UFC 131 Press Conference Highlights

Thursday, June 9, 2011

By FCF Staff

Vancouver’s Jack Poole Plaza hosted the pre-fight press conference for this Saturday’s UFC 131 event, which will be hosted by the city’s Rogers Centre. The card will be headlined by a bout between heavyweight contenders Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin.

Here are some of today's highlights:

UFC President Dana White is not concerned about the fact that Saturday’s event is not sold out yet, in stark contrast to the quick sell out that occurred for the promotion’s Vancouver debut last year. White insisted that the UFC will return to the Olympic City once again.

White said they’re “working on” the promotion’s first event in China, after opening an office in Beijing recently.

Kenny Florian said moving his camp to the renowned Tri Star Gym in Montreal, home of welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre and trainer Firas Zihabi is one of “the best decisions” he’s made.

Shane Carwin conceded that Junior dos Santos has “great boxing” and is one of the world’s top heavyweights.

White would not confirm recent reports that the UFC is looking to acquire a controlling interest in Comcast’s G4 cable network, before admitting that they are “talking to everyone” as the promotion’s current broadcasting deal with Spike winds down.

Dos Santos says he is still happy that he decided to fight at UFC 131 rather than wait for current champion Cain Velasquez to recover from shoulder surgery.

White was quick to compliment Yves Edwards when asked if he’s glad that the lightweight veteran is back in the UFC, adding that he expects the Edwards, Sam Stout fight to be a “war.”

Diego Nunes said Saturday’s bout with Florian “is a dream come true,” before White added that if Nunes indeed beats Florian it will be a “life changing” fight.

White acknowledged that the UFC has plans to promote an event in Sweden, saying that they had hoped to have a card there “soon.”

When asked if the winner of Strikeforce’s Heavyweight Grand-Prix could wind up facing one of the UFC’s top ranked heavyweights , White said he had “no clue” if it such a cross promotional match-up was possible at this juncture.

Carwin said he wishes former champion Brock Lesnar all the best as he recovers from the recent surgery that was required to address another bout of diverticulitis.

Florian said his weight cut to 145lbs. has been going “smoothly” and has been easier than he originally anticipated. 

Nunes stated he would be willing to fight his friend and current featherweight champion Jose Aldo, if the opportunity arises.
READ MORE - UFC 131 Press Conference Highlights

MFC 30 “Up Close & Personal” Weigh-In Results

By FCF Staff

The Maximum Fighting Championship held the official weigh-ins this afternoon in preparation for the promotion’s thirtieth event tomorrow night in Edmonton, Alberta. MFC 30, “Up Close and Personal”, will be hosted by the city’s Mayfield Conference Centre.

The card will feature two main events with UFC vets, as lightweight Drew Fickett will meet Brian Cobb and Marcus Davis (pictured) will battle welterweight Pete Spratt.

Here are the official weigh-in results for MFC 30, which will be broadcast live on HDNet.

Co-Main Event - Lightweight
Brian Cobb - 155.4
Drew Fickett - 155.5

Co-Main Event - Welterweight
Pete Spratt - 170.6
Marcus Davis - 170.1

Catchweight - 165 lbs
Thomas Denny - 163.5
Sheldon Westcott - 165.8

Jamie Toney - 168.4
Dhiego Lima - 170.6

Robert Washington - 159.6*
Curtis Demarce - 155.6

Andreas Spang - 185.8
Cody Krahn -

Scott Cleve - 154.5
Mukai Maromo - 155.1

Jevon Marshall - 156.1
Garrett Nybakken - 154.5

*Robert Washington fails to make weight and loses 20% of his purse

READ MORE - MFC 30 “Up Close & Personal” Weigh-In Results

Video: "KJ Noons Uncaged" Episode 2

By FCF Staff

“KJ Noons Uncaged” is a video series that documents the fighter’s efforts to prepare for his upcoming bout with Jorge Masvidal, June 18th, in Dallas, Texas. Episode two, below, includes Noons training with Joe Duarte, Saul Malindo, and Rich Powers, as well as the experienced boxer sparring at the Fortune Gym in Los Angeles.

READ MORE - Video: "KJ Noons Uncaged" Episode 2

Video: M-1 Challenge XXVI Pat Bennett Diary Pt.1

By FCF Staff

Below is the first episode in an ongoing diary series from Pat Bennett, who will challenge M-1 Global heavyweight champion Guram Gugenishvili on July 8th.

The  6’2, 240lb. plus Bennett, who is a member of New York State’s Team Bombsquad, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Alexander Volkov in December. FCF also spoke with Bennett about his upcoming bout last month.

READ MORE - Video: M-1 Challenge XXVI Pat Bennett Diary Pt.1

Report: UFC in Talks to Acquire Controlling Interest of G4 Network

By FCF Staff

Talk of an Ultimate Fighting Championship channel is on the rise, as both the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are reporting that the MMA promotion is in talks with Comcast to acquire a controlling interest of the company’s G4 gaming network. According to the report from the New York Times, sources have informed the media outlet that the UFC is considering taking a 60% or more ownership stake in the G4 channel.

The timing of the reports is intriguing, as the UFC and its current partner Spike TV, will conclude a six year broadcasting arrangement at the end of the year. The New York Times is reporting that negotiations between the two companies broke down after the UFC allegedly asked for a $325 million annual broadcasting fee.

While the UFC and Spike have shared numerous broadcasting successes, the television ratings for the recently concluded 13th season of “The Ultimate Fighter” were lower than expected.

The Times report furthers that Spike executives are believed to be exploring other alternatives for MMA content, including Bellator FC bouts, which currently air on MTV 2. Both Spike and MTV 2 are owned by Viacom.

G4’s current parent company, Comcast, also controls the NBC and Versus Networks, the latter of which also has a broadcasting deal with the UFC. Due to its emphasis on video games, the reportedly struggling G4 network targets the same male18-34 year-old demographic as Spike.

UFC President Dana White has publicly stated in the past that the promotion is interested in creating its own cable network. 

READ MORE - Report: UFC in Talks to Acquire Controlling Interest of G4 Network

Luke Rockhold Surprised but Excited to be Challenging “Jacare” Souza

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

By Kelsey Mowatt

For a couple of years now, Luke Rockhold has been working his way up the Strikeforce middleweight rankings, affirming his status as one the promotion’s top prospects by winning six straight fights. While the American Kickboxing Academy fighter’s success has certainly turned heads throughout the sport, injuries have prevented Rockhold from competing since February, 2010, when he stopped Paul Bradley in the first round. Despite the extended layoff, however, Strikeforce has turned to the 26 year-old-fighter to have him challenge middleweight champion Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in September. The recent announcement may have surprised some, including Rockhold, but that shouldn’t diminish the importance of the fight. (Pictured: Rockhold hitting Paul Bradley)

“I’m definitely surprised but it was a glancing thought,” Rockhold told FCF while discussing his upcoming title shot. “It bounced through my head once and then I think it went straight out. I was thinking about the fact that all of the contenders have really beaten themselves out. “Mayhem” (Miller) has already gone to the UFC, Tim Kennedy lost, Robbie (Lawler) just lost; there wasn’t that many contenders and a lot of them lost. So, I was really the only one even though I was coming off a layoff. I didn’t really think it was a possibility but I was playing around with it in my head a little bit.”

There’s no question that the upcoming bout will be the biggest of Rockhold’s career to date, and with the recent Zuffa acquisition of Strikeforce, the opportunities that come with being a Strikeforce champion have likely never been greater.

“This could lead into a lot of big things,” said Rockhold while discussing the magnitude of his bout with “Jacare.” “We don’t really know what’s going to come from all of this so it means a lot, especially if at some point Strikeforce happens to close down...To jump into the UFC with the belt would mean a lot for me.”

“I’m just focused on beating Jacare,” Rockhold added. “I’ve been with Strikeforce for a while; I’ve always dreamed about being a champion and I always dreamed that I would be. So my dream is finally coming true and this is what I want. I’m really excited.”

Of course, another key reason Rockold’s next fight is of the utmost importance, is due to the fact he will be facing one of the world’s top middleweights in Souza. Since the renowned jiu-jitsu competitor has arrived in Strikeforce, Souza has defeated Matt Lindland, Joey Villasenor, Tim Kennedy and Robbie Lawler.

“I’ve been watching Jacare for so long,” Rockhold said. “I follow jiu-jitsu and I competed in jiu-jitsu for years. I followed Jacare way before he started fighting. I know him in and out and I know everything about him. He’s definitely a very dangerous grappler; he’s real strong, real explosive.”

“He’s definitely a real technical guy, but I think he’s gotten away in some of his fights in the past with his athleticism, his control and strength. I think he tends to use that a lot but I think in this fight that’s going to be a problem for him because I can match a lot of those attributes.”

Rockhold was scheduled to face Matt Lindland last October, but was forced to withdraw after injuring his shoulder. According to the AKA fighter, however, the injury will not play a factor in the upcoming title fight.

“It’s almost 100% but it’s not quite there,” said Rockhold. “With AC (acromioclavicular) separations it’s tough. I never had any surgery. I saw the doctor and had a series of cortisone shots to clear out the inflammation; initiate the healing process. I re-injured it, and had to go through it all again, but I feel near 100% finally...This last month it’s really turned the corner finally.”

READ MORE - Luke Rockhold Surprised but Excited to be Challenging “Jacare” Souza

Update: Commission Cleared Gina Carano to Fight June 18TH

By FCF Staff

Yesterday Strikeforce and Gina Carano announced that the fighter would not face Sarah D’Alelio as scheduled June 18th, due to the fact that she had not received “medical clearance” to compete. According to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, however, the bout’s postponement had nothing to do with Carano failing to meet any of its requirements.

Susan Stanford, a public information officer for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, confirmed to FCF today that Carano was cleared by the institution to fight June 18th and that the fighter passed all requirements including those that are medical.

No new information regarding Carano’s condition has been released from Strikeforce or Zuffa. As of a couple of weeks ago, Carano still had yet to turn in her bout agreement. Her agent, Scott Karp, informed FCF she would be doing so shortly.

Carano released the following statement yesterday:

“I’m certainly disappointed not to be fighting on June 18th. I’d like to thank Greg Jackson and Team Jackson for such an amazing camp. I hope this is only a brief setback.”

The 7-1 fighter hasn’t competed since August, 2009, when Carano was stopped by current Strikeforce 145lb. women’s champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos.

READ MORE - Update: Commission Cleared Gina Carano to Fight June 18TH

UFC 131 Weigh-Ins Moved Due to Vancouver Canuck’s Playoff Run

By FCF Staff

The Ultimate Fighting Championship has announced that the official UFC 131 weigh-ins, scheduled for Friday at 2:00PM PST, will no longer take place at Vancouver’s Roger Centre. According to the promotion’s official Twitter account the event has been moved to the city’s Jack Poole Plaza, the location of the 2010 Olympic Cauldron.

The Plaza is located beside the Vancouver Convention Centre (pictured) in the city’s downtown, northern waterfront.

The move was made due to the fact that the city’s National Hockey League team, the Vancouver Canucks, will play the Boston Bruins Friday at Rogers Centre in game five of the Stanley Cup Finals.

Friday’s weigh-ins are open to the public. UFC 131 will feature a heavyweight bout between contender Junior dos Santos and Shane Carwin in the main event. Rogers Centre will host the event. 

photo credit Greg Baker / Wikimedia
READ MORE - UFC 131 Weigh-Ins Moved Due to Vancouver Canuck’s Playoff Run

June 18th Bout Between Gina Carano and Sarah D’ Alelio Postponed

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

By FCF Staff

Strikeforce has announced that Gina Carano did not receive medical clearance to fight Sarah D’Alelio at the promotion’s upcoming June 18th event in Dallas, Texas. As a result the bout has been swiped from the card. No details regarding why Carano was not cleared were given.(Pictured: Carano (right) trying to kick "Cyborg" Santos)

The announcement included the following statement from Carano:

“I’m certainly disappointed not to be fighting on June 18th. I’d like to thank Greg Jackson and Team Jackson for such an amazing camp. I hope this is only a brief setback.”

Carano has not competed in MMA since she was stopped by reigning 145lb. women’s champion Cristiane “Cyborg” Santos in August, 2009. The defeat was Carano’s first and left her pro record at 7-1.

Strikeforce has confirmed that the lightweight bout between KJ Noons and Jorge Masvidal has been moved to the main card, which will be broadcast on Showtime.

The June 18th event will feature two quarterfinal bouts in Strikeforce’s ongoing heavyweight grand-prix as Alistair Overeem will take on Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers will face Josh Barnett.

READ MORE - June 18th Bout Between Gina Carano and Sarah D’ Alelio Postponed

After Latest Win, Patrick Cote Free Agent Once Again

By FCF Staff

Former UFC middleweight contender Patrick Cote is once again a free agent, following his unanimous decision win over Todd Brown at Ringside MMA 11 Saturday night. The 31 year-old-fighter confirmed his contractual status to FCF today.

“I dont know yet; have to talk to my manager,” Cote said when asked about his immediate future and whether or not he’s had any recent contact with the UFC. “I’m a free agent now but we have a lot of option.”

Cote has now won back-to-back fights since he was let go by the UFC following a decision loss to Tom Lawlor last October. This latest win comes less than two months removed from Cote’s UD win over Kalib Starnes, which took place on April 9th at Ringside MMA 10.

“I’m happy,” said Cote when asked to evaluate his 15th professional win. “I gave a solid and dominant performance. I wanted to finish it for sure but I showed a lot of new skills in this fight.”

Cote returned to action in 2010 after missing all of 2009 due to a series of knee injuries, one of which came in his loss to current UFC Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva in October, 2008. The Quebec fighter has gone 2-2 since his return, with his other loss during that stretch coming against Alan Belcher at UFC 113 last May.

READ MORE - After Latest Win, Patrick Cote Free Agent Once Again

Bellator Headed to Ontario for July 23rd Card; Warren vs. Freire Headlines

By FCF Staff

Bellator Fighting Championships is the latest organization to announce it will be heading to Ontario, Canada to host an event, as it has confirmed that Bellator 47 will take place July 23rd at the Casino Rama, in Rama.  

“MMA is the hottest sport in Ontario right now and we’re thrilled to be able to partner with this world leader to bring Ontario fans their first taste of Bellator action,” said Jeff Craik, Vice President of Marketing, Casino Rama in the official announcement. “This is going to be one of the hottest tickets of the summer and fans can bet on seeing exactly this caliber of MMA event from Casino Rama several times a year.”

The card will be headlined by a featherweight bout between champion Joe Warren and recent season 4 tourney winner, Patricio “Pitbull” Freire (pictured above on the left). The title fight will be a rematch, as Warren scored a split decision win over the Team Nogueira fighter last June.

Bellator 47 will also feature the semi-finals of the promotion’s summer series featherweight tourney. Confirmed competitors for the upcoming tournament include Ronnie Mann, Marlon Sandro, Nazareno Malegarie and Bellator Season 2 Lightweight Tournament Winner Pat Curran.

The July 23rd event will be broadcast live on MTV 2.

READ MORE - Bellator Headed to Ontario for July 23rd Card; Warren vs. Freire Headlines

Rick Story Says He Had “No Hesitations” Accepting Bout with Nate Marquardt

By Kelsey Mowatt, photo courtesy Brave Legion

26 year-old Rick Story doesn’t have time to waste in his quest for a shot at the UFC welterweight title. Despite scoring an impressive unanimous decision win over perennial contender Thiago Alves at UFC 130 on May 28th, to entrench his position as one of the division’s fastest rising commodities, Story has elected to throw down with Nate Marquardt on June 26th. As Story sees it, why wait several months for another big name fight when one gets offered up just a few weeks away?

“I had no hesitations,” Story (13-3) told FCF recently, when asked for his initial reaction upon being asked if he would be willing to step in for the injured Anthony Johnson. “Everyone’s been asking me why I’m fighting so soon but when I first started fighting I was fighting every month. I loved it.”

Coming off what is unquestionably the biggest win in his career to date, Story will soon face yet another notable name in Marquardt, who like Alves has been in the title shot mix for some time. Of course, Marquardt made his name in the UFC competing as a middleweight, and it will be interesting to see how the veteran performs cutting down to 170lbs.

 “I think it’s another pretty good opportunity,” said Story while discussing Marquardt, who has almost three times as many fights as him. “I’m on a pretty good streak right now and it is his first weight cut down to 170. He’s a big guy but he’s going to be the same weight as me. At least for the weigh-ins, so, as far as skill he’s an awesome fighter. It’s going to be good when I win.”

While Marquardt’s weight cut will be one of the central back stories to the upcoming fight, it will be interesting to see what strategy each man employs come June 26th. Marquardt has demonstrated his ability to finish fights standing or on the ground on numerous occasions, and could be the most well rounded fighter Story has faced to date.

“He poses a threat everywhere,” Story acknowledged. “He has really good striking. He’s very crafty and he knows how to win rounds; he’s very good at submissions...I think he’s hungry and he’s going to try to make a statement in this fight. I feel like I’m also pretty well rounded though and I think I pose a threat for anyone. It’s going to be a good fight.”

While Story will face a stern test when he faces Marquardt later this month in Pittsburgh, it’s hard not to speculate as to what would come next, if he indeed is able to defeat the accomplished vet. A title shot may not come to pass as a result of a win, but it would certainly position Story within striking distance.

“Well I’m knocking on the door right now for that contention spot,” said Story, who has now won six straight in the Octagon after dropping his UFC debut to John Hathaway in June, 2009. “I think beating a guy like Marquardt coming down from 185, who fought for the title at 85, and I beat Thiago Alves who fought for the title at 170, I think knocking off these guys means I’m knocking on the door.”

Story was clearly offered the Marquardt fight as a result of his win over Alves, who he concedes proved to be an extremely tough challenge.  

“For the first two rounds it went well,” said Story, who controlled much of the action throughout the first two rounds. “The game plan was to go in and get him tired and then start using a lot more stand-up in the third . He came to fight; he was in shape. He hit me a few times that made me want to close the distance, so I didn’t follow the game-plan as much as I would have liked in the third round.”

READ MORE - Rick Story Says He Had “No Hesitations” Accepting Bout with Nate Marquardt

Ringside MMA 11 Results: Patrick Cote Scores UD Win

By FCF Staff

In case you missed it, former UFC middleweight contender Patrick Cote scored a unanimous decision win over Todd Brown this past Saturday at Ringside MMA 11 in Quebec City. With the win, Cote has now gone 2-0 since exiting from the UFC last year, following a UD loss to Tom Lawlor in October.

In another of the card's feature attractions, former National Hockey League player Donald Brashear stopped heavyweight Mathieu Bergeron in the first round.

Here are the complete results for Ringside MMA 11.

190 – Patrick Cote def. Toddy Brown by Decision Unanimous Decision (30-27,30-27,30-27)
135 - Stephane Pelletier def. Dimitri Waardenburg by TKO (Retirement) 5:00 R2,
HW - Donald Brashear def. Mathieu Bergeron by TKO 0:21 R1,
155 – Keven Morin def. David Lafond by Unanimous Decision (29-28,29-28,29-28)
205 – Marcus Hicks def. Yan Pellerin by TKO (Strikes) 3:40 R2,
155 – Dany Laflamme def. Justin Doyon by Unanimous Decision  (30-27,30-27,29-28)
145 – Keven Tremblay def. Maxime L├ęger by Submission (Rear Naked Choke),3:32 R2,
150 – Jerome Martin def. Tommy Cote by Split Decision (29-28,29-28,28-29)
READ MORE - Ringside MMA 11 Results: Patrick Cote Scores UD Win