best ones will be published in the upcoming edition of "The Sunday Junkie." For sample entries, check out our Dec. 14 edition.

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Matt Hamill: Raw (Part 1 of 4)

A list of MMA's most fascinating people wouldn't be complete without the addition of UFC light heavyweight Matt Hamill.

In the first of a four-part series leading up to a UFC 92 bout with Reese Andy, MMAjunkie.com's Jon Lane delves into the world of Hamill, the UFC's first-ever deaf fighter. While the surface has been scratched, Lane takes us deep into Hamill's world and explains how it all comes together - in MMA and in life.

MMAjunkie.com is pleased to present Part I of our new series, "Matt Hamill: Raw."

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Affliction's Tom Atencio unfazed by competition from UFC, WEC, Golden Boy

Despite a crammed month of combat-sports offerings from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting and even partner Golden Boy Productions, Tom Atencio believes January's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" event is poised for success.

In fact, Atencio, Affliction's Vice President, thinks the show could outdo its debut event "Banned," which took place in July and drew 14,832 spectators with more than 100,000 pay-per-view buys.

"I think the WEC and the UFC, they're going to do what they need to do to make themselves successful to block us in every way, shape and form," Atencio said.

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"Inside MMA" preview: Arlovski says Emelianenko is "just human"

On this week's edition of "Inside MMA" on HDNet, hosts Kenny Rice and Bas Rutten propose the following question: How do you go about beating a seemingly unbeatable fighter such as Fedor Emelianenko?

The show debuts Friday at 9:30 p.m. ET, but we have a sneak peak of the conversation.

A star-studded panel of Frank Shamrock, Gilbert Melendez and Emelianenko's upcoming opponent, Andrei Arlovski, all weigh in.

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Lightweights Rich Clementi and Gleison Tibau meet at UFC Fight Night 17

After his six-fight win streak was snapped with a unanimous-decision loss to Gray Maynard at UFC 90, Rich Clementi (32-13-1 MMA, 5-4 UFC) looks to return to the win column when he meets fellow lightweight Gleison Tibau (15-6 MMA, 3-3 UFC) at UFC Fight Night 17.

The event takes place Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

Spike TV will broadcast a live two-hour main card, but the Clementi-Tibau fight takes place on the night's un-aired preliminary card.

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UFC newcomer Denis Stojnic to face Cain Velasquez at UFC Fight Night 17

Bosnia and Herzegovina-based UFC newcomer Denis Stojnic (5-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC) will meet highly regarded UFC heavyweight prospect Cain Velasquez (4-0 MMA, 2-0 UFC) in February at UFC Fight Night 17.

The event takes place Feb. 7 at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa, Fla.

An official from Spike TV, which airs the night's main card, today confirmed with MMAjunkie.com the Stojnic-Velasquez fight will be part of the broadcast.

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"The Ultimate Fighter 8" cast member Tom Lawlor plans drop to middleweight

"The Ultimate Fighter: Team Nogueira vs. Team Mir" cast member Tom Lawlor (5-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), who defeated Ryan Lopez in a preliminary bout before losing to eventual show winner Ryan Bader in the show's quarterfinals, is planning to drop a weight class and compete in the UFC's middleweight division.

Lawlor scored a unanimous-decision victory over Kyle Kingsbury on the undercard of the show's Dec. 13 live finale.

With the victory, Lawlor has been assured at least one additional fight in the UFC. A loss likely would have meant the end of his UFC career.

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