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  Tuesday - February 20, 2007
"Kid" Robinson to Make UFC Debut on April 7th
By FCF Staff

Ring of Fire promoter and Alvin Robinson's manager, Sven Bean, announced on FCF Radio this week that the up and coming lightweight fighter will make his "big show" debut at UFC 69. The event, which is scheduled for April 7th, in Houston, Texas, at the Toyota Centre, will see Robinson take on another notable rising commodity in Roger Huerta (16-1-1), who has gone undefeated in first 2 UFC appearances. Most recently at UFC 67 this month, Huerta stopped John Halverson in 19 seconds with strikes, making the follow up fight to his UFC debut a successful one, where he worked his way to a unanimous decision victory over Jason Dent at UFC 63 last September.

Robinson likely entrenched his shot in the UFC this weekend by defeating Olly Bradstreet at Ring of Fire 28, which was held in Broomfield, Colorado. Robinson extended his record to 8-1 with the win, submitting Bradstreet with a first round rear naked choke at 1:47. The loss for Bradstreet was only his second in over 20 fights, as his combined pro-am record now stands at 22-2. Robinson, who has a well accomplished and extensive background in wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Royce Gracie, has now won 3 fights in a row, with his only career loss coming to Fabio Holanda, Brazilian Top Team Canada's head jiu-jitsu instructor.

UFC 69 now has 6 fights confirmed for the card, including the welterweight title bout between Champion Georges St.Pierre and Matt Serra, Diego Sanchez taking on Josh Koschek, Alan Belcher vs. Kendall Grove, Brad Imes meeting Heath Herring, Thales Leites vs. Pete Sell, Marcus Davis fighting Pete Spratt, and the aforementioned encounter between Alvin Robinson and Roger Huerta.

Also at ROF 28 this past Saturday, Duane "Bang" Ludwig, defeated Shinya Kumazawa, choking out the Japanese fighter with a second round side choke at 4:32. The win for Ludwig makes it 2 in a row, as after dropping back to back fights to Tyson Griffin and Josh Thomson at Strikeforce 2 and 3 respectively, Ludwig defeated Tony Fryklund by TKO at Strikeforce 4 last December. Ludwig's record now stands at 15-6.

For more information on this weekend's ROF event, check out the latest edition of FCF Radio that features the organization's promoter, Sven Bean.

The Northern Touch

ECC 5 Card Beginning to Take Form

Extreme Caged Combat has announced several championship bouts for the organization's upcoming March 31st card, which will take place at the Halifax Forum, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The card will crown 3 new champions that night for the promotion, with the lightheavyweight, welterweight and lightweight belts up for grabs.

Headlining ECC 5, "A Night of Champions", will be an ECC lightheavyweight title fight between Roger Hollett and Ricardeau Francois. Hollett will bring a record of 4-0 to the card, as the Maritimes' fighter preserved his undefeated streak earlier this month at the Maximum Fighting Championship's "Gridiron" event. Requiring just 36 seconds, Hollett knocked out professional football player, Edmonton Eskimo fullback Mike Maurer, with a devastating head kick, left hook combination. The win was Hollett's first via striking, as the Team Titan's fighter won all 3 of his previous fights by submission.

Francois carries a record of 12-7, and has recently fallen on some tougher times, losing three fights in a row. The losses have come against fairly notable opposition however, including guillotine submission losses to KOTC Canada's Lightheavyweight Champion Travis Galbraith, and top ranked Canadian LHW, Jason Day. The 6'6 tall Francois has a win over Wes Sims on his record, as well as a split decision loss to UFC veteran Patrick Cote. During a streak in 2003 and 2004, Francois won five fights in a row, with four of those wins coming way of strikes.

Next up in the ECC welterweight title fight, Rowan Cunningham will take on Cory Macdonald for the 170 pound belt. Cunningham is an experienced grappler and Brazilian jiu-jitsu instructor, and holds a record of 4-1. Most recently, Cunningham defeated Jordan Jewell at Apex's "A Night of Champions" last October, submitting his opponent with a second round triangle choke. Cunningham's only career loss thus far was to Marcus Soares fighter, Garrett Davis, who defeated the fighter at ECC 1 last April.

Corey Macdonald also carries a record of 4-1, and will be fighting for the first time on March 31st in nearly a year. In Macdonald's last bout in May of 2006, he defeated Francois Flibotte by first round TKO at Ultimate Generation Combat 13. Macdonald also holds a win over TKO veteran Martin Grandmont, and interestingly has only lost to Eric Beaulieu, a fighter Cunningham has defeated twice.

The third title bout of the night will be for the ECC lightweight belt as Halifax fighter Jason Mackay will fight Shaun Krsya. Similarly to his Titans teammate Hollett, Mackay also holds an undefeated record of 4-0. At ECC 4 in December, Mackay submitted Daniel Grandmaison in the first round with an armbar to earn his 4th career victory. Prior to that encounter, Mackay was involved in a thrilling three round war with Jacob Macdonald last October at Apex, where the Nova Scotia resident worked his way to unanimous decision victory.

Krysa is also undefeated in his professional career, carrying a record of 4-0, but does have one loss competing in the amateur bracket, where the fighter went 1-1. Krsya will be hoping to make his return to the ECC as successful as his debut was fighting for the organization, as he defeated Marc-Andre Joly with a first round armbar in December. Prior to that, fighting at Apex's "Evolution" event last June, Krsya got the first round rear victory over Sean Ragnitz, submitting the fighter with a rear naked choke.

The ECC website is also reporting that the upcoming card will also feature the province of Nova Scotia's first female fight, although no details as to who the competitors will be have been announced.

Canada Well Represented In BodogFight Season 2

The current "St.Petersburg" season of BodogFight, which is airing every Tuesday night in Canada on the Fight Network, is set to feature several fighters from the Northern Nation. In the season's premiere show last week, Team Revolution's Kultar "Black Mamba" Gill, was defeated by Rodrigo Damm, as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blackbelt submitted the K-1 Hero's veteran with a rear naked choke. Gill's Revolution teammate, Tyler Jackson, is set to take on Dmitry Samoilov in this week's episode.

Also competing for British Columbia's Team Revolution is the veteran Bill "The Butcher" Mahood, whose fight against Khalil Ibrahim is set to air on March 20th. Another Canadian, heavyweight Kristof Midoux, will have his fight against Roman Zentsov broadcast on February 27th.

Upcoming Canadian MMA Events
  • Extreme Cage Combat 5- March 31, Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ultimate Cage Wars- April 7th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Maximum Fighting Championship "Unplugged 3"- April 20th, Crowne Plaza, Edmonton, Alberta
  • King of the Cage- April 28th, Vernon, British Columbia

Don't Call Him Alex:
Alexis Aquino is as fierce as a pit bull and as focused as a samurai
By Derek Constable

Johnny Cash once wrote a song about a boy named Sue who grew up quick and mean, but in Deptford, New Jersey, it's a man named Alexis that's tearing through the ranks of Atlantic City's Cage Fury Fighting Championships.

Alexis Aquino is undefeated as a mixed martial arts fighter, and when the door shuts behind him in the cage, it's best to be somewhere else.

"A lot of guys go out there and they don't make it personal. They look at it like it's a competition, but it's not a competition, to me it's a fight," Aquino said. "I think my fights should be illegal because I really want to hurt the other guy. I mean I'm really trying my best to hurt him."

Aquino was named after his father's favorite boxer, Alexis Arguello, and carries his family's love for boxing with him in the cage. His fighting philosophy runs parallel to that of current UFC Champion Chuck Liddell -- avoid takedowns, be a better boxer than everyone else and you'll win 90 percent of the time.

Not only has this style of fighting propelled Aquino to a 3-0 record, it's won him the respect of the fans as well.

"People want to see punches and knees," Aquino said. "You can't make a highlight reel of submissions and market that. Take some knockouts and you can market that unbelievably, just like Chuck Liddell."

Despite carrying the tools of a boxer to work with him, Aquino fights with the heart of something else … a pit bull.

"Everyone's got the nickname "The Pit bull." Not me, but my style emulates a pit bull fight," he said. "When two pit bulls get in the cage, they close the door and slap them in the nose. I have my brother do the same thing for me before every fight. You don't see pit bulls go out and hug each other before a fight and you're never going to see me high-five a guy until after the fight."

When Aquino squared-off with Tiger Schulmann instructor Nissim Levy at CFFC III, he was in Levy's face from the moment he entered the cage until when his hand was raised after going three full rounds. Aquino said later that he knew Levy was a more accomplished boxer, but felt his own striking game was light years ahead of the competition.

"I knew where to place my head and go with the punch instead of getting hit by it," he said. "Nissim is a warrior. I never had someone eat one of my punches and smile at me. I knew I couldn't knock him out, so I beat him boxing."

Aquino credits his trainer Tom Cuff for a lot of his success, but said there's no way he could do it without his older brother Jesse. The two brothers grew up in South Jersey on a dead-end street with no one else to play with, and while every win in the cage is marked down for Alexis, he would tell you he's fighting for his brother.

"He's my ‘little' big brother," Aquino said. "It takes a lot to mentally prepare myself for a fight, because I'm the nicest guy you'll ever meet outside the cage. I don't fight for my brother, I fight for me, but he prepares me to the fact that it's like I'm fighting for him. He makes it personal."

Another fighter Aquino relates to, besides Liddell and a pit bull, is PRIDE's Wanderlei Silva. He admires the way Silva gets into an opponent's head before a fight, and how he never stops attacking, even though he has holes in his game that people try to exploit.

"I don't know anyone that's said they are looking forward to fighting Wanderlei," Aquino said. "Whether you think you can beat him or not, you're scared."

The unblemished pro record of this Deptford son has certainly caused a stir in the MMA community, and with such brutal wins over quality opponents, a middleweight-title shot cannot be far away.

"It's already been offered to me. Not that I don't think I can win the title, but I want to be positive," Aquino said. "I analyze every little thing. I even find mistakes in my own videos. When you're fighting for a title, you want to be perfect. You don't want to make a mistake."

Perhaps one day the name Alexis Aquino will light up a sign on fight night in Las Vegas, as he graces the MGM Grand to defend his middleweight crown. Today however, you can still see Aquino busting heads in Atlantic City, where this dog has yet to meet his match when the cage door slams shut.

"Hopefully it will be a household name someday," he said. "Something like that … it's not your average John Smith."

From the event's promoter:
Intensive Two-day Studio Shoot Puts Pieces In Place For March 12 Premiere Of Mixed Martial Arts Series On MyNetworkTV

MIAMI and BOCA RATON, Fla., February 19, 2007 – Ben Rothwell let out a primal scream, one to which fans of the International Fight League Silverbacks' star have become accustomed. But this time, instead of occurring in the ring with one of the league's other heavyweights on the business end, the venue was a Boca Raton, Fla., television studio with a heavy bag and the MyNetworkTV cameras in the firing line.

That scene wrapped two days of intensive activity in several studio and outdoor venues, as 11 of the top IFL athletes served as subjects in interviews, green-screen shoots, titles, interstitials and promos, all key elements of "IFL Battleground," the exciting new series which will debut on March 12 on MyNetworkTV affiliates across the country. The two-hour program, which will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT/MT, will cover the stories of each of the athletes both in and out of the ring, bringing fans all of the event and behind the scenes action of the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league. Segments will take viewers up close during the competition and also into the locker rooms, training routines, and home lives of this diverse set of athletes who are a part of the world's fastest growing professional and recreational sport.

MyNetworkTV reaches more than 95% of U.S. television households -- or more than 100 million homes across the nation. Each of the 22 episodes of "IFL Battleground" will be re-broadcasted on Saturdays from 8-10 p.m. ET/PT and 7 p.m. CT/MT.

In between interviews and choreographed green-screen sessions, several of the athletes also made a side trip to "Salvation," a Miami Beach tattoo parlor, for some critique of their art, and, for the Silverbacks' Bart Palaszewski, some new ink. They also took a spin on scooters, all with the cameras in tow. In addition to Palaszewski and Rothwell, also participating were: Jay Hieron and Chris Horodecki of the Anacondas; John Gunderson of the Lions; Vladimir Matyushenko and Antonio McKee of the Sabres; Chad Griggs of the Scorpions; Rory Markham of the Silverbacks; Brad Blackburn of the Tiger Sharks; and Ryan Schultz of the Wolfpack.

"It was a great experience being part of the making of ‘IFL Battleground,'" said Markham, who also has a role in the upcoming feature film The Death and Life of Bobby Z. "It will be exciting to see how all the pieces we did in the two days fit together when the show hits the air."

Blackburn, Griggs, Horodecki, Markham and McKee also shot promotional spots for more than a dozen MyNetworkTV affiliates nationwide and provided commentary for MyNetworkTV screenings of feature films to air in the days leading up to the debut of "IFL Battleground." The others participated in a series of interviews and promotional pieces for WBFS-TV, My33 in Miami/Fort Lauderdale.

Viewers can locate their local MyNetworkTV affiliate online at http://www.mynetworktv.com/local_stations.html. In addition to the 44 hours of "IFL Battleground," mixed martial arts fans can catch one-hour broadcasts of IFL action on Fox Sports Net on Fridays at 11 p.m., beginning on February 23, for a total of 66 hours of original-run IFL programming on over-the-air television or basic cable.

  Monday - February 19, 2007
Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Ring of Fire promoter Sven Bean, and MMA writers, Steven Marrocco and Jeff "Wombat" Meszaros.

Click here to listen/download.  

  Saturday - February 17, 2007
Aoki Defeats Kikuchi For A Second Time
By FCF Staff

Shooto's Middleweight Champion, (76kg) Shinya Aoki, successfully defended his title on Saturday, defeating Akira Kikuchi at the organization's "Back to Our Roots" event in Yokohoma, Japan. In what must have been an extremely competitive bout, the Japanese promotion's website reported that Aoki worked his way to a split decision victory over Kikuchi, extending Aoki's record to 10-2. Aoki previously defeated the top ranked Kikuchi by unanimous decision last February, on the same date, at Shooto's "The Victory of the Truth" card.

The win for Aoki, helps entrench the Japanese fighter as one of the world's better lightweight fighters, as the Shooto Champion has now won seven fights straight, a streak that includes several impressive victories. After originally defeating Kikuchi last February, Aoki went on to submit Jason Black in the first round with a triangle choke at Pride Bushido 12 last August. The loss for Black was only his second career defeat in over 20 fights, with his only other loss coming due to an injury he incurred against Shonie Carter in a February, 2006 fight. After Aoki followed that up with a flying triangle choke win over Clay French at Bushido 13 in November, the grappling sensation then proceeded to submit the highly regarded Joachim Hansen, with a highlight reel gogoplatta last New Year's Eve, at Pride's "Shockwave" event.

The loss for Kikuchi drops his record to 14-3, and outside of his two losses to Aoki, the fighter's only other defeat was to Jake Shields in 2003. Kikuchi later avenged that loss to the American welterweight, earning a unanimous decision victory over Shields one year later at Shooto's, "End of the Year" event in December.

  Friday - February 16, 2007
Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Chris Wilson.

Click here to listen/download.  

Welterweights Will Take Ring in BodogFight Week 2
By Kelsey Mowatt

In week two of BodogFight's Season 2, St.Petersburg, welterweight fighters will take to the ring next, to compete for a spot on the promotion's upcoming April 9th pay per view card, "Clash of Nations", that will also take place in the historical Russian city. In this week's upcoming bout between the two fighters in the American bracket, UFC veteran Steve Berger will face off against BodogFight season 1 contestant Jorge Masvidal. Berger has been competing since 1998, and carries a well traveled record of 17-15-2. The St.Louis fighter has been in the ring with a who's who resume of MMA that includes the likes of Jake Shields, Din Thomas, Robbie Lawler and Jason Black. Berger's most notable wins include victories over Shonie Carter, Rich Clementi, and Pete Spratt.

Masvidal is far less experienced then Berger with a record of 9-2, but the Floridian can also boast of some impressive victories. In last season's BodogFight, Masvidal worked his way to a majority decision victory over Keith Wisniewski, and also has a TKO win over Joe Lauzon at the Absolute Fighting Championship 12 in April 2005. Masvidal's only losses have come to Raphael Assuncao and Paul Rodriguez two years ago, since that time, the welterweight fighter has won three bouts in a row.

The international match-up will pit Canadian fighter Tyler Jackson against the Russian, Dmitry Samoilov. Representing Team Revolution out of British Columbia's Lower Mainland region, Jackson will bring a record of 7-3 to the bout. Most recently Jackson defeated Donald Ouimet at TKO 27 in September, tapping out the organization's former lightweight champ with a first round armbar. Before losing to John Mahlow last June at Apex's "Evolution" by armbar submission, Jackson had won four fights in a row, three of which came via strikes.

Samoilov is somewhat of an unknown commodity, with only 1 win so far in his professional MMA career. According to the BodogFight website, the Russian fighter has been training in martial arts since the age of six, and is an expert in Sambo and Judo.

The next episode of BodogFight can be seen Tuesday night, February 20th, on ION Television in the U.S., or the Fight Network in Canada. Each episode is also available for viewing on the BodogFight website.

In last week's lightweight action, after pressing Rodrigo Damm earlier in the bout with strikes, Team Revolution's "Black Mamba," (Kultar Gill) finally was submitted with a rear naked choke by the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist in the second round. In a fantastic battle between two highly regarded American lightweights, American Top Team fighter Mike Brown worked his way to a decision victory over UFC and Pride veteran, Yves Edwards.

Week three, which will air on February 27th, is set to feature heavyweight competition. In the international bout, Canadian Kristof Midoux (5-6) will meet Roman Zentsov (14-10), and Cain Velasquez (1-0) is set to fight Jeremiah Constant (4-0) in the American bracket.

The BodogFight, April 9th pay per view card will be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko taking on Matt Lindland, who is planning on moving up to the heavyweight division to fight the Pride Champion. For more information on the bout, check out the interview below with Emelianenko by FCF's Steven Marocco, from earlier this week.

  Thursday - February 15, 2007
Marcus "Conan" Silveira to
Make MMA Return March 31st

By FCF Staff

Marcus 'Conan' Silveira - Photo by Joel Gold
Ultimate Fighting Championship and Extreme Fighting veteran heavyweight, Marcus Silveira, is set to make his MMA return on March 31st at the James L. Knight Centre, in Miami, Florida, at the Panther Fight League's debut event. The 42 year old Silveira (5-4) will be competing for the first time since 2002, when he lost to Wes Sims by TKO at Hook N Shoot's Absolute Fighting Championship 1. The American Top Team fighter is perhaps best remembered for his battles with Maurice Smith, as Silveira went 3-0 to begin his MMA career until losing to Smith by KO at Extreme Fighting 3 in October of 1996. Silveira later avenged that defeat, submitting Smith with an arm triangle choke at World Extreme Fighting 7 in October of 1999. His encounter with Kazushi Sakuraba at UFC Ultimate Japan 1 in 1997 will also not be soon forgotten, as Silveira was submitted by the future Japanese super-star with an armbar in the first round.

His opponent will be Johnathan Ivey (25-31), who despite his losing record has won 7 fights in a row, with his only loss in his last ten fights coming to the undefeated Jake O'Brien. Ivey has been fighting professionally now for nearly ten years, and has competed against some of the sports more notable fighters, including Ben Rothwell, Travis Wiuff, Justin Eilers, Dan Severn, and Jeremy Horn.

Panther Fight League 1: "Genesis" has 11 fights currently scheduled for the upcoming March 31st event, and the website is also reporting that Tim Sylvia, Rich Franklin and Sean Sherk will be in attendance. Prior to the event at 5:30, the three fighters will be available for autographs. A portion of the event's ticket sales will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression.

The Northern Touch

Controversy Abounds at TKO 28

Last Friday's, February 9th, TKO 28 event, which was held at the Bell Centre, in Montreal, Quebec, was plagued by controversy and debate. From all reports, the fight between TKO Featherweight Champion Hatsu Hioki and Mark Hominick was extremely competitive, and the majority decision that was awarded to Hioki, is going to be appealed by Hominick's camp.

"Team Tompkins and Mark Hominick will appeal the decision rendered by the judges," says TKO promoter Stephane Patry, echoing Hominick's statements on FCF Radio, that the fighter and his team will appeal the decision with the appropriate Quebec athletic commission.

The bout marked the second time Hioki and Hominick have done battle, as the Japanese Pride veteran defeated Hominick for his title at TKO 25 last May. In their first encounter Hioki submitted the former champion in the second round with a triangle choke, this time around however, the two 145 pound fighters were unable to leave the fight out of the judge's hands. Depending on what transpires over the next few months in both fighter's careers, one would think that a third fight between the two would be a considerable draw. For fans that were unable to attend the bout live in Montreal, TKO 28 will be available on Viewer's Choice pay per view this Friday in Canada.

In another controversial bout, Jonathan Goulet stopped Thomas Schulte at the end of the first round with strikes. According to reports and Patry, the referee did not hear the bell ending the round, and as a result, the stoppage should not have been made as time had already elapsed.

"The stoppage in the Schulte, Goulet fight was made about 5 seconds after the bell rang," Patry tells FCF. "The referee didn't hear the bell and the commission didn't do anything about it, so if I was Thomas Schulte, I would be very pissed off. I think this fight should be declared a no-contest."

In the event's other title fight, TKO Lightweight Champion Sam Stout successfully defended his title once again against Fabio Holanda. At the conclusion of round 2, Holanda was unable to continue, giving Stout the corner stoppage win.

"I was very happy with Sam's performance in that fight," Patry says. "I think Fabio Holanda had a huge opportunity in this fight and should've trained for a 5 round fight."

Controversy aside, TKO 28 drew a huge crowd to the Bell Centre, truly demonstrating that MMA is quickly becoming a main stream sport in the province of Quebec.

"I was extremely happy with the event, the production and obviously the attendance," Patry reports. "We broke the Canadian record for assistance in a MMA event, previously held by us with TKO 27 at the Bell Center. We had 7,937 people."

In other action from TKO 28:

Team Tompkins fighter Chris Clements stopped David Medd with strikes in the second round, Luke Caudillo knocked out Samuel Guillet in 12 seconds, Steve Claveau submitted Jason St.Louis with a first round triangle choke at 3:12, Martin Grandmont stopped David Pariseau with strikes at 3:19 of the first round, and James Dube got the TKO win over James Martinez, stopping his opponent at 4:17 of Round 1.

Toronto Dragons and New Look Roster Meet the Wolfpack on February 23rd

The Toronto Dragons will have a new look roster when they take on the Portland Wolfpack at the upcoming International Fight League event in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 23rd. Perhaps most notably, the Dragon's will be without world class middleweight Joe Doersken, who is expected to make his Pride debut sometime this spring. Former Canadian National Team wrestler Brent Beauparlant will drop down from his lightheavyweight position on the team to middleweight to face Matt Horwich. Wojtek Kaszowski, the team's former heavyweight, will go down to 205 pounds to fight John Krohn. Brazilian Rafael Feijao has been brought into fill the team's heavyweight slot and will take on Devin Cole.

With the news that Ivan Menjivar will be taking some time off from MMA competition, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Wagnney Fabiano has been brought into the Dragon fold to fill the roster's lightweight position. Fabiano has a record 4-1, and has defeated Tommy Lee, Matt Fiordirosa and Bao Quach. Fabiano's IFL debut will be against Team Quest fighter Ian Loveland. Claude Patrick, who made his Dragon's debut a successful one last September by submitting Ray Steinbess, remains as the team's welterweight.

Upcoming Canadian MMA Events
  • Extreme Cage Combat 5 - March 31, Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ultimate Cage Wars - April 7th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Maximum Fighting Championship "Unplugged 3" - April 20th, Crowne Plaza, Edmonton, Alberta
  • King of the Cage - April 28th, Vernon, British Columbia

Fedor Gets Ready for Matt Lindland
By Steven Marrocco

Fedor Emelianenko - Photo by Mark Ginther
Fedor Emelianenko
Just weeks ago, Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland revealed he had inked a deal to fight at heavyweight the number one-ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko for BodogFight's April 9th pay-per-view in St. Petersburg, Russia. Lindland, a stalwart middleweight who has twice made the jump to the 205-pound class, will be expected to give up at least 20 pounds to the Russian champion.

Fresh off a win against Mark Hunt at Pride's recent Shockwave card, Emelianenko spoke to FCF about the unusual fight, his thoughts on Lindland, and his current fighting life.

FCF: What are you doing in St. Petersburg now?
FE:   I am dealing with my teeth right now, some dental work. I've been delaying it for a long time so I have to take care of it right now.

FCF: Your team, the Red Devil Sport Club, was featured on Bodogfight. Can you describe how your relationship with them developed and how they asked you to fight?
FE:   I have the best relationship with Bodog fight right now. I don't remember very well, but I think they first asked me to fight before the Costa Rica fight. (Note: Emelianenko is most likely referring to the first season of BodogFight, shot in Costa Rica)

FCF: What were your first thoughts when you learned you would be fighting Matt Lindland?
FE:   Unfortunately, I haven't seen his fights, so I can't say much about this right now. I've only heard a lot of good things about him. I know he's a very good fighter. He has shown good results as a fighter.

FCF: Your previously scheduled opponent, Jeff Monson, also had a strong wrestling and submission background. Matt Lindland is an Olympic Silver Medalist in wrestling. Are you adjusting your training to fit his style? Will your preparation be similar to your fight with Mark Coleman, who was also a strong wrestler?
FE:   Of course my preparation changes depending on who I'm fighting with, and I'm trying to find out what kind of a fighter I have to fight with, what he's strong in, if it's more of the sparring I have to work on. But no matter who I'm going to fight, I'm trying to be prepared with everything.

FCF: Do you feel Lindland is a challenge for you? Are there any ways you think he is dangerous to you?
FE:   I know he is a silver medalist, and that he is a champion. I know it's going to be a serious fight. I really don't know what kind of threat he presents. But in all my fights I'm always ready for the worst, to deal with anything.

FCF: You've had a couple of injuries to your hand and your toe in the past year. Are you currently injury free? Have there been any complications in your hand since your surgery?
FE:   My foot is completely healed. But one of my fingers is not back to normal, it's not 100-percent. Much better than before the surgery, but not 100-percent.

FCF: Did it get aggravated in your last fight with Mark Hunt?
FE:   No, it's something I aggravated before. It's unpleasant because I feel pain whenever I have to hit something with my hand.

FCF: Would you say these injuries were caused by your style of training? Have you adjusted your training since to be more careful of injuries?
FE:   I really don't want to think about my injuries, especially when I'm fighting, I usually don't think about it. I just want to do a 100-percent job.

FCF: What did you take away from fighting in the United States last October? How were the American fans compared to the Japanese fans?
FE:   It was really nice to see how the American public reacted. American fans are probably closer to [Russian] fans in general than the Japanese, or others, in the way they show emotions.

FCF: As the heavyweight champion, you live an extremely busy life. How do you balance your personal life and your fighting life?
FE:   I never thought about it. Of course it takes a lot of time, training and work, so sometimes there's not enough time for [my] personal private life.

FCF: You've said in previous interviews that being able to outthink your opponent in the ring is one of the keys to victory. You're an avid chess player. Do you see your fights as a chess match?
FE:   No, I don't. Chess is more to pass the time, and it's my hobby. I like it.

FCF: You've said that perfection in MMA is creating a fighting spirit. Who shaped your fighting spirit?
FE:   First of all I worked on it myself. And of course, my coaches. They teach me and direct me.

FCF: Yes, but what gives you your toughness and calmness inside the ring?
FE:   It's my life. It's my personality. I'm very calm and sure of myself by nature.

FCF: You've beaten most of the top fighters in the world. You've been the Pride Heavyweight Champion for over three years. Is it ever a challenge to keep yourself motivated when you've already faced the toughest opposition?
FE:   First of all, there are a lot of boys that are coming up behind me, so I'm an example to them. I know that as long as I'm at the top, I show them a way, I tell them what they need to be like. Also, it's a good thing for me to know that when I win, it's Russia that I represent. And people know about Russia through knowing me.

FCF: Would you like to see mixed martial arts become an Olympic sport in the future?
FE:   Of course I would. That would be great.

FCF: Do you see yourself transitioning to being a coach after your fighting career is over?
FE:   It's possible, but I'm not through yet. I'm already teaching some boys a little bit, but not much.

FCF: Are you training with your brother at all?
FE:   No, not really.

FCF: Do you miss your brother's presence in your training?
FE:   We had a kind of a misunderstanding and a quarrel, and I'm not missing him at the moment.

FCF: Any word from Pride on your next opponent?
FE:   No, not right now. I know nothing yet. Pride wants me to fight Josh Barnett or Rulon Gardner. [Gardner] is the Olympic champion.

FCF: If you have to fight Josh Barnett, will it be harder to fight him because you're friends?
FE:   Of course I won't like to fight against Josh because we're friends. But I'm not thinking about this fight yet.

FCF: Do you have a message for Matt Lindland?
FE:   First of all, I want to wish him good luck. I hope that the fight takes place and nobody's hurt too much, and both of us show a beautiful fight.

From the event's promoter:
Historic, First Ever, State Sanctioned All Girls Caged Match:

Emerging "Mixed Martial Arts" Sport Said To Be USA's Fastest Growing Spectator Attraction Among Young Men

(Los Angeles, Calif., Feb. 5, 2007)---It's not your daddy's old school mud wrestling that's a draw these days for men, 18-34, but all female caged fighting that ‘s generating crowds and TV ratings, especially at testosterone driven Spike TV.

The first-ever, state sanctioned all female MMA (mixed martial arts) "caged fighting" card, featuring fighters from the U.S., Japan and Mexico, will take place Sat., Feb. 17, at the Japan Theater in downtown Los Angeles.

Titled "Fatal Femmes Fighting" and presented by J.I.M.M., LLC, the event features lightweight, flyweight and middleweight match ups for a total of eight fights.

Some of the sport's hottest talents, including the USA's Lisa Ward and Japan's Masako Yoshida, will be on hand, doing battle in the night's most anticipated bout.

A.J. Benza, current host of "High Stakes Poster," will help announce the event and provide color commentary.

Promoter Eddy Millis calls the Feb. 17 event "an historic moment for a sport that's just begging its ascension."

"Unlike pro wrestling, these are real fighters going toe to toe for championship titles," he adds.

Sixteen of the sport's best exponents will fill out the Saturday night card, including Latina Jessica Pené.

Featured on numerous national news shows, such as "60 Minutes," caged fighting draws more cable pay per views buys these days than conventional boxing and its individual live events have grossed as much as $5 million each.

Tickets, priced at $45, $75 and $95 are on sale at the Japanese American Theatre (213 680 3700), or by calling 1-877-FFF-9381.

  Wednesday - February 14, 2007 - Happy Valentine's Day
FCF Survey

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We'd like to hear your thoughts on the fight between Renzo Gracie and Frank Shamrock at EliteXC this past weekend. Was it a good stoppage? Should Shamrock have been DQ'd? Was Gracie able to continue? Do you want to see a rematch? The results of the survey and some of the commentary we receive may appear in the upcoming issue of FCF.

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EliteXC Feb 10, 2007: Frank Shamrock (bottom) just before firing off illegal knees to Renzo Gracie's head - Photo by Keith Mills
Shamrock (bottom) vs. Gracie

UFC Returns to the UK
By Richard Pickard

The Ultimate Fighting Championship have set up a London, UK office and are getting ready to launch a series of events in the UK, under the charge of recently-hired Marshall Zelaznik, former Vice President of iN Demand Networks.

In fact, the organization announced this week via its website, that the first show will be UFC 70 scheduled for April 21, 2007 at the Manchester Evening News Arena.

Although no formal announcement regarding future shows has been made to the media yet, the UFC are predicted to run shows up and down the country, including the initial show in Manchester, two shows in London and one in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The rumor mill is in full flow regarding the likely fight card and who will kick off the first UK event since the British debut, UFC 38 "Brawl at the Hall" in July 2002. Some of the rumored bouts are:
  • Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic vs. Cheick Kongo
  • Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin
  • Michael Bisping vs. Elvis Sinosic
  • Jess Liaudin vs. Dennis Siver
  • Abdul Mohamed vs. David Lee
Mouth-watering stuff already!...although it remains to be seen whether the UFC throw their latest sizeable investment Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic in as the headliner, or indeed let the UK host the Tito vs Forrest re-match, it does seem a safe bet that TUF season 3 winner Michael "The Count" Bisping will definitely play his part. In a recent interview with NBC, UFC President Dana White confirmed "I expect Mike Bisping to be a big star in 2007".

There is little doubt that the arrival of the UFC will disrupt the current UK scene dominated by the Cage Rage promotion. The Cage Rage events have been held every 2-3 months in London since September 2002, historically they have attracted a host of international fighters including: Anderson Silva, Vitor Ribeiro, Chris Lytle, Jorge Rivera, Mark Kerr and Gilbert Yvel. Alongside this imported talent, Cage Rage have supported the homegrown UK pros such as: Ian Freeman, Mark Weir, Leigh Remedios and James Thompson.

As Cage Rage has an affiliation to the Pride Fighting Championships, the UFC has been working hard behind the scenes to sign-up the top European un-contracted fighters to minimum 3 fight deals. This should guarantee some real local interest as the fight card will mix huge household name UFC favorites brought in to top the bill, with the best UK talent matched against continental Europeans rising stars.

It remains to be seen whether Pride will be inclined to support Cage Rage by shipping in some Japanese favorites to provide a viable alternative promotion. If it fails to do so, in all likelihood the British MMA fan will be spending their hard-earned cash traveling to watch the UFC events, and resign most other promotions to the second division.

With the British MMA scene presently taking off in such a huge way - Cage Rage had to switch venues from the Wembley Conference Centre to the Arena for shows from 2006 after selling out to 8,000 plus fans show after show - the UFC appear to be timing their return to UK shores perfectly.

British teams are also becoming more established with outfits such as: London Shootfighters (Lee Murray and Jean Silva); Elite Fighting Systems (Cage Rage fighter school producing fighters such as: Brad Pickett and Mark Epstein); Wolfs Lair (Mike Bisping); Rough House (Paul Daley), able to provide homegrown talent that pose a realistic threat to top European imports and the household UFC names.

Alongside these teams, more and more MMA gyms are springing up on a monthly basis, in the past 12 months high ranking UK pro's such as Sol Gilbert and Jess Liaudin have both set up their own MMA academies. The expectation is that the British MMA scene is very much on the way up and is likely to provide another revenue stream for Zuffa, as they embark on their quest for global domination of the combat sports world.

  Tuesday - February 13, 2007
Antonio Carvalho Joins FCF Fold

Full Contact Fighter is honored to welcome Shooto contender Antonio Carvalho to our writing staff. Once a month, Antonio will be sending in his "Carvalho Report", a journal of sorts, which will tell readers about his experiences living, training and fighting overseas in Japan. The Team Shah Franco fighter recently relocated to Japan from Toronto, Canada, to pursue more training opportunities in the Nation where many of his greatest career successes have come thus far, competing in Shooto. Readers can also look forward to interviews that Antonio will be also sending in with various Japanese fighters, in addition to his monthly "Carvalho Report."

The Carvalho Report:
The Life and Times of a Shooto Contender in Japan

By Antonio Carvalho

Antonio Carvalho at Abe Ani Combat Club gym - Photo courtesy of Antonio Carvalho
Antonio at AACC
I finally made it to Japan. After sitting on a plane for fifteen hours, I was where I wanted to be. I must thank my good friends Mr. Yoshi Tanaka and his son Danny. Also, special thanks to Yuta Takahashi. Before I begin to tell you about my experiences in Japan, I would like to introduce myself. My name is Antonio "Pato" Carvalho. I am part of the Franco/Behring team out of Toronto, Canada. I have been competing in MMA for over four years and have fought most of my career in Shooto. It has been a dream of mine to one day live and train in Japan. I am now living that dream. On top of that, my new team was waiting for my arrival. So after a good night sleep, it was off to the Abe Ani Combat Club gym. The AACC gym is located in the Omori area in Tokyo. AACC is literally inside a massive Gold's Gym on the seventh floor of the building. The facility is gorgeous and it provides you with everything you need to get a great workout. As soon as you walk up a flight of stairs, you will be amazed at how enormous everything is. Right away you will notice the large boxing ring and all the necessary boxing equipment. On the left side, beside the boxing area, there are all kinds of heavy bags. To the right of the boxing ring, there is a huge area dedicated to mat space for any kind of grappling. The first time I saw the mat area, I could not believe how large this place really was. I had never seen so much mat space at one place in a club.

As soon as I arrived, I was brought over to where Hiroyuki Abe and Megumi Fujii were. They are the head instructors of the AACC gym. Hiroyuki Abe greeted me immediately with a smile and a hug. I am very grateful to Abe-san. Because when he found out that I wanted to live and train in Japan, he offered me a spot amongst his team. Abe is a very kind, down to earth person outside of the ring. It certainly is much different than when you meet him in the ring. Watching Abe fight, you quickly realize that he can be your worst nightmare. He never gives up and will fight until the end. That is a quality of a fighter that I respect dearly. Abe is a veteran of the game and is someone I look up too. He has had many battles in the ring and is a rare combination of great fighter and teacher. Taking part in his classes, I have learned so many new tricks and techniques to implement into my game. I finally learned how to do those crazy sliding tackle footlocks that Imanari has made famous! From wrestling, striking and jiu-jitsu, Hiroyuki Abe can teach it all.

Megumi Fujii is the other instructor at AACC, which has a larger contingent of female fighters than most places because of her. A poster figure for SmackGirl and Shooto, many consider her pound for pound the best female fighter in Japan or even the world. I certainly won't argue with that. The first time I got a chance to roll with her, it was a whirlwind of submission techniques being thrown at me. I was so impressed with her. Fast, fluid and technical, she is quite an amazing person. She certainly takes away the stereotype that some people have that women can't fight. However, like Abe, she is a sweetheart outside the ring. Always concerned about everyone around her and helping everyone when need be. This caring attitude is spread though out the whole AACC team. Everyone is there to help each other get better. However, that doesn't mean that hardcore training doesn't happen at AACC; far from that actually. While there is a recreational part to the club, there are many pros at the AACC gym. Often times I would find out that some fighters were from other gyms and they came to AACC for the hard training. Usually after every class, Abe will keep the pros behind and put us through some rigorous strength and conditioning routines. Many of these pros fight in organizations such as DEEP, ZST and Shootboxing. Shootboxing is a promotion where it is kickboxing with takedowns, throws and standing submissions. In fact, I have already decided that I am going to throw my hat in the Shootboxing ring and give it a try. Abe took me to meet the promoters and they have already guaranteed me a spot on a future show. I am looking forward to that.

Antonio Carvalho at Kaminarimon - Photo courtesy of Antonio Carvalho
Antonio at Kaminarimon
Overall, my experiences in Japan so far have been fantastic. Besides tumbling down the escalator along with my suitcases at the airport and than getting lost multiple times in Tokyo, I am enjoying Japan and have totally engrossed myself in Japanese culture. I have had plenty traditional Japanese foods. I have already visited the famous Kaminarimon Gate in Arakawa. Not to mention everything that is MMA in Japan. Within the first few days of my stay, I was invited to a Shooto press conference where it was announced that Hiroyuki Abe would take on Shooto 65kg champion "Lion" Takeshi on the next big Shooto card called "Back to our Roots". It was also announced that Ishida, after his devastating lose to Gomi in Pride, relinquished his Pacific-rim Shooto belt because he can't defend his title within the allotted time frame required by the Shooto commission. I even got put in the spot light for a bit. The Shooto commission just threw me in front of the cameras so that I could make a brief comment regarding my future in Japan and Shooto. "I really hope to be fighting in the Shooto ring again soon." was all I could think of at the time.

Also, none other than Shinya Aoki and Masakazu Imanari have asked me to come train at the official DEEP training facility. I got this message though a text message on my buddy's phone. The message included a photo which the title read, "He is waiting for you!" It was a picture of Masakazu Imanari! Better watch out for those leg locks! I'll tell you all about that experience next time though! And in between all of that, Abe-san is taking me to the waterfalls with a karate team for some good old fashioned training and meditation in the cold. This should be quite an interesting experience. Until next time.

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Two More Bouts Confirmed for UFC 69
By FCF Staff

The Ultimate Fighting Championship website is reporting two more confirmed fights for the upcoming UFC 69 card, "Shootout", which will take place at the Toyota Centre, April 7th, in Houston, Texas. In a middleweight bout that has been added to the card, "Ultimate Fighter" Season 3 winner, Kendall Grove (8-3), will take on Alan Belcher (9-2). Since defeating Ed Herman by unanimous decision at the TUF 3 finale on June 24th last year, Grove looked impressive in his only appearance since, stopping Chris Price with strikes in the first round at Ultimate Fight Night 7 on October 10th. The Hawaiian fighter has continued to train with Tito Ortiz and Team Punishment since winning the TUF 3 middleweight bracket, and as a result, has in all likelihood, added to his skill set considerably.

Belcher is coming off a KO win over Jorge Santiago at UFN 8 on December 13th, a fight the Biloxi native won in highlight reel fashion with a deadly right kick to Santiago's head. The devastating KO was a nice way for Belcher to rebound, after he dropped a unanimous decision loss to Yushin Okami at UFC 62 last August.

In a welterweight bout that has been confirmed for the card, noted strikers Marcus Davis (10-4) will meet up with Pete Spratt (15-9). Davis, since losing both of his first two fights in the UFC to Melvin Guillard and Joe Stevenson back in 2005, has been on a roll as of late, winning seven fights in a row. Since returning to UFC competition, the TUF Season 2 veteran has won both his two fights, defeating Forrest Petz and Shonie Carter at UFN 7 and 8 respectively. Davis has worked on his ground game extensively over the last two years, which no doubt has contributed heavily to the fighters winning streak.

Spratt is also another TUF veteran who has recently had some success returning to the UFC fold. Since defeating Robbie Lawler at UFC 42 in April, 2003, Spratt has gone 3-3, with all of these losses coming against notable opposition in Georges St.Pierre, Chris Lytle, and Josh Koscheck. In Spratt's last UFC appearance, the "Secret Weapon" submitted Jeremy Jackson in the second round at the TUF finale card on November 11th.

The UFC site also confirmed that Mike Swick. Roger Huerta and Heath Herring are all scheduled to compete at the upcoming April 7th event however, no opponents have been announced. The main event for UFC 69 will feature Georges St.Pierre taking on Matt Serra, with the undercard also set to feature Josh Koschek vs. Diego Sanchez, and Thales Leites taking on Pete Sell.

Ring of Fire 28 Teams Up With HDNet
By FCF Staff

The Ring of Fire MMA promotion announced this week, via a press release, that the organization has signed a deal with the HDNet television network. According to the statement, the upcoming R0F 28 card that will be held on February 16th in Broomfield, Colorado, and will be taped for 2 different HDNet broadcasts at a later date.

"I am thrilled to be working with HDNet on this project," Sven Bean, president of FY Productions said in the release. "HDNet has shown themselves to be a forward thinking company, and I like to think that ROF has an incredible future ahead. We have a great event planned and I am happy that people all across America will have a chance to see it."

The announcement marks yet another agreement between television broadcasters and MMA promotions, something that seems to be almost a monthly occurrence as of late. The deal between HDNet and ROF will also tie Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to the sport of MMA at least somewhat, as Cuban is the co-founder and President of the high definition network.

"Mixed Martial Arts events are a key part of our Friday night line-up," Mark Cuban, was quoted as saying in the release. "We're very excited to bring all the intensity of this Ring of Fire event to our viewers in brilliant high def."

The two programs will also feature stories on Duane Ludwig and Alvin Robinson, who are both slated to compete on February 16th. In the main event Ludwig (14-6) is set to take on Shinya Kumazawa (4-1-1), while Robinson (7-1) will fight Olly Bradstreet, who has a combined pro-am record of 22-1.

From the event's promoter:
BodogFight: St. Petersburg Series Debut Showcases MMA Star Yves Edwards

Following the overwhelming success of its hit debut season, BodogFight changes backdrops for its second season of mixed martial arts action. Swapping the sunny shores of Costa Rica for the frigid Russian tundra, BodogFight: St. Petersburg promises to amp up the intensity. It does just that with a first episode that spotlights a match involving one of the most exciting pound-for-pound fighters on the MMA scene.

Yves Edwards, the self-proclaimed creator of "Thug-Jitsu", carries an impressive 31-11-1 record into the ring against the muscular Mike Brown in a welterweight tilt that highlights the premiere of BodogFight: St. Petersburg. The weekly series debuts Tuesday, February 13 at 11 p.m./10 p.m. Central on ION Television, with viewers in more than 90 million U.S. homes being treated to two great bouts, culminating with Edwards vs. Brown.

Edwards, a 30-year-old native of Nassau, Bahamas, is a well-rounded veteran fighter who describes himself as "a professional ass kicker". He is well schooled at Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but also boasts a strong boxing pedigree. He calls this unique blend of styles "Thug-Jitsu", and teaches it to students at his Revolution Dojo in Houston, Texas.

His opponent in St. Petersburg earned a biology degree from Norwich University in Vermont, but Brown prefers the ring to the lab. A native of Maine, the 31-year-old now fights out of Florida, but has traversed the globe - including stops in Japan, England and Brazil - to work with some of the top trainers in MMA. Now training with American Top Team, Brown is a UFC veteran who also holds the AFC 145-pound title. He is a boxer/wrestler who will be tested by Edwards' quickness.

The Brown-Edwards fight will be preceded by a bout that features a classic contrast in styles as 27-year-old Indian striker "Black Mamba" of Team Revolution takes on 26-year-old Brazilian wrestler Rodrigo "Crazy Face" Damm.

Like his venomous namesake, "Black Mamba" is quick and deadly, while Damm is patient and tactical. Trained by Peter de Andrade, Damm holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Their fight kicks of the exciting season of BodogFight: St. Petersburg, an eight-episode reality series that will be followed by a pay-per-view spectacular in April.

In addition to being broadcast on ION Television, all episodes of the series will be available to fight fans worldwide through streaming video on www.BodogFight.com. MMA followers will get access to previews, recaps, behind-the-scenes exclusives, fighter bios and additional footage only available online.
BodogFight's PPV Clash of the Nations: Russia's Fedor Emelianenko vs. USA's Matt Lindland

BodogFight announces today a mammoth card for a Superfight pay-per-view spectacular that promises to be raved about for ages. On Saturday, April 14, live from the ICE Palace in St. Petersburg, Russia, "BodogFight: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Matt Lindland, Clash of the Nations" takes place before an international audience in what will be an unforgettable event in mixed martial arts history.

Lindland, the No. 1-ranked middleweight fighter in the world, steps up in weight class to take on the top-ranked heavyweight fighter on the planet, Fedor Emelianenko - and Lindland will fight on the Russian superstar's home turf. So, is he nuts?

"Yes, I am crazy," confirms Lindland, who has agreed to a six-fight deal with Bodog Entertainment. "That's why I got into this sport, but I don't make a habit of taking fights I don't feel I can win. I want to fight the best guys out there, and I appreciate BodogFight giving me the opportunity to fight the very best."

Bodog Entertainment Founder Calvin Ayre is certainly looking forward to the event, which will be rich with the style and entertainment appeal that Bodog is famous for. "Fedor and Matt are both superstars in the world of MMA, and being able to showcase both of them on the same card is very exciting," Ayre said. "With BodogFight, we aim to offer fans the absolute best in MMA entertainment, and as this event will show, we're throwing down the gauntlet."

This event will also mark the first time Fedor Emelianenko will appear on the same card as his brother, Aleksander, who will fight American Jiu-Jitsu specialist Eric "Big" Pele. Needless to say, the Emelianenko brothers will be anxious to put on a show at the ICE Palace in front of their hometown fans.

Also included on the card will be the winners of the hit reality show BodogFight: St. Petersburg, who will each compete for a cash prize and a contract.

Join veteran play-by-play announcer Colonel Bob Sheridan, color commentator Paul Lazenby, and special guest host and BodogMusic artist Bif Naked for all the action, beginning with the half-hour Countdown Show airing at 8:30 p.m. EST (5:30 p.m. PST) on April 14, 2007. This preview will be followed by the three-hour PPV show at 9:00 p.m. EST (6:00 p.m. PST) that will be viewed by millions worldwide.

"BodogFight: Fedor Emelianenko vs Matt Lindland, Clash of the Nations" PPV will be available on a number of PPV distributors - check local listings for your area. More details available soon on www.BodogFight.com/PPV.

  Monday - February 12, 2007
Torres' Win Streak at 11, Hornbuckle, Maciejewski Light up Total Fight Challenge 10
By Dustin Lee DePue - Photos by Riley Kerestes

Hammond, IN -- Frigid Midwestern temperatures were no match for MMA on Saturday night as fighters brought the heat to the Hammond Civic Center where the Total Fight Challenge held its tenth event. Roughly 1400 fans were in attendance for the seventeen-fight card which featured fifteen MMA and two Muay Thai fights.

The main event featured 135 pound Midwest sensation Miguel Angel Torres taking on crafty striker Charles Wilson. With a record of 29-1 and victories over Clay French, Ryan Ackerman and Joe Pearson, Torres was the clear favorite heading into the fight.

Total Fight Challenge 10: Miguel Torres locks up a triangle choke on Charles Wilson - Photo by Riley Kerestes
Torres locks up a triangle on Wilson

Lanky and swift, Wilson needed to keep the fight standing where he could utilize his unorthodox striking (Wilson has a kung-fu background) and long reach to frustrate Torres and avoid his dangerous submission game.

As the opening bell sounded, Wilson swept across the ring, bouncing in and out of range as he looked for an opening. He didn't waste any time, throwing an axe kick as a setup for a lighting fast right straight that seemed to travel halfway across the ring before tagging Torres and knocking him to the mat. Not wanting any of Torres' ground game, Wilson let him stand up. Blood began to trickle from a cut under Torres' left eye. Unfazed, Torres pressed forward, a stolid look that Wilson would later say impressed him. If Torres proved anything in this fight, it's that he's a machine.

Wilson did a great job stuffing Torres' takedowns for much of the first round; however, Torres kept pressing and finally nailed it, quickly transitioning into a triangle choke. Wilson was able to defend despite the apparent tightness of the hold but the struggle took its toll on his stamina. Coming into round two Wilson had clearly lost his fifth gear. Without his speed, Wilson found himself back on the mat fighting off a relentless submission attack. Amazingly, Wilson was once again able to survive the onslaught of triangles and armbars, any one of which looked tight enough to end the fight, as the bell sounded to end round two. This was to be his final triumph. As much improved as he looked, Wilson could only dodge so many bullets, as he was finally caught in a triangle at 1:29 of the third round.

Torres proves again why he is a force at 135. If he were heavier, he'd have surely had his shot at the UFC by now. At twenty-five years old, there is still the chance that his frame will grow enough to support 155 pounds. Until then, we'll enjoy his decimation of the rank and file featherweights here in the Midwest.

A spark set off by Boban Simic's disrespectful cornermen nearly set afire a riot on the main floor after Samic's unanimous decision loss to fellow heavyweight Adam Maciejewski. Known for heavy hands and little else, Simic lives to dish out punishment with two fists born only for haymakers. It's a hell of a great show when someone tries to stand with him, and Maciejewski showed he was unafraid. He also showed that he was smart. After two flurries in which both fighters landed big punches and the screaming of the crowd reached a murderous pitch, Maciejewski used his superior wrestling ability to shoot in under Simic's telegraphed haymakers and score several big takedowns. On the mat, Maciejewski's ground and pound was flat and unimpressive but scored points nonetheless.

In the second round, Simic's frustration with his opponent began to show. Samic seemed to expect Maciejewski to stand and trade bombs with him. Samic would do better to work on his wrestling than expect his opponents not to use theirs. It was the final minute of the fight that inspired in Simic's corner such intense rage. On top of Samic, Maciejewski was trying to stay busy. He wasn't landing any significant shots and with a minute left Samic began to ask the referee for a standup. With thirty seconds left, he was angry, as was the crowd. The referee looked like he was going to stand them up but the punches Maciejewski was throwing (few of which were landing cleanly) kept him from pulling the trigger. In the end, the bell sounded and the fight was over. Maciejewski was declared the winner by unanimous decision.

Simic's cornermen then began yelling obscenities and threats at Maciejewski's trainer, UFC veteran Keith Hackney. Hackney just rolled his eyes. Simic's corner continued to thrash about until security stepped in and a struggle began to engulf that side of the floor. Luckily, a potential riot resulted in little more than a ruckus as the offending members of Simic's entourage were dragged off by police. There was an impromptu intermission to cool things down and the rest of the evening went by without incident.

Triston Yunker surprised many with his handling of the tough and skilled Jason Chambers. Chambers shot in for a takedown early in the fight. Yunker rolled out of danger and ended up with a scarf hold on Chambers, from which he locked Chamber's arm, forcing Chambers to tap at 1:29 of the first round. After the fight, Chambers could be seen favoring his elbow, saying to his corner that it had popped out. An impressive if somewhat surprising win for Triston Yunker.

Local favorite Dan Hornbuckle added to his list of quick finishes a thirty-five second victory over Alex Carter. Carter filled in for Jasper Hudson on one days notice. Carter opened up the fight with a takedown attempt. After a quick scramble, Hornbuckle latched on the fight-ending triangle choke.

Total Fight Challenge 10: Dan Hornbuckle finshing off Alex Carter with a triangle choke - Photo by Riley Kerestes
Hornbuckle finshing off Carter

Eddie Wineland chased Dan Swift for much of their two round fight, peppering him with jabs, leg kicks and a few stiff crosses for good measure. Swift clearly wanted the fight on the ground, a desire that went mostly unfulfilled as Wineland stuffed almost all of Swifts takedown attempts. Swift ran out of moves and was reduced to falling to his butt and on one occasion yelling, "C'mon" as his opponent waited for him to stand. Wineland's aggressiveness and the damage dealt to Swifts left knee from kicks were enough for an easy unanimous decision victory.

Jesse Chilton outmaneuvered Emerson Rushing, escaping from the guard to Rushing's back where Chilton was able to finish with the rear-naked choke.

In amateur action, Darius Turcinskas destroyed Keith McNeely with a flurry of powerful punches that had McNeely reeling within seconds. The ref should have stepped in sooner as McNeely was staggering around in a daze before being knocked out in just twenty-six seconds.

Eric Rasmussen exhibited a commanding ring presence in his technical domination of Justin Donovan, hurting him early with punch combinations before knocking him out with a knee to the head.

Jim Peterson wore down the much younger Tom Eppens with solid clinch work while avoiding Eppens takedown attempts. Peterson continually slipped the right hook over Eppens jab, tagging him again and again before finishing him with punches on the ground.

Total Fight Challenge 10: Jim Peterson comes over the top of Tom Eppens' jab with a right to the jaw - Photo by Riley Kerestes
Peterson cracking Eppens in the jaw

Full Results

Professional MMA Bouts

3x5 minute rounds
Miguel Torres def. Charles Wilson by triangle choke 1:29 R3

2x5 minute rounds
Triston Yunker def. Jason Chambers by armbar 1:29 R1
Dan Hornbuckle def. Alex Carter by triangle choke 0:35 R1
Jesse Chilton def. Emerson Rushing by rear-naked choke 2:17 R1
Eddie Wineland def. Dan Swift by unanimous decision (20-18, 20-18)
Adam Maciejewski def. Boban Samic by unanimous decision
Roberto D'leon def. Dylan Sprawl by submission due to strikes 2:02 R1
Juan De Dios Maguana def. Chris Reedy by TKO (ref stoppage due to strikes) 1:56 R1

Amateur MMA Bouts

2x3 minute rounds
Jim Peterson def. Tom Eppens by TKO (Ref stoppage due to strikes) 4:50 R1
Daniel Ney draw Vinnie Hoffman (20-18, 18-19, 19-19)
Mike Cannon def. Richard Graveline by TKO (ref stoppage due to strikes) 1:41 R1
Eric Rasmussen def. Justin Donovan by KO 1:47 R1
Thomas Vesey def. Giovanni Fosko by Submission due to strikes 1:07 R1
Hulise Davilos def. Darin Watt by armbar 0:53 R1

Professional Muay Thai Bout

Chidi Nyokuni def. Cirus Washington by TKO 2:21 R3

Amateur Muay Thai Bout

Jose Maldanado def. Clinton Brown by unanimous decision

  Sunday - February 11, 2007
Elite XC Makes Respectable Debut
in First Premium Channel MMA Bout

Report by Steven Marrocco - Photos by Keith Mills

Saturday, February 10, 2007, Southaven, Mississippi: Though its main event was mired in controversy, the boxing and MMA minds behind Pro Elite pulled off an exciting night of fights. The partisan audience and media stood rapt at the possible birth of a new star in the sport, the charming and brutal Gina Carano, as Exite XC put female MMA on a national platform for the first time.

Holding steady around two thirds full, an estimated 1400 fans at the Desoto Civic Centre, witnessed another chapter in the somewhat overplayed saga of Gracie vs. Shamrock. For his part, Frank was his usual cocky self, proclaiming to Gracie, "I'm going to tire you out on the ground and then knock you out." Gracie, sporting his IFL team shorts, spoke of his boxing training, but ultimately concluded, "I am looking to submit Frank the same way he is looking to knock me out."

Sporting the usual 20-plus Gracie entourage behind him, Gracie looked calm and still inside the ring. Shamrock announced his presence quickly with several unanswered leg kicks. By the third kick, Gracie had had enough, initiating a takedown by catching Frank's leg. Ensconced in half guard, Shamrock did his best to stay busy from the bottom, defending Gracie's mount attempts and kneeing Gracie to the body and head.

Interestingly, it was Shamrock's business that laid the groundwork for the controversy.

From the start, Shamrock's advantage in stand-up was evident, as he tagged Gracie several times in response to Gracie's shot. Stunned several times by the punches, Gracie took Shamrock down again with relative ease, but couldn't cinch a submission before being stood up by ref Herb Dean.

EliteXC Feb 10, 2007: Frank Shamrock (bottom) just before firing off illegal knees to Renzo Gracie's head - Photo by Keith Mills
Shamrock (bottom) vs. Gracie

By the second round, Shamrock's punches had taken some of the spring out of Renzo's step, causing him to shoot for a fourth time. Sitting in Frank's half guard at the edge of the cage, Frank again retorted with knees to Gracie's head. Stepping in to separate them, ref Dean called foul, but Gracie had rolled to his back, clutching his head. Looking wide eyed and distant, Gracie could not regain his composure as Shamrock bounced around in his corner.

"I thought we came to fight," Shamrock shouted to fans cageside.

After initially raising Shamrock's hand, the win was reversed, giving Gracie the win by disqualification.

Asked for clarification, Dean told the ringside interviewer that he had earlier called foul on Shamrock for the infraction, and upon the second illegal knee, went to take away a point. Because Gracie couldn't continue, the bout was ruled a disqualification in Gracie's favor.

Afterwards, Shamrock was apologetic, but undeterred. "I'm sorry, I made a mistake, I broke the rules," Shamrock said. "I'll fight any one of those guys again, for sure. I'm old school; I thought we came to fight."

Gracie was taken to a local hospital for a possible concussion. Their post-fight press conference was simultaneously called off.

Greg Jackson disciple Joey Villasenor took challenger David Loiseau out of his element from the beginning, using the clinch to take the Canadian down at will. The bout followed a familiar pattern, with Loiseau looking for the home run kick/punch combination as Villasenor came in, clinched, and tossed the Crow to the ground. Punishing Loiseau from side mount and at his back, Villasenor shook off a last minute rally from his opponent to take a unanimous 30-27 victory.

Gina Carano put on a dazzling display of mixed martial arts as she foiled her game opponent Julie Kedzie. Though Kedzie never gave up, challenging the undefeated Carano at every turn, the weight behind Carano's punches and kicks devastated Kedzie throughout the fight. Unable to submit Carano after gaining an important takedown in the second, Kedzie continued to dig deep and fight on impressively to the bell.

EliteXC Feb 10, 2007: Joey Villasenor (right) vs. David Loiseau - Photo by Keith Mills
Villasenor (right) vs. Loiseau

For their effort, the audience gave the two a standing ovation, witnessing the best-case scenario for this debut of sorts. "It turned out wonderful for us and the sport," Carano said afterwards.

EliteXC Feb 10, 2007: Gina Carano landing a right on Julie Kedzie  - Photo by Keith Mills
Carano landing a right on Kedzie

EliteXC Feb 10, 2007: Antonio Silva (right) lands a knee on Wesley 'Cabbage' Correira - Photo by Keith Mills
Silva lands a knee on Cabbage
American Top Team's Antonio Silva bullied UFC and Rumble on the Rock vet Wesley "Cabbage" Correira before stopping him with an unlikely flying knee. Attempting to backpeddle out of trouble, Cabbage ate a sneaky left hook that sent him to the canvas at 3:49 of the first.

Erratic, charismatic, and quite possibly, a great fighter, Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett took to the cage like the actor he wants to be, knocking out City Boxing's KJ Noons. After exchanging a series of taunts, grins, and scowls with Bennett, Noons caught the worse end of a right hook exchange, dropping him to the canvas at 3:43 of the first round. After multiple backflips off the cage, the announcement of an acting career, and generous boos from the audience, Bennett finally exited.

On the Internet broadcast card, Tim Persey hammered his opponent Bo Cantrell with a series of hooks that had Cantrell out on his feet at 1:33 of the first.

Former IFL Anaconda Mike Pyle made quick work of fellow welterweight Ross Ebanez, choking him out at 1:33 of the first.

In a back and forth battle, lightweights Adriano Nasal and Javier Vazquez gave it their all in a three round war. Despite a last minute comeback from Nasal, Vazquez walked away with a Split Decision victory.

Deadly striker Edson Berto outstruck local favorite John-David Shackelford, got dropped by a left hook and kick that sent him to the mat. Although struggling for a submission, the ref called the bout at 2:27 of round 2.

Riki Fukuda gave fellow local favorite Chris Gates a taste of his first knockout as Fukuda launched a series of downward punches on his foe that had signaled the submission by strikes at 1:18 of the first round.

Elite XC Full Results:
  • Tim Persey def. Bo Cantrell at 1:33 of R1 by KO
  • Mike Pyle def. Ross Ebanez at 1:55 of R1 by submission (rear-naked choke)
  • Javier Vazquez def. Adriano Nasal at 5:00 of R3 by split decision (29-28, 29-27, 28-29)
  • Edson Berto def. John-David Shackelford at 2:27 of R2 by TKO
  • Riki Fukuda def. Chris Gates at 1:18 of R1 by submission (strikes)
  • Charles Bennett def. KJ Noons at 3:43 of R1 by TKO
  • Gina Carano def. Julie Kedzie at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Joey Villasenor def. David Loiseau at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Antonio Silva def. Wesley Correira at 3:49 of R1 by TKO
  • Renzo Gracie def. Frank Shamrock at 2:00 of R2 by referee disqualification (illegal knee to back of head)

Cage Rage 20 – Born 2 Fight
Held Feb 10, 2007
Wembley Arena, London, England
Report & photos by David West

Cage Rage 20: Eric 'Butterbean' Esch moves in on a downed James Thompson - Photo by David West
Butterbean moves in on Thompson
Although there were two living legends of MMA on the card at Cage Rage 20, it was the newcomers who brought the excitement, whilst the legends appeared ready for the history books. In the main event Eric "Butterbean" Esch tagged James Thompson with two looping overhand rights that looked like Butterbean was winding up a baseball pitch. The first staggered Thompson, the second dropped him to all fours. Butterbean landed three more shots to Thompson's head and the referee jumped in. A groggy Thompson tried to keep fighting, and the crowd wasn't happy about the stoppage, but he was taking big punches and not defending himself.

Mark Kerr looked like he would rather have been anywhere but inside a cage. He slipped throwing a high kick and was pounded on the floor by London Shootfighters' Mustapha Al Turk until Kerr tapped out. Kerr has fallen from world beater to the status of being a stepping stone for rising heavyweights and he should hang up his gloves on the basis of this performance.

Cage Rage 20: Mustapha Al Turk pounding on Mark Kerr - Photo by David West
Turk pounding on Kerr

Similarly, UFC champion Dan Severn gave a slow, plodding performance against Dave Legeno that drew continuous booing from the crowd. Severn inexplicably chose to stand with Legeno for the first two rounds, with Legeno landed the cleaner punches. In the third round Severn scored two easy low single leg takedowns, suggesting he could have done so at any time in the preceding rounds. However, he was unable to do much damage on the floor, leading to Legeno getting the judges decision.

The best action of the night came from welterweights Marios Zaromskis, from London Shootfighters, and France's Damien Riccio. After a measured start, by the second round they were going hammer and tongs with Zaromskis asserting himself in the standing exchanges. In the third round, Zaromskis increased the pressure and battered Riccio from pillar to post, but the game Frenchman kept coming back for more. Zaromskis scored a knockdown from a spinning heel kick to the head and eventually got the stoppage from a nasty cut that left Riccio drenched in blood. A hell of a fight as both men showed heart, technique and tons of guts.

Cage Rage 20: Marios Zaromskis (right) punching Damien Riccio - Photo by David West
Zaromskis (right) punching Riccio

Robbie Olivier's wish to become the first British champion to win a Cage Rage World title was brought to an abrupt stop by submission master Masakazu Imanari. The Japanese grappler was taken down by Olivier after leaping at him with a jumping front kick, but he instantly slipped on an arm bar that forced the Brit to tap out. Imanari's countryman Daijiro Matsui quickly disposed of late replacement Tom Watson with an arm bar of his own and was the happiest man in all England following his victory after a string of messy results at Cage Rage, including a controversial draw with Alex Reid and a loss by cut to Pierre Guillet.

In the big news of the evening Bob Sapp announced that he will be fighting at Cage Rage 21 in April. The British heavyweights were practically falling over themselves for a shot at the gigantic American. First of all Dave Legeno called Sapp out, leading to a confrontation in the cage. Then Robert Berry came in, grabbed the microphone and said "I'll take the fight, Bob", before James Thompson jumped into the cage to add his name to the list. Form an orderly queue, gentlemen.

Full Results
  • Eric "Butterbean" Esch def. James Thompson by KO, 0:43 R1
  • Mustapha Al Turk def. Mark Kerr by Tap-out (strikes) 2:29 R1
  • Tengiz Tedoradze def. Rob Broughton by TKO (doctor stoppage – cut) 0:58 R2
  • Dave Legeno def. Dan Severn by Unanimous Decision
  • Daijiro Matsui def. Tom Watson by Arm Bar 0:59 R1
  • Robert Berry def. Mark Buchanan by Tap-out (strikes) 2:18 R1
  • Tom Blackledge def. Tom Howard by KO 0:40 R1
  • Masakazu Imanari def. Robbie Olivier by Arm Bar, 0:27 R1
  • Marios Zaromskis def. Damien Riccio by TKO (doctor stoppage – cut) 4:37 R3
  • Ronnie Mann def. Ashley Grimshaw by Unanimous Decision
  • Jack Toczyelowski def. Jason Barret by TKO (doctor stoppage – cut) 4:04 R1
  • Francis Heagney def. Lee Doski by Kimura 2:50 R2

Icon Sport: "All In"
Held February 9, 2007
Blaisdell Arena, Honolulu, Hawaii
Report by Chris Onzuka - Photo by Aaron Meyer

The fighters prepared for battle, thousands of people were eager for the action, I guess you could say that everyone was "All In" for Icon Sport's latest event. Icon Sport introduced some attractive recent acquisitions in Renato "Charuto" Verissimo and heavyweight Scott Junk to not only add depth, but bring in some local talent to please the crowd. This was a fast paced night of action as only two of the 13 bouts went to a decision. The heavy hitters got to show off their skill, racking up KO's like Mark Moreno and Justin Bacholz. There were also a fair number of submissions. "All In" all, a lot of action kept the crowd in check. Unfortunately, the main event had to be scratched due to Robbie Lawler. Lawler came down with a case of food poisoning on about Tuesday. Lawler held off withdrawing from the event, hoping that he would recover in time. Current Icon Sport Middleweight Champion, Frank Trigg stepped in the ring to announce that he will be fighting Robbie Lawler soon, possibly as soon as Icon Sport event in April.

Icon Sport (Feb 9, 2007): Sadhu Bott choking Peni Taufa'ao - Photo by Aaron Meyer
Bott choking Taufa'ao
  • 140-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Devon Chong (Hard Knocks, Waianae) def. Isaiah Cobb-Adams (Animal House, Ewa Beach)
    Submission via arm bar from the guard at 0:50 in R1.

  • 135-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Duane Haney (Bulls Pen, Honolulu) def. Jay Bolos (Animal House, Ewa Beach)
    Submission via rear naked choke at 1:26 in R2.

  • Heavyweight 3 x 3 Mins
    Richard Desforge (Hard Knocks, Waianae) def. Allen Lau (Grappling Unlimited, Honolulu)
    TKO via referee stoppage due to strikes at 2:34 in R2.

  • 160-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Justin Bucholz (Bulls Pen, Honolulu) def. Brandon Pieper (Hard Knocks, Waianae)
    TKO via referee stoppage from punches from the guard at 1:07 in R1

  • 145-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Sadhu Bott (HMC, Honolulu) def. Peni Taufa'ao (Eastsidaz, Waiamanalo)
    Submission via rear-naked choke at 1:36 in R2.

  • 195-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Kala Kolohe Hose (Bad Intentions, Waianae) def. Kekoa Baker (Fearless Fight Club, Kapolei)
    TKO via referee stoppage due to strikes at 1:07 in R1.

  • Heavyweight 3 x 3 Mins
    Randy Lueder (MMA Development, Kailua) def. Ron "Killing" Fields (Killing Fields MMA, Ohio)
    Unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27) after 3 rounds.

  • 150-lbs 3 x 3 Mins
    Jerome Kekumu (Hard Knocks, Waianae) def. Mike Balasi (Grappling Unlimited, Honolulu)
    Unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27) after 3 rounds.

  • 170-lbs 3 x 5 Mins
    Mark Moreno (Bulls Pen, Honolulu) vs. Sam Jackson (Reinhardt MMA, Iowa)
    KO via kick to the head at 0:24 in R1

  • 145-lb Hawaii State Title 3 x 5 Mins
    Bronson Pieper (Hard Knocks, Waianae) def. "The Eastside Strangler" Chico Cantiberos (Eastsidaz, Waimanalo)
    KO at 3:23 in R1 * Pieper becomes the new Icon Sport Hawaii State Champion.

  • Heavyweight 3 x 5: Mins
    Scott "Punk Haole" Junk (MMA Development, Kailua) def. John George (Reinhardt MMA, Iowa)
    KO via straight right punch at 0:10 in R1

  • 205-lbs 3 x 5 Mins
    Jeremy "Half-Man Half-Amazing" Williams (Legends Gym, Hollywood) def. Derek Thornton (Freelance, Honolulu)
    Submission via guillotine at 3:48 in Round 1

  • 185-lbs 3 x 5 Mins
    "Charuto" Renato Verissimo (HMC, Honolulu) def. Kris Fleurestil Reinhardt (MMA, Iowa)
    TKO via referee stoppage due to strikes from the back mount at 2:19 in R1

  Friday - February 9, 2007
EliteXC: New Promotion Makes Debut this Weekend
By Keith Mills

All systems are go for EliteXC's debut show this weekend, also known as "Showtime's MMA debut" due to that cable network showing five of the ten bouts starting at 10 PM Saturday night. The other five fights will be aired on EliteXC's website. Briefly it appeared this card may be without a headline fight when another promotion, Strikeforce, tried to sue Frank Shamrock for breach of contract and sought an injunction preventing Frank from fighting Renzo Gracie. According to the Gracie camp, the lawsuit between Strikeforce and headliner Frank Shamrock for breach of contract has been settled now that Showtime, stepped in and brokered a deal involving a future Strikeforce card to be aired on Showtime. Now that the lawsuit is settled the countdown is on.

The official preview is airing on Showtime but here is a different view. This show really shows the vision of Gary Shaw pitting the champions of different organizations against each other. Shaw himself is a boxing promoter and former regulator in New Jersey that originally turned down MMA in that state. According to Shaw, EliteXC is not trying to compete with the UFC, but to be a venue for champions from different organizations to determine who the best truly are. In fact this card is arguably a tour de force of the North American perspective of the MMA scene, thanks in large part to matchmaker J.D. Penn of Rumble on the Rock. Champions from King of the Cage, Gladiator Challenge, WEC, and TKO face off against vets of UFC, IFL, Strikeforce, HOOKnSHOOT, AFC, Pride, and even BodogFIGHT. The main event is even a former UFC Champion against a Pride and Abu Dhabi Submission Fighting Worlds vet.

The Super Heavyweight fight featuring UFC vet Wesley "Cabbage" Correira and Antonio Silva looks to be a barn burner. Cabbage went 1-3 in the '06 season and went 2-2 in his UFC career, but his two losses in the UFC were to champions Tim Sylvia and Andre Arlovski, while his losses outside the UFC have frequently been the most exciting of those shows. Silva on the other hand, has had a much shorter career in Cage Rage in England among others, but his only loss was in BodogFIGHT to KOTC Super Heavyweight Champion Eric Pele. Coming in with an estimated twenty-plus pound weight advantage Silva may make up the experience factor with the size factor. Both fighters are known for their first round aggression, so don't expect this one to be boring in any sense.

David 'The Crow' Loiseau - Photo by Keith MillsWesley 'Cabbage' Correira (right) vs. Eric 'Butterbean' Esch - Photo by Keith Mills
LoiseauCorreira (right)

In the Full Contact Fighter archives is Kelsey Mowatt's update with UFC vet/TKO Champion David "The Crow" Loiseau and he is right, his fight against Joey Villasenor could very well be the most compelling fight. Training this time at City Boxing with UFC vet Brandon Vera among others, could give Loiseau a new lease on life and snap him out of his two-loss '06 record. Having gone 4-3 in the UFC fans should be familiar with Loiseau and his skills in the clinch and with his elbows. Pride vet Joey Villasenor may be less known to most fans but is very similar. Villasenor trains out of Jackson's Fight Team in Albuquerque, the same team that fields Diego Sanchez, Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans, Nate Marquardt, and many more. Villasenor is also the former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion, having won and defended that belt seven times most recently against John Cronk after which he relinquished the title. Joey competed in last year's Pride Middleweight Grand Prix where he lost a controversial split decision to Ryo Chonan for his first loss in almost four years, but even he admits he made mistakes against Robbie Lawler in Pride in October, resulting in a 0:22 KO. Now hungry for the win and knowing his back is against the wall, Joey is coming to EliteXC to prove he isn't all hype.

Joey Villasenor defending his KOTC title - Photo by Keith Mills

Charles "Krazy Horse" Bennett was also in a Pride Grand Prix, his being the Lightweight tournament last June where he lost to current Shooto Champion Tatsuya Kawajiri. Krazy Horse may be coming off a '06 0-3 record with two more losses in KOTC, but what he lacks in technique, he makes up for as one of the exciting fighters, arguably giving Shonie Carter competition for biggest showman in North America...when Krazy Horse is not in jail that is. KJ Noons on the other hand is all about technique. Also training out of City Boxing Noons is 7-1 in boxing, 4-1 in MMA (not the 3-0 as EliteXC's website states), and 13-1 in Muay Thai. If Noons can handle Bennett's unorthodox style it could be over quick, but if not, this fight could be the fight of the night.

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Pride Announces Two More Fights for February 24th Card
By FCF Staff

The official Pride website is reporting that two more bouts have been confirmed for the organization's upcoming February 24th "Second Coming" card, to be held at the Thomas and Mack Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (12-2) will make his return to competition after a 6 month layoff against Thierry Sokoudjou (2-1). Nogueira will be looking to remain in the middleweight title picture by defeating his Team Quest opponent, as it has been widely speculated the Brazilian Top Team fighter will get a chance to face the winner of the upcoming Pride 33 main event. In what is of course well documented by now, Middleweight Champion Wanderlei Silva will face Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson in the 205-pound bracket, to headline the show on the 24TH. Nogueira has won eight of his nine appearances in Pride thus far, and most recently the fighter stopped Allistair Overeem with strikes at Pride's Absolute event last July. His only loss in over 4 years came when Nogueira dropped a decision loss to "Shogun" Rua at Pride's "Critical Countdown" on June 26th, 2005.

Sokoudjou is by far the lesser experienced of the two in MMA competition, but has a plethora of competitive Judo experience, including medal winning performances at the U.S. Open Judo Championships. It will be interesting to see what Team Quest has been able to add to the fighter's arsenal who is being coined the "African Assassin" on the Pride website.

Another lightweight match-up has been added to the card as Joachim Hansen (14-4-1) will meet King of the Cage veteran Jason Ireland (16-6-1). Hansen will be looking to rebound from his highlight reel gogo-platta submission loss to Shinya Aoki at Pride "Shockwave" on New Year's Eve. Despite the loss, the Norwegian fighter is still widely regarded as one of the world's best lightweight fighters, having defeated the likes of Rumina Sato, Takanori Gomi, Yves Edwards and "JZ" Cavalcante during his storied seven-year career.

For Ireland it will be the chance of a lifetime on the 24th, as the fighter will be making his Pride debut, likely as a heavy underdog. The Michigan fighter has won three of his last four fights however, and recently stopped Jimmy Boyd in the first round with strikes on January 26th at KOTC "Mass Destruction." Of Ireland's 6 losses, several of them have come against very notable opposition, including Jorge Gurgel, Mac Danzig, and Dustin Hazelett. Until being injured in a hit and run accident in 2004, Ireland won an astounding nine fights in a row during the 2003 year.

With the announcement of these two fights this week, the Pride 33 "Second Coming" card now stands at eight bouts.

  Thursday - February 8, 2007
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The Northern Touch

Hominick vs. Hioki headlines TKO 28 this weekend

Canadian MMA fans will be treated to a compelling main event this weekend at TKO 28 "Inevitable", when Mark Hominick (13-5) faces Hatsu Hioki (11-1-1) for the TKO World Featherweight Championship. The bout, which will take place Friday night, February 9th, at the Bell Centre, in Montreal, Quebec, features a rematch of two of the world's more notable 145 pound fighters. Hioki rendered Hominick unconscious with a second round triangle choke at TKO 25 last May, taking the Team Tompkins' fighter's title. The devastating loss caught many off guard at the time, as Hominick had recently made his UFC debut a triumphant one on March 4th, submitting Yves Edwards with a triangle choke. Since his last fight with Hioki, Hominick has won three fights in a row, defeating Samuel Guillet, Doug Edwards and perhaps most notably, Jorge Gurgel at UFN 5 on June 28th.

Although Hioki was a not a well known commodity to many MMA fans here in North America when he defeated Hominick, the Japanese fighter had been making waves overseas competing in Shooto. Hioki had a record of 8-1-1 before making his North American debut, a record that also included a win over tough Miletich fighter Joe Pearson in March of 2005. Since his championship win over Hominick at TKO 25, the Japanese fighter has won 3 fights in a row, including a decision victory over Jeff Curran at his Pride Bushido debut last August.

There is little question that Hominick will be heavily favored to regain his title if he can keep the fight standing. If Hioki can once again get the fight to the mat similarly to their first encounter, it will be interesting to see how far Hominick's jiu-jitsu has progressed over the last year. The deciding factor in this fight likely will be each fighter's wrestling ability, which will determine whether or not the fight remains standing for the majority of the bout, or if it's spent on the mat.

Essentially the same criteria for TKO 28's main event applies to the bout between Lightweight Champion Sam Stout (10-2-1) and Brazilian Top Team Canada's head jiu-jitsu instructor, Fabio Holanda (4-4). Stout is of course, similarly to Hominick, highly regarded for his striking skills, which seem to come part in parcel with being a member of Team Tompkins. Although Stout has 6 wins on his record coming way of strikes, the London fighter has likely worked on his ground game considerably since losing to Kenny Florian by rear naked choke at the Ultimate Fighter 3 Finale last June. In his last fight at TKO 27 on September 29th, Stout demonstrated some of his ground skills by submitting Jay Estrada with an armbar in the second round.

Holanda has won 4 of 5 fights since dropping down to lightweight competition, holding submission victories over such notable lightweights like Kultar Gill, Blake Fredrickson and Alvin Robinson. Holanda has also been working on his stand up game, but probably has a ways to go yet before he rivals Stout in that range. Once again, it probably will be the wrestling abilities of each fighter that will determine where this bout is fought, and whether or not Stout defends his belt, or the title changes hands.

The scheduled TKO welterweight title bout between Steven Vigneault and Jonathan Goulet has been put on hold due to an injury Vigneault incurred in his training camp. Instead, Team Jackson fighter Thomas Schulte (13-5) will head to Montreal to meet up with Jonathan Goulet (16-7). Although Schulte is not a UFC veteran like his opponent Goulet, one would be fool hardy to underestimate any fighter from the highly regarded New Mexico team. Goulet will of course be looking to impress, after going 2-2 so far in his UFC appearances, a win over Schulte will certainly go a long ways to hasten his return to the MMA giant.

Some other fights scheduled for TKO 28 include; Chris Clements vs. David Medd, Jason St.Louis taking on Steve Claveau, Samuel Guillet meeting Luke Caudillo, and David Pariseau fighting Martin Grandmont.

Gladiator Fighting Series Colosseum 4: Munduruca and Fontaine both win

At last Friday's Gladiator Fighting Series, Colosseum 4 event that was held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Rodrigo Munduruca and Chris Fontaine were both able to give their hometown crowd reason to cheer. Middleweight Fontaine submitted Mitch Whitesel with a first round kimura, while BJJ black belt and local instructor Munduruca, also won via a submission, tapping out Rob Smith with a first round armbar.

Upcoming Canadian MMA Events
  • TKO 28 "Inevitable"- February 9th, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
  • Extreme Cage Combat 5- March 31, Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ultimate Cage Wars- April 7th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Maximum Fighting Championship "Unplugged 3"- April 20th, Crowne Plaza, Edmonton, Alberta

Strikeforce and Elite XC Strike "Strategic Alliance"
By FCF Staff

MMA promotions Elite XC and Strikeforce announced via a press release today, that an official agreement to co-promote events which feature former UFC Champion Frank Shamrock has been reached. Shamrock is under contract to both organizations, and is scheduled to fight Renzo Gracie this Saturday at Elite XC's debut event in Southaven, Mississippi, and Phil Baroni on the upcoming April, Strikeforce card. Until this deal was reached this week, there had been speculation that Shamrock's fight with Gracie might be in jeopardy of being delayed, due to contractual issues.

The release stated that the new partnership will begin when Shamrock faces Baroni, as both Elite XC and Strikeforce will be involved in promoting the pay per view event.

The February 10th, debut event for Elite XC will be broadcast on Showtime this Saturday, with 5 of the cards fights scheduled to be shown. The event will also be available for Canadian viewers via the Fight Network.

BodogFight Announces Impressive List of Match-Ups for Season 3
By FCF Staff

In a press release today from the upstart MMA promotion BodogFight, the organization announced the scheduled fights for the upcoming third season of the promotion's reality television program. Filming of the bouts will begin on February 10th in Costa Rica, and will eventually be available for viewing on the BodogFight website or via ION Television. The current roster of fighters scheduled to compete in BodogFight's season 3 carries with it some very notable names, including the likes of Jake Shields, Jose "Pele" Landi, Trevor Prangley, Chael Sonnen, and Nick Thompson among several others.

BodogFight's second season which was filmed in St.Petersburg, Russia, recently wrapped filming and is set to air on February 13th, with the season ending pay per view event scheduled for April.

Here is the complete list of the scheduled bouts for BodogFight Season 3.

Mario Rinaldi (USA) vs. Roy Nelson (USA)
Mark Burch (USA) vs. Yoshiki Takahashi (Japan)
Kellan Flukinger (USA) vs. Miodrag Petkovich (Croatia)
Dan Evensen (USA) vs. Jeremiah Constant (USA)
Daniel Puder (USA) vs. Michael Alden (USA)

Mike Patt (USA) vs. Todd Gouwenberg (Canada)
Francis Carmont (France) vs. Jeff Ford (USA)
Antony Rea (France) vs. David Avellan (USA)
Moise Rimbon (France) vs. Alex Steibling (USA)

Chael Sonnen (USA) vs. Tim McKenzie (USA)
Trevor Prangley (USA) vs. Pierre Guillet (UK)
Matt Ewin (UK) vs. Andrei Semenov (Russia)
Grzegorz Jakubowski (Poland) vs. Andy Foster (USA)
Izuru Takeuchi (Japan) vs. Kyacey Uscola (USA)
Eugene Jackson (USA) vs. Diego Visotzky (Argentina)

Eddie Alvarez (USA) vs. Scott Henze (USA)
Nick Thompson (USA) vs. Dustin Denes (USA)
Stephen Haigh (USA) vs. Takuya Wada (Japan)
Jose "Pele" Landi (Brazil) vs. Phil Norman (UK)
Piotr Jakacynzki (Sweden) vs. Steve Berger (USA)
Zach Light (USA) vs. Jake Ellenberger (USA)
Jake Shields (USA) vs. Ray Steinbeiss (USA)

Brad Pickett (UK) vs. JR Sims (USA)
Nick Agallar (USA) vs. Ryan Bow (Japan/USA)
Rafael Diaz (USA/Brazil) vs. Sami Aziz (Sweden)
Tyler Jackson (Canada) vs. Kyle Watson (USA)
David Love (USA) vs. Atsuhiro Tsuboi (Japan)

135 Ladies
Tara LaRosa (USA) vs. Shanya Bazler (USA)
Tama-Chan (Japan) vs. Jan Finney (USA)

125 Ladies
Rosie Sexton (UK) vs. Windy Tomomi (Japan)
Carina Damm (Brazil) vs. Molly Helsel (USA)

  Wednesday - February 7, 2007
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From the event's promoter:
Fox Sports Net to show team matchup between Renzo Gracie's Pitbulls and Matt Lindland's Wolfpack same night at 11 p.m.

NEW YORK, February 7, 2007 -- The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, announced today that it will move its Friday, April 13, event from Lakeland, Florida, to the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, and that the event will be shown the same night on Fox Sports Net at 11 p.m. in all markets. The live show at Mohegan Sun will begin at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets will be available starting February 10 through www.ifl.tv or via Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com, by telephone or at Ticketmaster outlets.

"We are very excited that FSN has agreed to give us a window to show our product the same night, and we felt that in order to produce the best event possible we needed to move to a site and an area which we have already had success and know very well," said IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto. "As we have said all along, 2007 will be the year for us to test many things to see what works best, and although we know how strong the MMA following is in Florida and that we will be there at some point, we felt the best site for our first same-night broadcast would be Mohegan Sun."

Mohegan Sun hosted the finals of the IFL "World Team Championships" on December 29, 2006, and in front of a near-capacity crowd, Pat Miletich's Silverbacks defeated Matt Lindland's Wolfpack for the title.

The matchups at Mohegan Sun will include the Tucson-based Scorpions, coached by MMA legend Don Frye, taking on the Toronto-based Dragons, coached by MMA world champion Carlos "The Ronin" Newton. The Portland-based Wolfpack, led by world champion and Olympic wrestling Silver Medalist Matt Lindland, will take on the New York-based Pitbulls, led by world jiu-jitsu champion Renzo Gracie.

From the event's promoter:
Weekly National Coverage Debuts Friday, Feb. 23 at 11 p.m. as
Tiger Sharks and Condors Square Off;
First-ever Same-Night Broadcast Set For April 13

NEW YORK, February 7, 2007 -- The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, and television partner Fox Sports Net (FSN) today announced the first segment of its weekly national schedule of IFL programming to primarily air on Fridays at 11 p.m. local time, beginning February 23. The series begins with the 2007 season-opening matchup from Oakland, Calif., between the Seattle-based Tiger Sharks, coached by MMA and kickboxing world champion Maurice Smith, and the Condors of Southern California led by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA champion Marco Ruas.

The FSN schedule will follow the order of IFL events in the first third of the regular season. Then, as previously announced, the battle at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., between two of the league's two top teams, the Pitbulls, coached by Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master Renzo Gracie and based in New York, and the Wolfpack, coached by Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland and based in Portland, Ore., will be shown on same-night delay at 11 p.m. on Friday, April 13.

"Getting a more consistent schedule across the country in terms of both day and time was an important next step in our growth and we are glad to be able to continue to grow our FSN relationship," said IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto. "This schedule allows fans to better plan their viewing schedule and to know that they can usually see IFL action on Friday night every week. We are very excited that this schedule, along with our MyNetworkTV show in prime time on Monday nights, will continue to showcase our coaches and athletes and help both the IFL and Mixed Martial Arts gain a stronger footing in the sports landscape."

The 22 hours of original programming scheduled on FSN this year represents nearly 70% more than the 13 hours shown in 2006, when the network aired three hours of coverage of the IFL Legends Championship in May and June and followed up with 10 hours of IFL World Team Championship action, September through December.

The FSN coverage is in addition to the 22, two-hour episodes of "International Fight League's Total Impact," to be seen on over-the-air MyNetworkTV nationwide beginning on March 12. In all, 66 hours of original IFL programming is scheduled to run on the two networks, which together reach more than 95% of U.S. television households.

FSN To Broadcast 22 Hours Of IFL Coverage On Friday Nights – p.2

The February FSN schedule, with dates and times on each Regional FSN network, can be seen at www.ifl.tv/TV-Schedule.html. Viewers can also check their local schedule at http://msn.foxsports.com/tv/schedule.

The schedule of matchups on each FSN debut date is as follows for March and April:

February 23, Condors vs. Tiger Sharks (contested in Oakland, Calif., Jan. 19)
March 2, Lions vs. Razorclaws (Oakland, Jan. 19)
*March 9, Scorpions vs. Sabres (Houston, Feb. 2)
March 16, Anacondas vs. Silverbacks (Houston, Feb. 2)
March 23, Dragons vs. Wolfpack (Atlanta, Feb. 23)
March 30, Pitbulls vs. Red Bears (Atlanta, Feb. 23)
April 6, Condors vs. Sabres (Los Angeles, March 17)
April 13, Wolfpack vs. Pitbulls (Mohegan Sun., April 13 same night)
April 20, Anacondas vs. Razorclaws (Los Angeles, March 17)
April 27, Dragons vs. Scorpions (Mohegan Sun, April 13 show)
*West Coast only; event airs Sat., March 10 in remainder of country (check local listings)

Several IFL athletes and coaches will be featured on FSN's popular "Best Damn Sports Show Period" program on Thursday, February 8. Anacondas Coach Bas Rutten, Sabres Coach Ken Yasuda and four IFL competitors will appear in multiple segments.

Each of the nine regular season IFL events will consist of four teams – each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing – along with a special Superfight, for a minimum of 11 bouts per card. The team that wins the best three of five match setup will be declared the team winner for the match, similar to collegiate and high school wrestling meets. The IFL also differs from other MMA organizations in that bouts are held in an oversized five-rope boxing ring with three, four-minute rounds, each designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience for local fans.

Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 will compete in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15.

  Tuesday - February 6, 2007
Elite XC Signs Shields and "Ninja"
By FCF Staff

New promotion Elite XC officially announced yesterday that the organization has added Jake Shields and Murillo "Ninja" Rua to their growing roster of fighters. Elite XC is scheduled to have their premiere event this Saturday, February 10th in Southaven, Mississippi, a card that will also be televised on the Showtime Cable Network. With such notable MMA fighters like Renzo Gracie, Frank Shamrock, David Loiseau and Joey Villansenor set to compete for the new promotion, the addition of Shields and Rua only further bolsters Elite's fighter stable.

Shields of course is widely considered to be one of the world's better welterweight fighters, carrying a record of 16-4-1, the Cesar Gracie fighter has defeated such notable competitors like Yushin Okami, Carlos Condit and Hayato Sakurai. The Pride veteran Ninja Rua rebounded recently from difficult times when he defeated British fighter Mark Weir last September at Cage Rage 18. Prior to that, Rua had lost 4 of his last 5 fights competing in Pride, albeit, against such world class fighters like Paulo Filho, Sergei Kharitonov and Denis Kang. The announcement from Elite XC stated that Rua, who currently has a record of 12-7-1, would be competing in the promotion's middleweight division.

Both fighters are slated to make their Elite XC debut on the promotion's May 5th card. The new organization has already previously stated that fighters signed to Elite XC will be allowed to compete in other promotions, as long as there are no scheduling conflicts.

UFC 69 "Shootout" Card Beginning to Take Form
By FCF Staff

Ultimate Fighting Championship 69: "Shootout" will take place on April 7th, at the Toyota Centre in Houston, Texas, and the promotion has begun to announce some of the card's bouts. According to the UFC website, Georges St-Pierre (12-1) will finally defend his world welterweight title against Matt Serra (13-4), after their original scheduled fight for this past weekend, was called off due to a St-Pierre knee injury. The fight will mark the first time St-Pierre will defend his UFC belt after the Quebec fighter defeated former Champion Matt Hughes at UFC 68 on November 18th last fall. For Serra of course the title shot is the chance of a lifetime, as the Long Island fighter earned the chance to fight for the welterweight belt after winning the 170 pound bracket during the last season of "The Ultimate Fighter." Serra defeated Chris Lytle at the TUF Season 4 finale on November 11th by split decision, to entrench his upcoming bout with St-Pierre.

Matt Serra - Photo by Tom DeFazioGeorges St-Pierre - Photo by Loretta Hunt

In what will be yet another intriguing welterweight bout with plenty of future title shot implications, Diego Sanchez (18-0) will face off against another former TUF veteran in Josh Koscheck (9-1). Sanchez has been on a tear since winning his bracket in the first season of "The Ultimate Fighter", going 6-0 during his UFC tenure. Most recently the Team Jackson fighter tore through Joe Riggs at Ultimate Fight Night on December 13th, knocking out his highly regarded opponent in the first round. Perhaps even more impressively, Sanchez was also able to get by Karo Parisyan at UFN 6 last August, working his way to a unanimous decision victory over an opponent who is widely considered to be one of the top welterweights in the world. Koscheck has also impressed as of late, demonstrating a new set of stand-up skills that have been added to his arsenal via training with the American Kickboxing Academy. Since losing to Drew Fickett at UFN 2 on October 3rd, 2005, Koscheck has won 4 fights in a row, defeating Ansar Chalangov, Dave Menne, Jonathan Goulet and Jeff Joslin.

Pete Sell (7-2) will look to get back on track against middleweight Thales Leites (9-1), after being knocked out in highlight reel fashion by Scott Smith at TUF 4 finale last November. Leites had been undefeated until his last recent fight against Martin Kampmann, where at TUF 4 finals event, the Danish fighter defeated Leites by unanimous decision.

Although the UFC site has not listed the fight as of yet, the Houston Chronicle is reporting that the long rumored upcoming fight between Yushin Okami (19-3) and Mike Swick (9-1) will also be a go at UFC 69. Swick had said in an interview on FCF Radio on January 18th that this was the next fight he was hoping to sign, and that in all likelihood, it would materialize. Swick has been dominant in his UFC appearances thus far, winning 4 fights in the first round against such notable fighters as Joe Riggs and Gideon Ray. His only venture to go outside the first installment was his most recent fight against David Loiseau, where Swick, despite a late surge by the Canadian fighter, was clearly the winner in earning the unanimous decision victory at UFC 63 on September 23rd. Okami has impressed in all three of his UFC fights, since coming over from Japan to compete for the organization last summer. Okami has defeated Alan Belcher, Kalib Starnes and most recently Rory Singer to propel himself near the upper rankings of the UFC middleweight division. The winner of this fight could very well be in line for a title shot against Champion Anderson Silva, depending on what the promotion decides to do with the winner of the upcoming Jason Macdonald and Rich Franklin fight March 3rd.

Wesley "Cabbage" Correira: Veteran Fighter Ready for Silva at Elite XC
By Chris Onzuka

Wesley 'Cabbage' Correira - Photo by Mike Onzuka
Not many fighters are known by one name and even less fighters are known by the name of a vegetable (are there any?). Wesley "Cabbage" Correira has fought his way from the tough streets of Hilo, Hawaii, along with childhood friend BJ Penn, and rose to face two UFC Heavyweight champions. Since the height of his MMA career, Cabbage has had his share of victories and defeats. He is currently scheduled to fight the big Brazilian, Antonio Silva, who many are touting as the next big thing in the Superheavyweight division. This fight could mark be the turning point in Cabbage's MMA career. A win would reintroduce the iron jawed fighter back to the upper tier of the heavyweight division. However, a loss may sentence him to the lower ranks where he will serve a tough test for up and coming fighters.

FCF: It has been a long time, what have you been up to?
WC:   Nothing much, just cross training and getting ready for my fight on Showtime. I have been relaxing and trying to get fights, but something always seems to get in my way.

FCF: Personal or business-wise?
WC:   I don't know, a little bit of everything.

FCF: You were previously scheduled to fight in Cage Rage in England, but had to pull out. I read a post that you got mugged. Is that true? What exactly happened?
WC:   It was in the morning and I woke up and went out to get something to drink. It was first thing in the morning and I went out to buy water. I almost got back to my door and then something hit me in the head. The next thing I know I was waking up in front of my door. I was tripping out, so I went into my room, sat on the bed and gathered myself. I called my coach and told him that I think I got hit in the head or something. He said that I have to call the front desk and they sent security. The doctor said that I must have got in a fight or something because I had a mild concussion. They [the perpetrator] didn't take anything either.

FCF: You are scheduled to fight Antonio Silva in the inaugural Elite XC/Showtime event on February 10th. Silva is getting some buzz about him, stating that he may be the next great heavyweight. What do you think about him and the fight?
WC:   I think he is a big guy. I saw him fight, but I am a totally different fighter than he is. I think that I have his medicine. I saw him get knocked out by "Big E" [Eric Pele]. I fought Big E. I know that I can knock this guy out.

FCF: A lot of people are saying this is a "make or break" fight for you. What do you think and does this add any more pressure?
WC:   It doesn't add any pressure on me. If I beat this guy, that could mean a lot of things for me. If he beats me, then I just have to go back and train harder. I don't feel like I have to do anything differently.

FCF: There is a ton of buzz about Elite XC/Showtime and they have a great card. How do you feel about being involved in this event?
WC:   I feel good being involved in Showtime's first card. It feels wonderful to be mentioned along with those fighters. That is why I have been training extra hard. I flew to Oahu to train for the last two weeks. I am going on my second week right now.

FCF: How is your training going? The last time I saw you, you lost a ton of weight and looked to be in good shape.
WC:   I have been putting on some weight for this fight because I want to come in heavy. He [Silva] is a big guy. You remember in Super Brawl? I fought better when I was heavier. I don't fight well when I am lighter. He is a big guy, I don't want to go in there at 250 or 255 and he is 300lbs. That's crazy.

FCF: What weight are you looking at for the fight?
WC:   I am weighing in at 275, so maybe I will come in at 285lbs.

FCF: Formerly you were training with BJ's [Penn] camp. Who are you training with now?
WC:   I'm just cross training right now. BJ is not home right now, so I came up here (to Oahu) to work with Adrian Silva and Mike (Malone) from the Eastsidaz. Right now I am on the North shore working out with the Kai Garcia.

FCF: So are you still fighting out of BJ's camp?
WC:   Yes, I'm still fighting out of BJ's camp. I am just getting additional training. Every time that I trained with Mike (Malone) for the UFC's, I won.

FCF: When we last spoke you mentioned that you are considering moving down to the Light-heavyweight division, which I thought for a guy with your build was insane. Are you still considering that? Why?
WC:   Yeah, I am still considering that. The last time I saw you, I dropped more weight. I was weighing at 255lbs when we met and I still had a lot of weight that I could drop. I think that I could drop to 235 and keep that weight on and drop to 205 and be a heavy light heavyweight.

FCF: Where does Cabbage go from here, win or lose?
WC:   I am going to stay in the heavyweight division, win or lose. After I beat this guy, I am going to stay in the heavyweight division. I want to fight as a heavyweight a little more and then go down to light heavyweight.

FCF: How active do you want to be?
WC:   If I could fight every month that would be great. If I could fight every month, injury free that would be excellent. Realistically, I am looking at every two-and-a-half or three months.

FCF: Any words you want to shout out to your fans?
WC:   I just want to say thanks for the support. There is more to come from me that many of them haven't seen yet.

From the event's promoter:
Bodog Entertainment, ION Media
Networks Strike Alliance to
Broadcast BodogTV Reality Programming

Bodog Entertainment, the digital entertainment giant known for its cutting-edge programming, announced today that it has reached a multi-year agreement with ION Media Networks, which will make popular BodogTV-produced content available on ION Television, reaching more than 90 million U.S. homes, beginning February 13.

BodogFight: St. Petersburg, a mixed martial arts reality show that promises to build on the success of its hit debut season, will be the first program to be broadcast under the agreement. Episode 1 of the weekly series is scheduled to air Tuesday, February 13 at 11 p.m. Eastern/10 p.m. Central. On Saturday, Feburary 17, ION Television will also air an encore presentation of the BodogFight: USA vs. Russia pay-per-view event, which drew raves from fight fans when it was first televised in December.

Later in the year, Calvin Ayre Wild Card Poker II and other BodogFight seasons will be spotlighted on ION Television.

"The agreement with ION Media Networks marks a significant step for our TV productions," says Calvin Ayre, the billionaire founder of Bodog Entertainment. "Now, the edgy world of Bodog will be available to the largest television audience we've ever had. That news is very exciting for us."

Along with being broadcast on ION Television, BodogFight: St. Petersburg will be available to fight fans worldwide through video streaming on www.bodogfight.com. MMA followers will have access to previews, recaps, behind-the-scenes exclusives, fighter bios, a soundtrack featuring Bodog Music artists and much more footage only available on the award-winning web site.

A PPV spectacular, headlined by Superfights that pit some of the world's most prominent MMA competitors head-to-head, takes place in April following the eight-week BodogFight: St. Petersburg series.

ION Media Networks recently announced that its flagship television network, reaching over 90 million U.S. homes, was re-branded to ION Television, consistent with the company's corporate brand identity. This move reflects the energy and vision behind the network's plan to expand its programming and viewership. The alliance with BodogTV is an exciting building block in ION Television's expansion strategy. The new network brand was introduced to viewers on Monday, January 29, with the BodogFight: St. Petersburg season debuting Tuesday, February 13 at 11 p.m. Eastern/10 p.m. Central.

  Sunday - February 4, 2007
UFC 67: Silva Beats Lutter at his Own Game
in Non-Title Bout

By Steven Marrocco

Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 - "All or Nothing" presented the materialization of promising contenders from the talent pools of the defunct WFA and Pride FC. Boasting a live gate of 2.75 million, Zuffa's investment in the crop of overseas talent paid off, despite an anti-climactic main event that many in the audience had already written off.

After falling one an a half pounds shy of his required 185lb. mark, the dejected Travis Lutter braved a disappointed crowd to show a surprising ease in taking champ Anderson Silva to the ground. Unable to fire off more than a few of his pinpoint kicks and punches, Silva found himself on his back early in the first, tying the challenger up as he bided his time for a submission.

Though he maintained top position for the early minutes of the first, Lutter wasn't able to do much damage, and was subsequently pushed off by the Nogueira trained Jiu Jitsu black belt. Even after Lutter asserted himself with another takedown, gaining the mount on the champ, he found himself reversed by a stunning leg sweep technique from the bottom as Silva jolted himself upright.

The final stanza came in the second round, when Lutter yet again took Silva down, attempting to pass his guard. After pushing Lutter back with a two-legged upkick, Silva took advantage of Lutter's lowered head as Lutter hurtled back to guard, whereupon Silva cinched an easy triangle. Unable to squeeze himself out of the hold, Lutter capitulated at 2:11 of the second round, making Silva's first bout as middleweight champion a successful one.

Making his octagon debut, 2006 Pride Open Weight Grand Prix champ Mirko Filipovic walked his way to a sound defeat of NorCal Fighting Alliance heavyweight Eddie Sanchez. From the start, Mirko was the darling of the audience, especially a sizable contingent of Croatian fans who cheered raucously throughout the fight.

Stalking his relatively green foe throughout the ring, the Croatian Sensation proved once again that his left straight is the same highlight reel material as his left high kick. After assaulting Sanchez with a serious of punches, Cro Cop timed a left high kick that bounced off the top of Sanchez's head, setting the end in motion as Sanchez backpedaled towards the edge of the cage. After another straight left, Sanchez fell to the canvas and was quickly mounted by Cro Cop, who pounded out a TKO stoppage at 4:33 of the first.

Despite having fought for audiences several times greater than the 8,000 plus fans in attendance tonight, Pride/WFA import Quinton Jackson was not hesitant to admit how much his pre-fight hype affected him. "The UFC is doing big things right now," Jackson said. "I've never been more nervous before a fight."

Jackson's nerves definitely showed, as he fought opponent Marvin Eastman tentatively throughout the first, tying the wrestler up often as the two jockeyed for position against the cage. Though it was obvious both fighters had evolved since their last meeting in 2000, their wrestling match confounded the audience, who had been revved up for one of Quinton's high crotch slams.

Jackson's most effective new tool proved to be his dirty boxing skills, which he used to punish Eastman as he shot in for a takedown. Unable to get traction on the new canvas, Eastman ate an uppercut/hook combination that rocked him as he charged in with a right elbow. Wobbling back, the first round ended in another clinch.

With a round behind him, Jackson found his cage-legs as he continued to use his dirty boxing skills on an increasingly frustrated Eastman. Finally, Jackson landed a powerful uppercut as Eastman charged in, rocking the Las Vegas based fighter. Eastman sustained three more uppercuts before falling to the mat, his head bouncing violently off the mat. As Eastman turned away from the punishment as Jackson stood over him, Ref John McCarthy called a stop to the bout at 3:49 of the second.

"The Predator" Patrick Cote finally got his wish of a W in the octagon, playing it safe as he out pointed opponent Scott Smith in a Unanimous Decision victory.

Dropping to middleweight, veteran Terry Martin also picked up his first W in the octagon, flattening Jorge Rivera with a punch at 0:14 of the 1st round.

Undefeated WFA import Lyoto Machida also made good on his debut, outclassing the game Sam Hogar to take a unanimous 30-27 decision.

Roger Huerta made quick work of newcomer John Halverson, stopping him at :19 of the first after an ambiguously placed knee put Halverson out.

In the night's first upset, newcomer Frank Edgar out-hustled undefeated Tyson Griffin, ducking under a bevy of wild hooks to counterpunch his way to a unanimous decision victory.

Dustin Hazelett defeated last minute Diego Saraivia in a Unanimous Decision Victory.

UFC 67 Full Results
  • Anderson Silva def. Travis Lutter at 2:11 of R1 by submission (strikes)
  • Mirko Filipovic def. Eddie Sanchez at 4:33 of R1 by TKO (strikes)
  • Roger Huerta def. John Halverson at 0:19 of R1 by TKO (strikes)
  • Quinton Jackson def. Marvin Eastman at 3:49 of R2 by KO (punches)
  • Patrick Cote def. Scott Smith at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision
  • Terry Martin def. Jorge Rivera at :14 of R1 by KO (punches)
  • Frank Edgar def. Tyson Griffin at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision
  • Ryoto Machida def. Sam Hoger at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous Decision
  • Dustin Hazelett def. Diego Saravia at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision

Team USA Dominates "World's Best Fighter"
Report by Jim Genia - Photos by Gaby Genia

World's Best Fighter 1: Lyman Good - Photo by Gaby Genia
(February 3rd, Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City) It may have been chaotic behind the scenes, but at tonight's "World's Best Fighter" event at Boardwalk Hall, the action in the ring more than made up for it. With matchmaker Ed Hsu's card pitting some of New Jersey's best against representatives from South Korean, China and Japan, the evening's "Team USA versus Team Asia" motif steadily became "Team USA beating the crap out of Team Asia". Yes folks, aside from two impressive KOs in the San Da bouts, it was a veritable MMA trouncing. Highlights of the night included:
  • Team Tiger Schulmann's Lyman Good, who utilized precision striking to put the game Julio Cruz on queer street and keep him there until the ref stepped in.

  • The spirited submission battle waged by Kevin Roddy and Jong Man Kim. Kim had some fantastic grappling, but Roddy was always a step ahead, and had Kim tapping before the end of the first round.

  • Greg Soto's one-side beatdown over Hyun Kyu Lim. From takedown to hellacious elbows to armbar, this bout was all Soto.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Mike Massenzio sprawling on Okuda Masakatsu - Photo by Gaby Genia
Massenzio sprawling on Masakatsu

Full results:

Justin Eilers (Team USA-237lbs) vs. Ji Hoon Kim (Team Asia-245lbs)
Eilers via tap out due to strikes at 2:10 of R1

Mike Massenzio (Team USA-188lbs) vs. Okuda Masakatsu (Team Asia-185lbs)
Massenzio via unanimous decision.

Greg Soto (Team USA-169lbs) vs. Hyun Kyu Lim (Team Asia-169lbs)
Soto via armbar at 0:58 of R1

Kevin Roddy (Team USA-154lbs) vs. Jong Man Kim (Team Asia-154lbs)
Roddy via armbar at 4:57 of R1.

Brendan Barrett (Team Ronin-204lbs) vs. John Doyle (MFS/Daddis-206lbs)
No Contest due to doctor stoppage - Doyle fell out of ring.

Lyman Good (Team Tiger Schulmann-174lbs) vs. Julio Cruz (Team Renzo-174lbs)
Good via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 0:29 of R2.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Jong Man Kim in Kevin Roddy's guard - Photo by Gaby Genia
Kim in Roddy's guard

San Da
Aaron Miesner (Team USA-181lbs) vs. Ao Hai Lin (Team Asia-179lbs)
Miesner via majority decision

David Cummings (Team USA-152lbs) vs. Dai Shuang Hai (Team Asia-157lbs)
Hai via KO at 1:08 of R1

Lennox Chance (Team USA-129lbs) vs. He Teng (Team Asia-133lbs)
Teng via KO at 2:34 of R1

Valimaki Defends Lightheavyweight Title at MFC "Gridiron"
Report by Kelsey Mowatt - Photo by Brendan Leier

Maximum Fighting Championship 11: Victor Valimaki - Photo by Brendan Leier
The Shaw Conference Centre in Edmonton, Alberta, hosted the Maximum Fighting Championship's 11th installment tonight, coined "Gridiron," due to the fact two of the cities local professional football players, Mike Maurer and Adam Braidwood, were scheduled to compete. Although a wide array of local and national media were in attendance to report on tonight's fights involving the two Edmonton Eskimo players, it was the cards main event that featured MFC Lightheavyweight Champion Victor Valimaki and the up and coming Jared Kilkenny, which offered the evening's most compelling MMA action.

The Canadian Martial Arts Centre fighter Kilkenny has created quite a stir across Western Canada recently, having gone 8-1 to begin his MMA career, with all of the young fighter's wins coming way of strikes. For Valimaki, a title defense tonight would go a long way in securing another UFC appearance, after the Pro Camp fighter recently dropped a close split decision to David Heath at UFC Fight Night 8 on December 13th.

From the onset of the bell, it became clear that Valimaki was well aware of his opponent's reputation for striking, as the Lightheavyweight champion quickly took the much taller Kilkenny to the mat. From there it appeared that Valimaki might end the fight early, quickly taking Kilkenny's back in search of a rear naked choke. Kilkenny defended the submission attempt successfully and eventually worked his way around to face Valimaki from within his guard. As Kilkenny tried to free his arms to reign down blows, Valimaki transitioned into an armbar attempt, forcing Kilkenny to roll in order to avoid the fight ending submission. The CMAC fighter was able to free himself from Valimaki's grasp and began blasting in right hands to Valimaki's head from behind, and for several seconds, it appeared that an upset was definitely in the making. Showing tremendous heart and resiliency, a stunned Valimaki staggered back to his feet, as Kilkenny, now appearing quite fatigued from his vicious attack seconds earlier, paused to catch his breath.

Valimaki, still appearing dazed and fatigued in his own right, caught Kilkenny with a hard right hand that wobbled the challenger, and a follow up jab and right cross from the Champion, sent Kilkenny crashing to the mat. At 3:26 of the first round the referee jumped into save the fallen fighter from any more punishment, giving Valimaki his first title defense.

"April UFC guys," says Valimaki, whose record now stands at 9-3. "I might be back, so keep your eyes open for it."

The two other "super-fights" of the evening included the aforementioned Edmonton Eskimo football players, Mike Maurer and Adam Braidwood. Maurer was facing the highly regarded up and comer Roger Hollett, who quickly silenced the Edmonton crowd when he blasted Maurer with a left high kick to the full-backs head, and followed it up with a crushing left hook, to give the Nova Scotia fighter the knockout win in just 36 seconds. The linemen Braidwood faired much better in his MMA debut, stopping Ryan Jimmo with strikes at 1:54 of Round one.

Here are the rest of tonight's results for the MFC "Gridiron" card:
  • Josh Kryrejto submitted Paul Ebejer with a guillotine choke R1 0:21
  • Kyle Ayotte defeated Mike Bell with a rear naked choke R1 2:12
  • Ryan Machan over Tim Blanchard by TKO stoppage R1 2:01
  • Sean Locke submitted Dan Chambers with a side choke R1 4:50
  • Ryan McGillivray tapped out Aaron Gallant with an armbar R1 2:45
  • Matt Dutkowski worked his way to a split decision victory over Nigel Zettergreen
  • Steve Bruno defeated Graydon Tannas with a first round rear-naked choke
Look for a full report of tonight's action in the upcoming edition of Full Contact Fighter.

  Saturday - February 3, 2007
Victors Fit For NHB
Fit NHB steal the show at first Ultimate Warrior Challenge
Ultimate Warrior Challenge Feb 2nd, 2007
Prime Osborn III Convention Center-Jacksonville, FL
Report & photos by Keith Mills

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Marcus Foran digs a knee into Travis Cox' midsection - Photo by Keith Mills
Foran kneeing Cox
Jacksonville, FL With the rise of new MMA promotions vying for television and pay-per-view joining the UFC in snapping up the previously hyped up-and-comers over the last year the 2007 scouting scene is an open field. If the best bets for who are going to be news tomorrow are the fighters emerging from teams that have already fielded UFC fighters then shows like Ultimate Warrior Challenge should be added to the list of the ones to watch. Ultimate Warrior Challenge put on a very good show this night, especially considering it was their first show. Current UWC and former KOTC matchmaker Chris Cordeiro, also a veteran promoter who has held much smaller shows in Jacksonville himself, turned out to be the glue that held it all together for this sold out 5300 capacity event. The show was filmed but no plans are in the works for any form of distribution.

First let's cover the UFC vet-trained fighters since the show was based around them. ATT's Din Thomas' student Justin Thrift had a disappointing showing as Thrift didn't seem to be able to follow the gameplan against the unorthodox Coty Wheeler while Dean Lister's student Brad Royster showed promise with his kicking but his wild right haymakers did little to impress the judges in his decision loss to Gerald Lovato. Crafton Wallace had two students with Travis Cox and Dinis Sejduevski both picking up losses by decision and TKO respectively however Cox/Foran was undoubtably the fight of the night. American Top Team affiliate Knockout Fitness with Luigi Fioravanti and Paul Rodriguez in the corner were the only UFC vet-trained team to have an up-and-comer pull out a victory as Jeff Emerson scored a powerful elbow from mount to open a cut on the aforementioned Sejduevski, following up with punches for the TKO. Fioravanti and Rodriguez were also in the corner of UFC/TUF vet Seth Petruzelli for the main event where Petruzelli made quick work of previously undefeated as a pro Bernard Rutherford from Georgia.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Gerald Lovato back-mounted on Brad Royster - Photo by Keith Mills
Lovato back-mounted on Royster

So who were the fighters that beat the up-and-comers trained by the UFC vets? Aside from Knockout Fitness/ATT's Emerson the night was all about a relatively new team named Fit NHB. Fit NHB's Coty Wheeler beat Thomas' Thrift, Marcus Foran beat Wallace's Cox, and Gerald Lovato beat Lister's Royster. Fit NHB also fielded Toby Johnson who was supposed to fight Lister's Waachim Spiritwolf but due to an injury Johnson ended up defeating Eric Hill out of Spartan Academy in Orlando. If you haven't heard of Fit NHB you probably will soon considering ROTR Welterweight tournament runner-up and WEC contender Carlos Condit calls Fit NHB his home. Based out of Albuquerque, NM this team may be behind (Greg) Jackson's Fight Team in terms of notoriety but actually according to Condit Fit NHB started out as an affiliate of Jackson's before they went their separate ways. Definitely keep an eye on these guys.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Toby Johnson locking up a triangle choke on Eric Hill - Photo by Keith Mills
Johnson locking up triangle choke on Hill

In the main event UFC/TUF vet Seth Petruzelli defeated Bernard Rutherford from Georgia, a regional favorite previously undefeated as a pro. Both fighters scored with punches on the feet but Rutherford seemed intent on taking the fight to the ground while Petruzelli forced Bernard to stand and trade. As Rutherford was regaining his feet from one such unsuccessful takedown attempt Petruzelli scored the right/left/right that seemed to stun Rutherford and sent him to the mat on his back while Petruzelli's follow-up overhand right to the face of the prone Rutherford was the KO blow.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Seth Petruzelli pounding on Bernard Rutherford - Photo by Keith Mills
Petruzelli pounding on Rutherford

The card also had two fights with local team Hit Squad who went 1-1. Hit Squad's Ali Radwan won his rematch against a questionably-conditioned Joe Lane out of Team Adrenaline while Hit Squad's Jonathan Fernandez lost his debut fight against Team Obaki's Tony Vartanian.

Ultime Warrior Challenge: Jeff Emerson takes Dinis Sejduevski for a ride - Photo by Keith Mills
Emerson takes Sejduevski for a ride

  • Coty Wheeler def. Justin Thrift by unanimous decision
  • Ali Radwan def. Joe Lane 1:59 R3 by rear choke
  • Marcus Foran def. Travis Cox by unanimous decision
  • Tony Vartanian def. Jonathan Fernandez 1:40 R1 by TKO
  • Gerald Lovato def. Brad Royster by unanimous decision
  • Jeff Emerson def. Dinis Sejduevski 1:40 R1 by TKO
  • Toby Johnson def. Eric Hill 1:59 R1 by triangle choke
  • Seth Petruzelli def. Bernard Rutherford 1:47 R1 by KO

IFL Press Release:
IFL logo
Matt Lindland Wins Superfight; Horodecki Decisions Palaszewski to Clinch Win for Anacondas over Defending Champion Silverbacks

HOUSTON, February 2, 2007- The Tokyo-based Sabres, led by Ken Yasuda and Los Angeles-based Anacondas, coached by Bas Rutten, won their respective season-opening International Fight League matchups today in front of 4,531 at Reliant Arena in Houston. Matt Lindland, coach of the Portland-based Wolfpack submitted Carlos Newton, Toronto-based Dragons' coach in the "Superfight" which followed the team matchups.

The Sabres won, 3-2, over the Scorpions, coached by Don Frye and based in Tucson, while the Anacondas upended the defending IFL World Team Champion Silverbacks, led by Pat Miletich, by the same 3-2 count.

Lindland earned the victory with a second-round submission, taking out Newton with a series of punches to the face, backing Newton into the corner before dropping to the ground for the guillotine choke to finish the match.

The Houston card marked the first event in the Southwest for the IFL (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, and is part of the full 11-event IFL 2007 schedule, the most comprehensive advance schedule in the history of fight sports.

In the first matchup, Antonio McKee (Long Beach, Calif.) got the Sabres (1-0) off to a good start with a TKO victory over Gabe Rivas (Tucson, Ariz.), when he delivered a kick to Rivas' midsection which sent the Scorpions' (0-1) welterweight crumbling to the mat with a leg injury. The referee immediately stopped the bout and Rivas left under his own power. Light heavyweight Vladimir Matyushenko (Retchisa, Belarus) pushed the Sabres' advantage to 2-0 with a first-round submission victory over Dwayne Compton (Tucson, Ariz.), gaining a side mount and converting the armbar, from which Compton could not escape. Scorpions' heavyweight Chad Griggs (Tucson, Ariz.) pulled his team within 2-1 with a third-round TKO triumph over John Marsh in a hard-hitting bout. Lightweight Savant Young (Pasadena, Calif.) clinched the victory for the Sabres with a hard-fought unanimous decision over Ed West (Tucson, Ariz.) in an entertaining battle. Matt Ver Halen scored a lightweight victory by unanimous
decision over scrappy Masaaki Izena (Tokyo) for the final 3-2 margin.

In the highly-anticipated battle between the Anacondas (1-0) and Silverbacks (0-1), heavyweight Ben Rothwell (Kenosha, Wis.) struck first blood for the defending champs, registering a second-round TKO over a game Matt Thompson (Austin, Texas), who served as a replacement for the Anacondas' regular at the spot, Krzysztof Soszynski. In the welterweight bout, Jay Hieron (Las Vegas, Nev.) battled past another alternate, Victor Moreno (Des Moines, Iowa) to even the match with a first-round submission by rear naked choke. Moreno fought in place of Rory Markham, who was out with an eye injury. Anacondas middleweight Benji Radach (Longview, Wash.) took a slugfest from Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa), landing a series of punches to finish off the TKO at 2:22 of the second round. The much-hyped lightweight battle between Chris Horodecki (London, Ontario) of the Anacondas and Bart Palaszewski (Wonderlake, Ill.) of the Silverbacks was everything fans expected, with Horodecki taking a split
decision to secure the team victory for Rutten's squad. Light heavyweight Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.) took a split decision from Alex Schoenauer (Las Vegas, Nev.), completing the scoring.

The IFL next moves to the Gwinnett Center in suburban Atlanta, where the Dragons (Toronto), coached by Newton, take on the Wolfpack (Portland), coached by Lindland, and the Red Bears (Chicago), led by Igor Zinoviev, battle the Pitbulls (New York), led by Renzo Gracie. Popular MMA veterans Robbie Lawler and Eduardo Pamplona will match up in the "Superfight" following the team competition.

The IFL is the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league. Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 will compete in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, 2007 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15, 2007.

The 10 venues for the 2007 season (The Forum in Los Angeles will host two events) will scale to between 7,000 and 13,000 seats, which has been consistent with the IFL's plan of managed growth.

About the IFL

International Fight LeagueTM (IFL) is the world's first professional mixed martial arts sports league. IFL has its headquarters in New York, NY and offices in Las Vegas, NV. For more information about IFL, please see: www.ifl.tv

International Fight League
Reliant Arena, Houston, February 2, 2007
Sabres (Tokyo) def. Scorpions (Tucson), 3-2
WW/170 – Antonio McKee, Sabres, def. Gabe Rivas, Scorpions, via TKO (injury), 3:29, 2nd
LH/205 – Vladimir Matyushenko, Sabres, def. Dwayne Compton, Scorpions, via submission (armbar), 1:47, 1st
HW/265 – Chad Griggs, Scorpions, def. John Marsh, Sabres, via TKO (ref stoppage/strikes), 2:32, 3rd
LW/155 – Savant Young, Sabres def. Ed West, Scorpions, via decision (unanimous) after 3 rounds
LW/155 (alt.) – Matt Ver Halen, Scorpions, def. Masaaki Izena, Sabres, via decision (unanimous) after 3 rounds

Anacondas (Los Angeles) def. Silverbacks (Quad Cities), 3-2
HW/265 – Ben Rothwell, Silverbacks, def. Matt Thompson, Anacondas, via TKO (strikes), 1:47, 2nd
WW/170 – Jay Hieron, Anacondas, def. Victor Moreno, Silverbacks, via submission (rear naked choke), 1:55, 1st
MW/185 – Benji Radach, Anacondas, def. Ryan McGivern, Silverbacks, via TKO (ref stoppage/strikes), 2:22, 2nd
LW/155 – Chris Horodecki, Anacondas def. Bart Palaszewski, Silverbacks, via decision (split) after 3 rounds
LH/205 – Mike Ciesnolevicz, Silverbacks, def. Alex Schoenauer, Anacondas, via decision (split) after 3 rounds

MW/185: Matt Lindland def. Carlos Newton, via submission (guillotine choke), 1:43, 2nd

IFL Standings Through Feb. 2
Team Overall Match
Anacondas 1-0 3-2
Condors 1-0 3-2
Lions 1-0 3-2
Sabres 1-0 3-2
Dragons 0-0 0-0
Wolfpack 0-0 0-0
Pitbulls 0-0 0-0
Red Bears 0-0 0-0
Razorclaws 0-1 2-3
Scorpions 0-1 2-3
Silverbacks 0-1 2-3
Tiger Sharks 0-1 2-3

Special Awards
(Sabres vs. Scorpions)
Best KO – Antonio McKee, Sabres
Best submission – Vladimir Matyushenko, Sabres
Fastest finish – Vladimir Matyushenko, Sabres
Most exciting fight – Masaaki Izena, Sabres, vs. Matt Ver Halen

(Anacondas vs.Silverbacks)
Best KO – Benji Radach, Anacondas
Best submission – Jay Hieron, Anacondas
Fastest Finish – Jay Hieron, Anacondas
Fight of the Night – Chris Horodecki, Anacondas vs. Bart Palaszewski, Silverbacks

Most Valuable Fighter – Ben Rothwell, Silverbacks

  Thursday - February 1, 2007
Newton Ready for Lindland:
Canadian Veteran Faces Toughest Test Friday Since His Return

By Peter Parsons

Carlos Newton - Photo by Joel Gold
Carlos Newton made his return to the world of MMA last September as the coach of the Toronto Dragons in the IFL. After a two-year absence from fighting, Newton stepped back into the ring at the K-1 Hero's event last October, defeating Tokimitsu Ishizawa in just 22 seconds by TKO.

Newton closed out 2006 in a rematch with fellow IFL coach Renzo Gracie, losing a controversial split decision at the IFL's World Team Championship Finals on December 29th. "As soon as they said split decision, I was like, 'Oh boy.'" Newton continues, "We still have a lot of progress to be made in this industry as far as the judging goes."

This was one of a few close decisions in Newton's career that he found himself on the short end of, including split decision losses to Dan Henderson at UFC 17 and Daiju Takase at Pride: Bushido 3. "For me, that type of disappointment is nothing new, you know I have a lot of blemishes on my record, so in time it's something I learned to take in stride and take it as it comes. I continuously fight the best guys in the world and I think everyone respects that," said the 13-12 Newton.

Newton will undoubtedly be fighting one of the best fighters in the world on Friday night as he returns to the IFL ring in Houston, Texas. Newton will be facing fellow IFL coach Matt Lindland, who is considered by many to be the top middleweight in the world.

When asked to comment on the recent signing of Lindland by BodogFight to face the number one heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelienenko on April 6 in Russia, Newton responded, "that's up to him and his manager you know to make those decisions, for me personally I wouldn't take a fight like that." Newton continues, "Some guys have their own reasons and you've got to respect his decision. I'm sure they're going to do great. Matt's a tough guy and Fedor's not going to take him lightly."

Newton did not reveal a set game plan for his fight with Lindland, but had this to say, "Game plan is to go out there and fight hard and throw everything at him. I don't know how serious of an opponent he takes me, but I know he respects my skills. I'm a comfortable 185 now and I think he's going to get a little bit more then what he expects and it's going to be a great fight."

A victory over Matt Lindland would show that the former UFC welterweight champ still belongs at the top of the MMA heap. Newton remains confident that he still has what it takes to compete with the best. "I know he's the top middleweight in the world right now and I just want to see how I will do against someone of his caliber. I strongly believe that I can win this fight, it's a good match-up for me."

Newton remains unfazed when talking about his underdog role in his fight with Lindland. "That kind of stuff doesn't play in my mind one bit, underdog or not, a fight's a fight and you got to do your best each time."

Training for the fight has been going very well for Carlos. "I just rolled the training from the Renzo fight straight through. After the Renzo fight I only took about three or four days off and went right back into the gym again," said Newton, who has been training with his IFL Dragons.

"When you have so many talented fighters in the same room, there's a real wealth of knowledge and experience there that you can easily tap into. Very often as a coach it goes both ways, you're learning and teaching at the same time," said the jiu-jitsu expert Newton who trains his kickboxing with long time trainer and manager Terry Riggs and his boxing with Everton McEwen.

When asked if the two-year layoff helped rejuvenate his career, Newton replied, "The layoff helped rejuvenate ME. It was the break I needed. I needed to sit back and relax and enjoy some of my accomplishments."

Newton, the first ever Canadian UFC champion was a pioneer in the Canadian MMA scene. "I think I definitely paved the way for Canadian fighters. I think the other guys would admit to that. I've been doing this for 12 years, that ain't no drop in the bucket."

Newton plans on fighting for quite some time yet. "I'm still fairly young, I'm only 30 years old, I'll be doing this for at least another eight years." This is good news for fans of the "Ronin" who can look forward to watching the charismatic fighter continue his MMA journey starting Friday night with his toughest fight since returning to MMA last fall.

IFL Press Release:
New Series Chronicling IFL Stars' Bout Action and Life Out of Ring Will Air Mondays 8-10 p.m.

NEW YORK, February 1, 2007 – A new television series, "International Fight League's Total Impact," which follows the athletes, coaches and personalities of the International Fight League, the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts organization, heads this spring's new lineup on MyNetworkTV. The program will air each Monday from 8-10 p.m. across the entire MyNetworkTV network, which reaches more than 95% of U.S. homes, beginning on March 13. This marks the first regularly-scheduled over-the-air broadcast of the sport of mixed martial arts.

In the IFL, 12 five man teams (10 based in the United States, one based in Toronto and one in Tokyo) each with a world champion coach, will vie over a nine month, 11 event season for the first-ever IFL Championship. IFL cameras will cover the stories of each of the athletes both in and out of the ring, bringing fans all of the event and behind the scenes action. Segments will take viewers up close during the competition and also into the locker rooms, training routines, and home lives of this diverse set of athletes who are a part of the world's fastest growing professional and recreational sport.

Each program will be re-broadcasted on Saturdays from 8-10 p.m. local time in each market.

  Wednesday - January 31, 2007
UFC Roster Packs a Bigger Punch (and Slam)
with New Additions

By Derek Callahan

Gone are the days of stellar cards with all big-name fighters in the UFC, but so goes with the territory of free and frequent events. With their February 3rd Pay-Per-View show, the UFC seems to be finding a happy medium between stacked cards and weak showings. Some fights are intriguing, some evoke excitement, and others look to induce highly skilled bouts.

Starting at the top, Anderson Silva (17-4) will defend his title for the first time against Travis Lutter (9-3). True to the word of The Ultimate Fighter finale, Lutter is getting a shot at the title that exemplifies exactly what TUF is there for. As a strong wrestler and fantastic grappler, Lutter has been erratic since he was initially heard from by UFC fans. After knocking out Marvin Eastman in 2004 in his big stage debut, Lutter has been on-and-off impressive and looks to ride some of the first momentum he's had in some time. As a reality show, TUF is designed to give talented fighters who have strayed, the chance for a puncher's chance. After winning three straight, including the title shot-clinching armbar of Patrick Cote, Lutter doesn't need a punchers chance. He needs to see how Daiju Takase and Ryo Chonan handed Silva half his career losses: with submissions.

Fortunately for Lutter, Silva has been a world-class striker that can be submitted if found open to one. Seven out of nine of Lutter's wins have come by submission, so it stands to reason that that's his best shot. Short of a one-punch haymaker or a successful, quick combination that lands, Silva won't be out struck. It's a main event that requires Lutter to impose his game and not get caught by Silva's on the way.

If that's the intriguing fight of the night, the next two will provide the excitement. Mirko FiIipovic's (21-4-2) record is laughably superior in strength of opposition than just about anyone else on the UFC roster. All those complaints about a moribund heavyweight division had better get eaten, which was obviously part of the UFC's mindset in bringing in one of the world's top-five heavyweights. For proof that he can knock out a tough looking opponent and convince fans who haven't yet seen him that he is indeed a brutal tactician, he faces Eddie Sanchez (7-0).

For potentially donating his body to impact research, Sanchez will have the chance to give himself something immediately in common with Kevin Randleman, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mark Hunt and Fedor Emelianenko. If he can somehow continue the seven-fight win streak that has been his career, it would be the biggest catapult for a contender since Joe Lauzon knocked out Jens Pulver. As much as "Li'l Evil" is an all time great though, Filipovic's striking is on a plane above that which Sanchez has faced, or likely will ever face again. The results are so assuredly exciting, but the chances for Sanchez are so slim. That just might be why this bout is compelling in spite of itself.

Just as groundbreaking as the entrance of Mirko "Cro-Cop" into the UFC is that of Quinton Jackson (23-8). The reason of course, is that Jackson holds a win over current UFC poster boy Chuck Liddell. Credit the company for knowing a good storyline when they see one, because the image of Jackson dominating the UFC champion on the mat and finishing him with the help of a solid body attack isn't an easy one to forget. Marvin Eastman (13-6-1) may not have, but he may also be wondering how he did it the last time. After beating a much greener Jackson in both of their pro debuts, Eastman has had a successful, yet professionally erratic career. He doesn't lose to bad fighters, and has beaten his share of them. He played a part in the unraveling of Alex Stiebling, he avenged an earlier loss to Vernon White and most recently he ground out a close decision over Travis Wiuff.

That said a re-energized Jackson, fighting in the U.S. for only the second time since 2001, still has a test in Eastman. Although it's been almost two years since his KO loss to Mauricio Rua, Jackson is still working his way up in competition. Obviously his last win over Matt Lindland constitutes a world-class victory, but it did come against a fighter moving up in weight for the challenge of fighting him. It came down to a split decision in a competitive bout. Beyond that, two wins over Hirotaka Yokoi and Yoon Dong Sik don't do much to suggest that any power bombs are on their way. A win over Eastman however, just might.

The Ultimate Fighter 4 rears its head again with the appearance of Scott Smith (11-2) on the card. Smith takes on an interesting opponent in Patrick Cote (8-4). Coming into his fight with Tito Ortiz, in just the sixth bout of his career, Cote was heavily hyped. He had to be though, or else the fight would be less interesting than it already was. So even though it died down a little bit after the Ortiz loss, it took a bigger hit when Cote dropped two straight to Joe Doerksen and Chris Leben. Those two are just a brief litmus test of how deep the middleweight division goes, and there is a stark distance from their level and that of the Rich Franklin and Anderson Silva's of the world. Cote has a chance though, to put his TUF loss to Lutter behind him and move forward with a win over Scott Smith. Cote has been tough, and his performances against good competition, stands to reason that he can hold his own. The question is what else can he do?

Rounding out the card is a varied array of experience and talent. Sam Hoger (8-2) takes on Lyoto Machida (8-0), who should be expected to fight Rich Franklin soon. It is more than likely that the Brazilian's previous win over the former champ, is the main reason he's been invited to the UFC.

Perennial workhorse Jorge Rivera (21-5) is in against Terry Martin (14-3) in a middleweight bout. Besides an old school debut loss to Stephan Bonnar that some would argue doesn't count on his record because of a murky, undecided amateur/pro distinction, Martin's only other losses have been in the UFC. He's been on a good two-win streak since losing to Jason Lambert last April, but smart money sometimes just goes to experience in favor of Rivera.

Frank Edgar (6-0) is nicknamed "The Answer" but there is no question that he has talent. His wrestling is generally exciting enough to fans and certainly strong enough for opponents. He's ground out two straight decisions and faces his toughest challenge yet in Tyson Griffin (8-0). Griffin already has the big name victim after a stoppage win over Duane Ludwig last June. It's substance time now, and both prospects will be looking to back it up.

World's Best Fighter Preview
By Jim Genia

What: World's Best Fighter
When: February 2nd
Where: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City

It's a big MMA world out there, and it's only getting bigger. The newest addition to Atlantic City fight shows is promoter Gianfranco Fiori's "World's Best Fighter", which will blend mixed martial arts bouts with San Da bouts (a type of kickboxing with throws), and will pit a roster of Japanese, Chinese and Koreans against a slew of Americans. And though the names on Team Asia are relative unknowns to fans on this side of the hemisphere, thanks to Ed Hsu's matchmaking, Team USA is stocked with well-known badasses. Here's a closer look at some of the Team USA fighters:

Justin Eilers – Miletich Fighting Systems
One of the best heavyweights not under contract with the UFC, Eilers is a veteran of some serious throwdowns. Not afraid to throw leather (nor risk get knocked out), this Miletich-trained slugger promises to be a crowd-pleaser -- whether he wins or not.

Mike Massenzio – Jerry Jones
A top dog in the New Jersey middleweight ranks, Massenzio is a Reality Fighting champ notorious for his ground-and-pound and constant pressure. No matter what his opponent brings to the table, you can expect this one to go the mat.

Greg Soto – Jersey Shore BJJ
Considered one of the hottest welterweight up-and-comers, Soto is another wrestling stud-turned-fighter. The big question here: how good is Hyun Kyu Lim's sprawl?

Jon Murphy – Anthracite Combat Club
He can box, and when he needs to, can pull out a last-minute submission. Murphy's looked very impressive thus far in his short MMA career. Can he keep up his winning ways against international competition?

Tim Troxell – Evolution MMA
From a green amateur to a smooth professional – Troxell is evolving as a fighter right before our eyes. At WBF he'll face his toughest test yet in the form of rough-and-tumble Mike Murray. Will Troxell wither under Murray's nonstop punching?

Lyman Good – Team Tiger Schulmann
The dude can hit, and hit hard. At a Ring of Combat event last year, Good landed some deadly strikes that knocked his opponent through the ropes -- and broke his own hand in the process. On February 2nd, will Good still pack that same wallop?

The fight card as of 1/31:

Team USA Vs. Team Asia

HW: Justin Eilers vs. Ji Hoon Kim
MW: Mike Massenzio vs. Okuda Masakatsu
WW: Greg Soto vs. Hyun Kyu Lim
LW: Lee Gibson vs. Jong Man Kim
HW: Jon Murphy vs. Wee Seung Bae

San Da
Lennox Chance vs. He Teng
Peter Kaljevic vs. Dai Shuang Hai
Aaron Miesner vs. Ao Hai Lin
David Cummings vs. Tai Quan Zhang
Zao Zi Long (Team China) vs. Yu Yang Rae (Team Korea)

Non-International MMA bouts
145lbs: Mike Murray (TS-MMA) vs. Tim Troxell (Evolution MMA)
175lbs: Lyman Good (TS-MMA) vs. Julio Cruz (Team Renzo)

WBF North American Light-Heavyweight MMA Championship
Brandon Barrett (Team Ronin) vs. John Doyle (Team MFS/Daddis)

  Tuesday - January 30, 2007
The Northern Touch

MFC "Gridiron": Valimaki, Kilkenny Headlines this Saturday's Event

The Shaw Conference Centre, in Edmonton, Alberta, will host the Maximum Fighting Championship's latest installment, "Gridiron", this Saturday night, February 3rd. The card will feature MFC Lightheavyweight Champion Victor Valimaki (8-3) looking to defend his title against up and coming Canadian Martial Arts Centre fighter, Jared Kilkenny (5-1). Valimaki won the organization's LHW crown last September, when he defeated Kilkenny's teammate, Jason Day at MFC 10, by stopping Day with strikes in the first round. Less than three weeks later, Valimaki defeated the veteran Vernon White at Vancouver's Elite Fighting Championship on September 29th, working his way to a unanimous decision victory. In all likelihood, it was this victory that catapulted the Edmonton fighter to his UFC debut on December 13th at Ultimate Fight Night 8, where Valimaki dropped a close split decision loss to David Heath. Valimaki will be looking to rebound from the disappointing loss with a title defense against Kilkenny, in the hopes that a solid performance will see his way back into the UFC.

Kilkenny has already built a reputation as a powerful striker during his young career, with all five of his professional victories coming way of stoppage due to strikes. Tack on 3 more amateur wins all ending by TKO or KO, and one can see why the Lethbridge fighter's reputation precedes him. Most recently, Kilkenny stopped Marcus Hicks shortly into Round one with strikes, at Rumble in the Cage's "Season Beatings" on New Year's Eve. Kilkenny previously competed at heavyweight, but recently dropped down to fight at 205.

The event is coined "Gridiron" due to the fact that two professional football players from the Canadian Football League's Edmonton Eskimo's will be competing on the card. Mike Maurer will be fighting for the third time in his MMA career, in his last fight at MFC 9 last year on March 10th; the Eskimo full-back defeated Darran Apels in the first round by TKO. In his only other fight, Maurer drew with Chris Harker at the Ultimate Martial Arts Championship 1 last April. His opponent will be Roger Hollett, who is regarded by many in Atlantic, Canada, to be one of the region's better up and coming lightheavyweights. Hollett has gone 3-0 to begin his career, with all three of the fighter's victories coming way of submission.

Adam Braidwood, Maurer's teammate from the Eskimo's, will be making his MMA debut against Ryan Jimmo. For Jimmo, who comes from a well accomplished competition background in Karate, he will also be looking to make his first MMA fight a successful one, in his bout with the heavyweight lineman.

In another notable fight scheduled for Saturday night's action, Ryan McGillivray (2-0), who is a member of the Pro-Camp team which currently includes Jason Macdonald and Victor Valimaki, will be taking on Aaron Gallant (1-0) in a welterweight clash. Jason Day had been scheduled to fight Yan Pellerin in a lightheavyweight bout, but Pellerin recently incurred an injury training, and as a result the fight has been cancelled.

Vigneault Out, Schulte in, to face Goulet at TKO 28

Steven Vigneault has injured his knee and will be unable to fight Jonathan Goulet for the TKO Welterweight Championship at TKO 28 on February 9th, to be held in Montreal, Quebec. As a result, the TKO website is reporting that the title bout between the two has been moved to June 1st. Goulet will still look to improve his record of 16-7 that night, as Thomas Schulte (13-5) from New Mexico's Team Jackson will head north to take on Goulet instead.

The TKO 28 card still has two championship bouts lined up for the upcoming event. Hatsu Hioki (11-1-1) will look to defend his TKO Featherweight title against Mark Hominick (13-5), after taking the Team Tompkins' fighter's belt away last May at TKO 25. Hominick's teammate, Sam Stout (10-2-1), will look to defend his TKO Lightweight Championship against Brazilian Top Team Canada's head Jiu-Jitsu instructor, Fabio Holanda (4-4).

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New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Maximum Fighting Championship promoter Mark Pavelich and Hermes Franca.

Click here to listen/download.  

From the event's promoter:
30-Minute, High-Octane Program Premieres This Week

LOS ANGELES (January 30, 2007) -- Shamrock vs. Gracie: Countdown To DESTINY, a new 30-minute show previewing the highly anticipated debut telecast of the newest phenomenon in mixed martial arts--EliteXC, is currently airing on SHOWTIME (next play on SHOWTIME EXTREME 7:50 p.m. ET/PT) and will air regularly through Feb. 10, across the premium network's multiplexes and On Demand outlets (see air dates and times below).

Countdown To DESTINY details the impending match-up between legendary mixed martial arts (MMA) pioneers Frank Shamrock and Renzo Gracie, which will air live on SHOWTIME on Feb. 10 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

Viewers will get one step closer to 'DESTINY' with extensive interviews and an in-depth look at the two fighters who are at the center of one of MMA's fiercest rivalries.

Complete with fight footage and interviews from Shamrock, Gracie, SHOWTIME announcers Bill Goldberg and Mario Lopez as well as other experts, Countdown To DESTINY provides ringside access to the fighters and the amazing history behind this high-stakes duel. Discover what makes the fighters tick and what to expect when the two clash in the main event of an eagerly awaited, five-bout television event.

The special also showcases exclusive footage and interviews with KJ Noons, Gina Carano and Charles "Crazy Horse" Bennett, who will be featured on the televised undercard.

Shamrock, the first fighter to successfully incorporate wrestling, jiu-jitsu and kickboxing into one fluid art form, looks to cement his legacy as one of the world's best with a win over Gracie.

Gracie, on the other hand, looks to clear his family name with a definitive win over Shamrock, who last year knocked out Renzo's cousin, Cesar, in just 21 seconds.

Viewers will learn more about Carano, the leading lady of MMA, and meet multi-talented boxing/MMA star, Noons, as he prepares for the gallop of his life against the unpredictable "Crazy Horse."

Carano's talents and looks have quickly made her one of MMA's most popular personalities. Trained in Muay Thai at the famous Master Toddy's gym in Las Vegas, Carano has parlayed her stardom into a stint on the Oxygen Network's reality television show, "Fight Girls," and is the featured fighter in an episode of Warrior Nation now airing on MSNBC.

Noons is one of the only athletes to have fighting contracts for both MMA and boxing. He boasts a 7-1 pro boxing record with six knockouts, a 3-0 MMA record with three knockouts, and a 13-1 Muay Thai record with 10 knockouts.
"Crazy Horse" Bennett has become well known throughout the MMA world for his unique pre-and post-fight antics. He once appeared at a pre-fight press conference in a ski-mask because he did not want to be seen fighting an opponent that he called "an amateur."
In just 30 minutes, Shamrock vs. Gracie: Countdown To DESTINY provides a variety of compelling reasons to tune in on February 10, as SHOWTIME and ProElite, Inc. usher in the next generation of live MMA events.

For more information on EliteXC, Showtime Networks Inc., and ProElite, Inc., please visit www.ProElite.com and www.SHO.com.

Shamrock vs. Gracie: Countdown To DESTINY

Tues. 1/307:50 p.m.SHOWTIME EXTREME®
  *2:30 a.m.SHO
Wed. 1/31*1:30 a.m. SHO
Thurs. 2/17:30 p.m. SHOWTIME® TOOTM
Friday 2/2*12:30 a.m.SHO
  6:30 p.m.SHOWTIME® TOOTM
Sat. 2/37 p.m.SHO
  *1:30 a.m.SHO
Sun. 2/44:30 p.m.SHO
Mon. 2/5*3 a.m.SHO
Tues. 2/69:30 p.m.SHOWTIME® TOOTM
Wed. 2/7*1:30 a.m.SHO
Thurs. 2/8*1 a.m.SHOWTIME EXTREME®
Fri. 2/911:15 p.m.SHO
Sat. 2/104:30 p.m.SHO
  *11:45 a.m. SHOWTIME EXTREME®
* Next Day

  Monday - January 29, 2007
Soszynski Injured: Rematch with Rothwell Delayed
By FCF Staff

International Fight League heavyweight, Krzysztof Soszynksi, confirmed to FCF this afternoon that he has sustained an injury while preparing for this weekend's upcoming IFL in Houston, where he was scheduled to meet Silverback fighter Ben Rothwell. As a result, he will be unable to compete, and local Houston fighter Matt Thompson, (3-1) will take his place. The bout would have been the second time the two had fought, as Rothwell stopped Soszynski with strikes last April in the first round, at the IFL's "Legends Championship 2006" event.

"I did a lot of damage to my lower costal cartilage, the area that joins the ribs to your sternum," Soszynski says in describing his injury. "6 weeks off to heal. I was unable to do anything that involved the abdominal muscles. I was in a lot of pain for 4 weeks. Everything is finally starting to heal up, I will be back to full training in about 10 days. I will be ready for March 17th, IFL show in Los Angeles."

Since their first encounter, Soszynski had gone on to win 4 fights in a row, and in the process defeated other IFL heavyweights like Devin Cole and Tom Howard. In his last fight on December 29th at the IFL's Championship final event, the Anaconda fighter dropped a unanimous decision loss to Mike Whitehead, in one of the card's "super-fights." Rothwell, who carries a record of 20-5, is widely regarded by many as the league's best heavyweight fighter, and has won all four of his IFL fights in the first round. In his last fight at the league's Championship finals, the Miletich fighter knocked out Devin Cole with a highlight real right kick to the head, on route to the Silverback's Championship winning performance that evening.

Across The Pond: British MMA News
By David West

Intense Fighting Results
Bushfield Sports Centre, Peterborough, England - January 27, 2007

Intense Fighting (Jan 27, 2007): Antonio Samurai (left) slugs Eric Cebarec - Photo by Zack Lynch
Samurai (left) slugs Cebarec
While the fight card for the latest Intense Fighting event was whittled down from the thirteen announced prior to fight night to nine on the day, there was a good mix of international fighters competing in MMA, kickboxing, and even one boxing match in the cage. Four of the five MMA bouts ended in the first round. Michael Tolozgen, from BTT France, quickly submitted Devils Factory's Brett Lee with a triangle choke, while Johnny Frachey pounded Kris Savin for the tap-out to make it France 2, England 0. Alan Lee took one win for England, surviving Rachid Nassoudi's submission attempts to earn a referee stoppage in the third round. Rafal Dziubaude had a rocky start against Roman Webber, who bloodied him early with some frantic ground and pound, but Dzuibaude took Webber's back, flattened him out and took his turn to unload with both fists, prompting referee Mark Day to stop the contest as Webber was just lying on the canvas taking shots. In the last match of the evening, Brazil's Antonio Samurai, representing Europe Top Team, out-gunned France's Eric Cebarec with fast, heavy hands to stop him in just 1:20.

In the best of the kickboxing action, London Thai Fighters' Attila Nagy was impressive against David Simonek, from the Czech Republic, working a counter-punching game and displaying impressive power. Simonek worked well with high kicks on the outside, but Nagy kept on the pressure and cut his opponent in the third for the win.

Full Results


Michael Tolozgen def. Brett Lee by Triangle 1:02 R1

Alan Lee def. Rachid Nassoudi by TKO (Referee Stoppage – Strikes) 3:03 R3

Johnny Frachey def. Kris Savin by Tap-out to Strikes 1:13 R1

Rafal Dziubaude def. Roman Webber by TKO (Referee Stoppage – Strikes) 2:58 R1

Antonio Samurai def. Eric Cebarec by TKO (Referee Stoppage – Strikes) 1:20 R1


Pat Owens def. Tim Holton by Unanimous Decision (3 x 2 mins)

Kevin Anderson def. Mick Trott by KO 0:43 R2

Attila Nagy def. David Simonek by TKO (Doctor Stoppage – Cut) 1:20 R3


Gary Barron def. Bertil Queeley by Unanimous Decision (3 x 2 mins)

Horodecki Vs. Palaszewski:
Upcoming Lightweight Battle Has All the Makings of a Classic
By Kelsey Mowatt

They don't carry the same kind of reputation and historic background of say, Jens Pulver and BJ Penn, and perhaps, aren't as widely well known in MMA circles as Nick Diaz and Takanori Gomi, but the upcoming International Fight League lightweight bout between Chris Horodecki and Bart Palaszewksi, just might turn out to be the best 155-pound fight this spring. The battle is scheduled to take place this coming weekend, Friday, February 2nd, in Houston, Texas, at the Reliant Centre, as both fighters' respective teams, the Anacondas and the Silverbacks, are taking each other on in the next round of IFL team action. The lightweight match-up means that one of these two fighters will lose for the first time in the IFL, and that the victor will likely be viewed as the league's top competitor at 155 pounds.

Photo courtesy of the IFL: Bart PalaszewksiPhoto courtesy of the IFL: Chris Horodecki

Chris Horodecki continues to become a well known rising star in the sport, as the young 19-year-old fighter has even been called "the Sydney Crosby of MMA" by TKO promoter Stephane Patry. Somewhat of a well kept secret in Canada as he began his MMA career, the Team Tompkins fighter of Polish descent demonstrated his lethal striking skills to American fans of the sport in 2006 for the first time, going 3-0 last year in the IFL. Horodecki remains undefeated in his MMA career, and has amassed a record of 7-0 since he started competing professionally in 2005. Coming from a well accomplished amateur kick-boxing background, evidence to his striking prowess is clearly evident when one examines his pro-MMA record further, of Horodecki's seven victories, six have come way of knockout or TKO. Arguably his biggest win to date would be his most recent at the IFL semi-finals last November, when Horodecki stopped tough Team Quest fighter Ryan Schultz with strikes early in the second round. He might be more remembered however for his first IFL KO, when in highlight reel fashion, Horodecki stopped Erik Owings last June with a plethora of kicks to the head and body, unleashing the series of techniques in only seconds. Before coming to compete in the U.S., Horodecki had some notable success fighting in TKO, as the fighter also stopped David Goulet and Dave Pariseau at TKO 23 and TKO 24 respectively, in November of 2005 and January last year.

Palaszewski is only 23 years old, and yet carries the record of a well established veteran. Since he began competing professionally in 2002, the Polish fighter has amassed an impressive record of 25-7. When one also considers that Palaszewski went 0-4 to begin his MMA career, his accomplishments since his early setbacks become even more stunning. The Silverback lightweight is currently on an 11 fight winning streak, and most recently, like Horodecki, stopped Ryan Schultz on December 29th with a memorable third round knock-out. On November 2nd, at the IFL's semi-finals, Palaszewksi earned a split decision victory over UFC and K-1 Hero's veteran Ivan Menjivar, adding more evidence to the notion that the Jeff Curran trained fighter has become one of North America's better lightweight fighters. Within his 25 wins, Palaszewski also holds notable victories over the likes of Joe Jordan, Ryan Ackerman and Jay Estrada, twice. The Silverback lightweight has also forged a reputation recently for being an excellent striker, as 6 of his victories during his current winning streak of come way of TKO or KO. Palaszewski, who splits his time training now between Jeff Curran and Pat Miletich, also has a well developed jiu-jitsu game, and was won 8 fights throughout his career, via grappling submissions.

In all likelihood, this Friday's bout between the two rising lightweight stars of the IFL will be a stand up battle, at least for the opening minutes of the fight. Horodecki, who is certainly better known for his striking game, has been concentrating on his wrestling abilities extensively over the last year, to aid him in keeping the fight where he's at his best, on its feet. The Team Tompkins' fighter has also trained with Jeff Curran to improve his jiu-jitsu, and is certainly not lost when the fight hits the mat. That said, most should expect Palaszewski to have the more developed jiu-jitsu game, and although his striking continues to impress, it might not be at the level yet of his younger upcoming opponent. If Palaszewski ends up on the short end of the stand-up game, the deciding factor in the fight may turn out to be whether or not he can get Horodecki to the mat. Analysis aside, all things point to a great, action packed, lightweight war this Friday night.

Fitch to Fight Fioravanti at UFC 68
By Steven Marrocco

After sustaining a broken nose at the hands of Kuniyoshi Hironaka at UFC 64, American Kickboxing Academy standout Jon Fitch has signed on to fight Luigi Fioravanti. The American Top Team fighter will make the cut to welterweight for the upcoming bout with Fitch, which will be held on March 3rd, at Nationwide Arena, in Columbus, Ohio.

His return in March nearly didn't happen. According to Fitch, Fioravanti stepped up to take the fight after a long list of current UFC welterweights declined. "Joe Silva told my manager Bob Cook [that] he's having a harder time finding fights for me than anybody he's ever had," Fitch said.

The Indiana native had an explanation for fighters' hesitance in facing him. "They know that win or lose, when you fight me, you get hurt," he said. "Other than my very early fights, I have not been in a fight where the guy came out clean on the other side."

Fitch told FCF he will attempt to get cleared by the Ohio State Athletic Commission, possibly extending his current suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, who suspended him until April due to the nose injury incurred during his bout with Hironaka.

Fioravanti, an American Top Team product, will be making his debut at welterweight for the upcoming UFC 68 fight. Recently, he dispatched former UFC champ Dave Menne by TKO at UFC Fight Night 7 on December 13th. His sole defeat was at the hands of TUF alum Chris Leben at UFC Fight Night 4 last year on April 6th. Despite wanting a bigger name, Fitch acknowledged the fight would be tough for him.

"My standup is more technical," Fitch said. "But he is heavy handed. He throws a good one two, and at 170, he's going to have a lot more of a gas tank than he has in the past."

Whatever the outcome, Fitch will surely come prepared to make his case for a shot at the welterweight A list in the crowded field of the UFC welterweight division.

  Sunday - January 28, 2007
Combat Zone 20 Results
By Derek Constable - Photos by Zack Lynch

Combat Zone 20: Brendan Hoxie enters in his usual unusual fashion - Photo by Zack Lynch
(January 27, Manchester, N.H.) – Combat Zone held its 20th show, "CageMasters," at the Manchester Armory this January, and although J.P. Christini dropped out of his anticipated fight with Dale Hart, there was still plenty to look forward to including New Hampshire's first-ever sanctioned women's mixed martial arts fight.
  • Cameras and reporters from every local media outlet were in attendance to see New Hampshire's first female MMA fighters. The two fought for rival schools (Renzo Gracie, Team Woo) and gave the audience the best TKO of the night, when Sabrina Meserve rocked Barbara Woo with viscous striking, that sent Woo bouncing off the cage wall before falling down in front of the referee.
  • Jared Palmer ran through his opponent in under two minutes of the first round. Gizzi took the fight to the ground hoping to avoid Palmer's devastating striking abilities, but Palmer mounted Gizzi and put him away. The win was the fifth in a row that particular weekend for the Bombsquad who went 4-0 at another show in Massachusetts the night before. Palmer defeated Lamont Lister, a much tougher opponent, no more than seven days earlier.
  • Brendan Hoxie could not compete with Damien Trites on his feet. Trites' hands were way too fast and much too heavy. After a round in which Hoxie struggled to find his way, he came up with the win early in Round 2 when he escaped a knee-to-gut mount by sneaking out the back. Once free, Hoxie easily took his opponent's back and from there transitioned into an arm bar, winning 42 seconds into the second round.
Combat Zone 20: Cory LaPlant drops bombs on Zachary Scherr shortly before the fight ends - Photo by Zack Lynch
LaPlant drops bombs on Scherr
Full results
    Jared Palmer (240, Bombsquad) defeated Phil Gizzi (243, Independent) by TKO at 1:40 of R1.
  • Cory LaPlant (155, Balance) defeated Zachary Scherr (156, Tim Birrill BJJ) by TKO at 1:41 of R1.
  • Dan Pasquarella (210, Team Woo-MFS) defeated Rob Gagnon (265, Submission Arsenal) by TKO at 0:49 of R1.
  • Brendan Hoxie (166, Shikaku Ryu JJ) defeated Damien Trites (171, Sit Yod Tung) with an arm-bar submission at 0:42 of R2.
  • Sabrina Meserve (129, Renzo Gracie) defeated Barbara Woo (124, Team Woo-MFS) by TKO in just over a minute of R2.
  • Chris Plourde (165, NE Academy of Martial Arts) defeated Rob Hart (165, Goguen) with a rear-naked choke at 1:35 of R1.
  • Ben Manseau (138, Team Woo-MFS) defeated Dan Bonnell (139, Dragon Warrior/Renzo Gracie) by rear-naked choke at 0:43 of R1.
  • Eddie Felix (146, Dragon Warrior) defeated Bobby McAndrews (151, IMDC) by rear-naked choke at 1:19 of R1.
  • Justin Homsey (147, Renzo Gracie) defeated Nick Zimmerman (150, Immortal) with a guillotine choke at 1:19 of R1.
  • Matt Lee (175, MA Submission Academy) defeated Colby Brown (176, Team Irish) by split decision after two 4-minute rounds.
  • COMBAT ZONE 175 lbs. Super-Light-Heavyweight Championship (vacant): Woody Weatherby (173, Team Woo-MFS) defeated Justin Hammerstrom (173, Team Tengu) with a triangle at 2:28 of R1.

  Saturday - January 27, 2007
A Rematch of Consequence as Pride Works on the U.S.
By Derek Callahan

Wanderlei Silva - Photo by Joel Gold
In another move for Pride's campaign in the United States, Wanderlei Silva (31-6-1) and Dan Henderson (21-5) will rematch at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on February 24th.

Silva has been fighting professionally for over ten years now, and has become so popular in Japan that he has developed a cult status among casual American fans. They know about those brutal knees that he delivers with intense efficiency, and they recognize the intimidating style he has used to become Pride's first and longest running middleweight champion. He's been defeated once at 205-pounds since he first won the title in 2001, losing only to Ricardo Arona in August of 2005. He has beaten heavyweights and 205-pounders, and discarded of almost every challenger that has come his way. His credentials, in a word, are unquestionable.

Enter Dan Henderson, just as tough and in his own way as brutal as Silva. Nicknamed "Hollywood," maybe for the irony, there isn't much that's flashy about the guy. He fights steadier than perhaps anyone else in the game, looking better against Yuki Kondo when he had the flu in 2004 than most do healthy. If it's a 170-pound champion or Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, sometimes it's tough to tell if Henderson notices. He fights like he always does, with flashes of toughness that few are able to express. His credentials, in a word, are unquestionable.

Dan Henderson - Photo by Tom DeFazio
With the exception of Fedor Emelianenko, there is no undisputed man on top in MMA. There are too many ways to lose and too few opportunities to fight handpicked opponents at one's will. With this being the case, criteria for greatness isn't who has a title now, or who is on a hot streak. Longevity is what separates the fleeting trends from the actual talent. Both a decade deep into the sport, they have together been two of the steadiest names that a fan could imagine. Even though they both seemed unstoppable in 2000 when they first fought, it's six years later and both still sometimes do.

The consequences of this fight make those of most others pale, because although right now both have lost their share of fights and taken the black and bluer end of a beating, it's been a rare and difficult thing to do. With this fight, fans are going to know a lot more about who the best ever is than they would in a fight with newer contenders.

What it should also do is give Pride an exciting fight for their second U.S. campaign. The UFC is -- with a firm grip on TV ratings and a prolific schedule ahead -- ready to strengthen their stranglehold on the U.S. market, and while Pride has been a powerful company over the past 10 years since their first show in 1997, they are in a new market now with new challenges, and a new demographic to cater to. Fights like Silva taking on Henderson will go a long way to introduce Pride to the U.S. in a memorable way.

That means giving fans excitement from two fighters who have the skills to nullify each other's strengths and the guts to keep fighting in the face of it. While Silva has been known for the vicious stoppage, Henderson too has always been increasingly dangerous because of his punches. His right hand has been tricky for fighters to figure out, partly in the beginning because they didn't expect to see it coming.

When it wasn't the focus of his gameplan, Henderson's balance, superior positioning and wrestling acumen was enough to get him past tricky submission experts (Allan Goes, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira), superior strikers (Renato Sobral, Murilo Rua) and well-rounded opponents (Murilo Bustamante twice, Vitor Belfort).

The ledger that both men boast is absurdly difficult. For Silva, it has gotten the better of him lately with losses to Ricardo Arona (later avenged) and Mirko Filipovic at Pride's "Final Conflict" last September. "The Axe Murderer" is 2-2 in his last four, the worst streak he's had since his days in Brazil in 1997. Still, it is apparent that there is never a good time to fight the man.

When they last met, Henderson got the worse of the striking end, but was game enough to leave an enormous lump over Silva's eye. It was a back-and-forth effort that saw Silva earn the decision.

With such similar careers after that, fighting up in weight and winning against the vast majority of their competition, these are two that can pique the interest of all types of fans. It's a match-up that will be good for Pride and better for the winner. A decade of winning with amazing consistency will clash from the two fighters and lay a historical imprint on the careers of both.

Marquardt Dominates Lister at UFN 8 to Entrench Claim as Middleweight Contender
By Kelsey Mowatt

It was a fight that many haven't yet seen, a bout between two well accomplished and notable middleweights, Dean Lister and Nate Marquardt, which unfortunately wasn't included on last Thursday's live broadcast of Ultimate Fight Night 8 on Spike TV. In fact, when one considers that the match-up featured an Abu Dhabi champion and Pride veteran in Lister taking on a former King of Pancrase in Marquardt, the make up for the middleweight fight was rather compelling. In the end, however, it was Marquardt who dominated the submission grappling wonder Dean Lister throughout three rounds of the under card bout, earning his 6th victory in a row. An impressive win, that should no doubt leave Marquardt within striking distance of a middleweight title shot.

Marquardt looked to keep the fight standing throughout the three rounds of the fight, and for the vast majority of the bout, the 27 year old fighter was successful in doing so. Peppering Lister with a barreling right hand and nicely timed knees that dropped the Pride veteran on a couple of occasions, Marquardt opted to remain standing for the most part, only pursuing Lister on the ground when it appeared his foe was considerably stunned. Lister demonstrated a remarkably strong chin in fact, recovering well from Marquardt's strikes that stemmed from a dramatically superior stand up game.

The damage Marquardt inflicted while standing prompted Lister to shoot in several times on the former King of Pancrase, and when Marquardt would sprawl, Lister did a nice job of switching to his back, adeptly pulling Marquardt into his infamous guard. From there, Marquardt carefully monitored and defended Lister's movements within his rubber guard, and never did it appear that any real submission threat was near. Referee John McCarthy consistently stood the action back up whenever the movement on the mat stalled for several seconds, and Lister's efforts to keep the fight on the ground were largely unsuccessful.

As the third round neared its end, there was little questioning that Marquardt should be well ahead on the judge's scorecards, and the official announcement of the judge's scoring after the fight, confirmed this prediction. Marquardt was given the unanimous decision victory with a 30-27, 30-25, 30-25, score, indeed reflecting the Team Jackson fighter's dominance that evening.

Now the question remains to see who the UFC puts Marquardt up against next. His recent UFN performance against Lister, should, at least, momentarily, give his critics moments to pause, who have categorized his previous efforts in the UFC as conservative and less than entertaining. Marquardt has now gone 4-0 competing in the MMA titan, defeating Ivan Salaverry, Joe Doerksen and Crafton Wallace since he came to the UFC in the summer of 2005. The fighter's record now stands at 25-6-2, which includes two victories over last year's Pride Welterweight Grand-Prix winner, Kazuo Misaki.

When one surveys the state of the UFC middleweight division, there should be little doubt now that with this recent win over Lister, Marquardt could be one or two victories away from a title shot. The upcoming UFC 67 card on February 3rd will determine if Travis Lutter will be the next UFC Middleweight Champion, or if current champ, Anderson Silva, will defend his title for the first time. Certainly the winner of the March 3rd fight between Jason Macdonald and former champion Rich Franklin will go a long way to determine the contender rankings in the division, and one would be remiss not to mention Mike Swick, Yushin Okami, or Kendall Grove, when discussing the future title shot picture.

But when one looks at Marquardt's record and the caliber of opposition he's beaten, the fighter certainly could give any of the above mentioned fighters a competitive fight. One need only look at the progression of Marquardt's teammates like Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine and Diego Sanchez, to remember that underestimating any of Team Jackson's fighters would be a terrible mistake.

Untamed 9 Results
By Derek Constable - Photos by Zack Lynch

Untamed 9: Joshua Johnson won his fight against Dan Fields, but received a bad cut after the fighters' heads collided during a takedown - Photo by Zack Lynch
Johnson, bloody but victorious
(January 26th, Mansfield, Massachusetts) It was a night of both amateur and professional mixed martial arts action as Full Force Productions' ninth edition of their "Untamed" event touched down in Mansfield, Massachusetts. Promoters Mike True, Mike Littlefield and Mike Varner put together a card that had the Holiday Inn's ballroom packed, and the fights did not disappoint. Highlights of the evening included:
  • Tim Zelshack of the Bombsquad, who got his team started off right by winning his first fight in fine fashion, escaping two slams with beautiful counters. On the first slam, Zelshack transitioned into a flying triangle in mid-air and landed in full mount, where he proceeded to bash his opponent with an array of solid punches. Zelshack went on to win the unanimous decision in his first fight.
  • The battle between Josh Watson and Tyler Moulton –- two tatooed warriors who shook things up with the only heavyweight match of the night. Moulton swung for the fences but struck out on more than one occasion, while Watson took over with a commanding slam and eventually scored the TKO victory.
  • The marquee bout between Jack Wilmarth and Spencer Paige. Wilmarth won the judges' favor in the opening round by being cautious and limiting Paige's ability to go to work on him. Paige took over though in Round Two, softening up his opponent with hard knees and finishing him off with the same arm bar he'd seen Ed Herman use on UFC just the night before. Paige's win made the Bombsquad 4-0 for the night.

Untamed 9: Matt Fletcher sinks in a rear-naked choke on Chris Reedy to end their fight - Photo by Zack Lynch
Fletcher sinks in a choke on Reedy for the win

Full results:

Amateur Bouts
-Dylan Reburn (184, AMMA) defeated Joe Abate (182, Ultimate MMA) by decision
-Tim Zelshack (160, Bombsquad) defeated Lee Metcalf (160, SSS) by unanimous decision
-Josh Watson (232, AMMA) defeated Tyler Moulton (220, Independant) by TKO 1:27 of R2.
- Clint Medas (196, Eclectic) defeated Sean Matthews (192, Sityodtong) by unanimous decision in overtimeBR> - Joshua Johnson (155, Best Way) defeated Dan Fields (153, AMMA) by split decision
-Graham Medas (170, Eclectic) defeated Martin Musket (170, IMB CT) by guillotine choke 0:58 into R2.
-Ryan Butler defeated (171, Aggression) defeated Peter Reveredo (166, Independent) by rear-naked choke at 1:06 of R2.
-Matt Thornton (155, Boneyard) defeated Kurt Calash (152, IMB CT) by unanimous decision

Professional Bouts
-Dan Cramer (186, Best Way) defeated John Cannata (184, Arujo/CTMMA) by unanimous decision
-Matt Fletcher (169, Boneyard) defeated Chris Reedy (171, Unbreakable) by rear-naked choke at 3:29 of R1
-Bobby Gorham (154, Bombsquad) Marc Purtell (154, Nova Uniao) by KO in 0:41 of R1
-Eric Henry (171, Bombsquad) defeated Josh Lydell (166, Lion Kill) by unanimous decision
-Clint Medas (196, Eclectic) defeated Sean Matthews (192, Sityodtong) by unanimous decision in overtime

Full Force Productions Lightweight Championship
-Spencer Paige (153, Bombsquad) defeated Jack Wilmarth (155, Aggression) with an armbar 0:45 into R3

National Fighting Challenge 7: Cold Staredown
Held January 26, 2007
At the Squamish Nations Rec Center
Vancouver, British Columbia
By Mike Neva

Although the seventh edition of the National Fighting Challenge did not yield the star power as it had in the past, it did prove an entertaining night of action that had a standing room only crowd rocking and rolling for much of the evening. From a back and forth battle between Jesse Shiu and Derek Crowie to the devastating knock out of Brent Weatherhill at the hands of Dominic Richard, the crowd had a variety of solid matches that kept the action rolling. However, it was obvious that the contest between Myles Merola and Cesar Narita was the fight most had anxiously anticipating, and these two youngsters did not disappoint.

NFC 7: Ryan Polutnik punching Mighty Gharabaghi- Photo by Mike Neva
Polutnik punching Gharabaghi

NFC 7: Adam Smith choking Chad Freeman - Photo by Mike Neva
Smith choking Freeman
To the surprise of most -- the Brazilian born, jiu-jitsu instructor Narita opened the bout content to trade strikes with the well rounded Merola. After a brief exchange, both worked for the Thai clinch as they began banging away with knees and punches with each man giving as well a receiving a number of blows. After a short knee to the cheek of Merola, he began to bleed quite heavily underneath his left eye and wisely used a high crotch take down to dump Narita to the ground. From there, Merola picked away with punches for the remainder of the round. While Merola did appear the worse for the ware after the opening stanza, Narita was the one breathing hard through the mouth after the first five minutes.

At the opening round two it was obvious that Narita had set a pace he would be unable to sustain for the duration of the bout, and while still game, it was Narita who flopped to guard to look for just a momentary breather from the comparatively fresh Myles Merola. Though Merola was also starting to slow as well, he kept the pressure on with some solid ground and pound including a number of kicks to body of the downed Brazilian.

After each taking one of the first two rounds the third round showed why Merola is the current NFC 170 lb champion as he continued to pound away at the absolutely exhausted Narita, who simply didn't have enough energy to mount any effective offence. After the final bell the appreciative crowd rose in unison to show their support of both warriors who fought tooth and nail until the bitter end. After the score cards were tallied it was Merola who won the unanimous decision to retain his title.


Jesse Shiu def. Derek Crowie by unanimous decision after three three-minute rounds

Ryan Polutnik def. Mighty Gharabaghi by unanimous decision after two five-minute rounds

Adam Smith def. Chad Freeman by rear-naked choke at 1:41 of R1

Brad Geiger def. Sal Ram by unanimous decision after two five-minute rounds

Hardeep Singh def. Mike Richardson by KO from punches at 2:56 of R1

Shawn Albrecht def. Allen Hernandez by arm bar at 4:28 of R2

Costa Rojas def. Jerry Elliott by arm bar at 1:36 of R1

Kane Bolt def. Gene Lazlo by verbal submission from punches at 2:48 of R1

Dominic Richard def. Brent Weatherhill by KO from punches at 0:06 of R1

Len Tam def. Adam Laporte by rear-naked choke at 0:55 of R2

Myles Merola def. Cesar Narita by unanimous decision after three five-minute rounds

John Hall vs. Marcus Vincios was a No Contest after Hall was unable to continue after an illegal elbow to the back of the neck at 3:39 of R1

From the event's promoter:

Nasal, Pyle, Shackelford and Kleinbeck Will Appear
On Highly Anticipated "DESTINY" Undercard

LOS ANGELES (Jan. 26, 2007) – Four popular local fighters are scheduled to compete in the history-making EliteXC mixed martial arts (MMA) 10-bout fight card on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the DeSoto Civic Center in Southaven, Miss.

Area favorites Adriano Nasal, Mike Powell and John-David Shackelford, all of Memphis, and Seth Kleinbeck of Stuttgart, Ark., will be featured in undercard matches of a spectacular card.

Tickets for "DESTINY'' start at $25 and are available in all price ranges at the DeSoto Civic Center box office (888) 280-9120, at TicketMaster outlets, by calling (901) 525-1515 and at www.TicketMaster.com.

Nasal (4-1), a lightweight, is a submission-wrestling fighter. A champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he teaches the dangerous craft as an instructor at Memphis Judo and Jiu-Jitsu when not in the ring. Nasal will tangle with Javier Vazquez (10-2), a veteran submission fighter from Pomona, Calif.

Welterweight Pyle (12-4-1) combines a variety of MMA techniques, including tae kwon do, judo and karate. Nicknamed "Quicksand" for his ability to draw in opponents and methodically wear them down, Pyle will face Ross "The Boss" Ebanez (14-4-2) from Hilo, Hawaii.

A fighter known for his submission style, welterweight Shackelford (7-4) will take on Edson Berto (10-3-1) of Orlando, Fla. Kleinbeck (6-3), a physician by trade, is known as "The Doctor" for his ability to inflict pain and make opponents feel sick. The middleweight is pitted against Japan's Riki Fukuda (6-2).

Those four fights, plus one more, will be streamed live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT at www.ProElite.com, a growing Internet destination for the MMA community.

In addition, there will be five bouts televised on SHOWTIME beginning at 10 p.m. ET/PT.

  Friday - January 26, 2007
FCF New Issue Check out what's in the current issue of FCF...

Pride Shockwave 2006: Hunt Impresses in Loss to Fedor, Gomi Destroys Ishida.

Minotauro back to the top.

The Year in Review: UFC Dominates 2006 in Yet Another Record Year for MMA.

We announce the 2006 FCF Fighter of the Year.

Keith Kizer: A Conversation with Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director.

Manny "The Mangler" Tapia: Undefeated KOTC champ taking it one fight at a time.

Jake Shields: Timing is everything.

MMA Legal in Washington D.C.: Capital city capitalizes on MMA.

UFC 66: The Iceman humbles Ortiz.

IFL World Team Championship Finals: Silverbacks take it.

Jungle Fight 7: Hot Amazonian show invades Europe.

Portland via Brazil: Chris Wilson's skills are not lost in translation.

The British MMA Year in Review.

The Globalization of MMA: The Sport's Unprecedented Growth Transcends the Americas, Japan and Brazil.

Strikeforce 4 "Triple Threat": AKA adds two belts to trophy case as Thomson and Jackson pick up wins.

In our monthly columns...

FCF MMA Trivia.

Physical Therapist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Paul La Bounty talks about The Fighter's Guide to Protein Supplements

In Matt Hume's techniques, Daniel Eng & Caros Fodor demonstrate Parry, Elbow, Knee.

Fight fans voice their opinions on Fight of the Year and Fighter of the Year.

Matt Hume BioFile.

Every issue of Full Contact Fighter is jam-packed with fight news from the U.S. to Brazil to Japan. FCF travels the globe to bring the fights to you. Get yours today!

Click here to order securely online with your credit card
or print off the order form & mail it in with your payment

Evans KO's Salmon, O'Brien Upsets Herring
at Ultimate Fight Night

By Dustin Lee DePue

It was a bittersweet night of primetime MMA at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida Thursday night. The eighth installment of Ultimate Fight Night had something for everyone; a thrilling KO victory, a crafty submission and the emergence of a clear lightweight title contender. However, there was a distinct feeling of despair that lingered in the wake of Heath Herring's less than inspiring return to American MMA.

In the main event, Rashad Evans added a vicious KO highlight for Zuffa's next installment of Ultimate Knockouts, landing a beautiful roundhouse kick to the side of Sean Salmon's head. Through the first round, Evans looked content to patiently test his stand-up skills, flicking out jabs and crisp looking right straights as Salmon circled outside, staying mostly out of range. Salmon managed a takedown but couldn't capitalize and the fighters were soon back on their feet. Although noticeably improved in his striking, Evans missed with a majority of his punches and ate a nice right hand near the end of the first round.

Evans opened up the second round putting Salmon down with a solid knee to the midsection. As Salmon stood up, Evans pounced on him, landing a flurry of punches to the body, effectively softening Salmon up for the aforementioned roundhouse that landed flush on his head and sent Salmon crashing to the mat like soup cans at the supermarket. Evans followed up with a couple of groan-inducing shots before the ref could step in and call the bout at 1:08 of round two. While Evans was disatisfied with eating a good punch from his opponent, he couldn't have hoped for a more convincing finish. Looks like we can finally lay those recurring TUF season 2 nightmares to rest.

Apparently, someone forgot to tell "Irish" Jake O'Brien that he was ceremonial chum for Heath Herring's arrival as a major force in the newly upgraded UFC heavyweight division. The "mountain" of experience that Herring was supposed to represent turned out to be little more than a dirt mound for the relentless wrestler from Indiana who outmaneuvered his favored opponent at nearly every turn en route to a unanimous decision victory.

Herring, whose leg kicks turned Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira's legs into jelly in their first fight, were noticeably absent from this performance. Herring came in crouching low in anticipation of the takedown. This stance left Herring with a flimsy looking jab and the occasional awkward right cross that O'Brien was able avoid without difficulty.

Aside from a sneaky left hook that dropped O'Brien early, Herring was unable to land any convincing blows throughout the majority of the three rounds. After the knockdown, O'Brien took over the fight, scoring takedowns at will and opening up a cut near Herring's left eye with an elbow. Nowhere to be seen was the fire Herring characteristically brings to his fights. He seemed to gas out too early for that, leaving his jab flaccid and his high kicks telegraphed. Herring did hurt O'Brien in the final minute of the third round, dropping him to the mat with a punch, however, Herring's attempted gator roll afterwards was unsuccessful and O'Brien ended up on top. Congratulations to Jake O'Brien who wins by unanimous decision.

Sporting Technicolor-purple hair, Hermes Franca moved himself into title contention with an unexpected TKO finish over Spencer Fisher. The first round saw Franca scoring several takedowns with Fisher defending himself well enough to avoid any major damage. On the feet, it was all Fisher as he avoided Franca's looping punches and picked him apart with straight rights to the head and knees and kicks to the body.

With the fight close going into the second, Franca opened up with another takedown and several minutes of ground control. After a referee standup Fisher started to throw power shots and opened himself up to a big right hook that hurt him. Smelling blood, Franca ran in with a flying knee that struck Fisher dead on. Fisher began to wobble and Franca jumped on him like a wild dog, landing many unanswered blows as Fisher stumbled around the ring, forcing the referee stoppage due to strikes at 4:03 of the second round. After the fight, Franco literally dropped to his knees and begged Dana White for a title shot.

TUF season 3 finalist Ed Herman avoided several kimura attempts from opponent Chris Price, maneuvering his way to Price's back where he transitioned smoothly into an armbar that forced Price to tap out at 2:58 of round one.

Results for Televised Bouts

Rashad Evans def. Sean Salmon by KO 1:06 R2
Jake O'Brien def. Heath Herring by unanimous decision (29-28, 30-27, 30-27)
Hermes Franca def. Spencer Fisher by TKO (ref stoppage from strikes) 4:03 R2
Ed Herman def. Chris Price by armbar 2:58 R1

  Thursday - January 25, 2007
FCF Radio:
GSP Signs Six-Fight Contract with UFC,
Manager Patry Reports

By FCF Staff

UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre has signed a six-fight contract extension with the organization, according to the fighter's manager Stephane Patry. St-Pierre previously had two fights left on his old contract with the promotion when negotiations began, and with this latest signing, the previous contract has been replaced with a new six-fight deal. In an interview this afternoon on FCF Radio, Patry also stated that talks with the UFC had been difficult at times, but that finally an agreement was made that would make St-Pierre "probably one of the highest paid fighters in the UFC, probably top three." Patry declined to comment on any further specifics regarding the contract's finances.

UFC 48: Georges St. Pierre - Photo by Joel Gold
St. Pierre

You can listen to the entire interview on FCF Radio with Patry, who is busily preparing and promoting the upcoming TKO 28 card that will be held in Montreal, Quebec, on February 9th. Also in this week's second FCF Radio episode, newly crowned King of the Cage Lightweight Champion Clay French is on the program, as well as FCF writer Steven Marrocco.

Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Stephane Patry, Clay French and Steven Marrocco.

Click here to listen/download.  

The Crow: Ready to Take Flight in Elite XC Debut
By Kelsey Mowatt

UFC 42: David Loiseau - Photo by Joel Gold
David "The Crow" Loiseau continues to get ready for his fight with Joey Villasenor at the upcoming debut event for Elite Xtreme Combat. The card which will take place in Southhaven, Mississippi, at the Desoto Civic Centre, on February 10th, will be the first for the new MMA promotion, an organization that will be showcased rather prominently due to its partnership with the Showtime Cable Network. The card's main event will see veteran fighters Frank Shamrock and Renzo Gracie do battle, but the night's most compelling fight, arguably, could very well be the scheduled bout between Loiseau and Villasenor.

Loiseau is coming off the highs and lows of a lengthy run in the UFC, which saw the Montreal fighter climb his way up the promotion's middleweight division, only to be defeated by former Champion Rich Franklin, in Loiseau's failed title bid at UFC 58 on March 4th last spring. Following another unanimous decision loss to the promotions' up and coming star Mike Swick at UFC 63 last September, Loiseau was let go by the organization. Of course Loiseau didn't earn a title shot with Franklin without having some considerable success as well, as the Canadian middleweight won 4 fights competing in the UFC, including a three fight winning streak in 2005, where Loiseau defeated Gideon Ray, Charles McCarthy and former Champion Evan Tanner. The Crow also has several notable wins fighting for Quebec's TKO promotion in Canada, some of which include victories over Tony Fryklund, Joe Doerksen, and Curtis Stout during his 6 year professional career. The former TKO Middleweight Champion's record currently stands at 14-6.

But when Loiseau makes his debut fighting for the Elite XC, he will have to face yet another highly regarded opponent in Villasenor. The Team Jackson fighter has amassed an impressive record of 22-5 over the last 7 years of his career, which included an astonishing 15 fight winning streak that dated back to 2002. Villasenor did not suffer a loss for 4 years until, at his Pride debut, the New Mexico fighter lost to Ryo Chonan by split decision at Bushido 11 last June. After stopping John Crunk in the first round at KOTC "Civil War" on July 29th, 2006, Villasenor once again was unable to get his first Pride win at the promotion's debut card on American soil, October 21st. Former UFC middleweight Robbie Lawler knocked out the veteran fighter shortly into round 1, giving Villasenor his fifth career loss.

Loiseau is keenly aware of his upcoming opponent's abilities, and with both fighters well known for possessing solid striking skills, it would not be strange to expect a stand up war between the two come February 10th. Loiseau, however, is not discussing his game plan publicly as of yet.

"I always have a game plan, but I'm not telling you," Loiseau says half jokingly. "I expect him to come out and fight hard like he always does. I've been training with pretty much the same people in Montreal, but now I'm in San Diego with Brandon Vera and his camp at City Boxing."

Loiseau became a household name in MMA circles during his stint in the UFC, not only due to his title bout with Franklin and highlight real spinning back kick stoppage of McCarthy, but because of the Quebecois fighter's lethal elbows. His dramatic come from behind win over Tanner came way of his lethal demonstration of the technique, and it was Loiseau's very same elbows, that gave Swick plenty of trouble in the third round of their fight last year. Throw in a Xyience commercial where Loiseau was featured prominently, and the Elite XC now has a fairly well known athlete competing for its organization. For Loiseau, who was only a short while ago released by the UFC, the timing could not be better for the Elite XC to come knocking. The new promotion certainly appears to have considerable promise, not only due to it deal with Showtime, but the involvement of such well connected and established people in the organization, like long time boxing promoter Gary Shaw.

"Very excited!" Loiseau says in regards to his upcoming debut for the new promotion. "It's going to be a great show. I think EliteXC has the right formula to do big things."

Also scheduled for the February 10th card:
  • Wesley Correira vs. Antonio Silva - Heavyweight
  • Charles Bennet vs. KJ Noons - Lightweight
  • Julie Kedzie vs. Gina Carano - Women's Lightweight
  • Bo Cantrell vs. Tim Persey - Heavyweight
  • Seth Kleinbeck vs. Riki Fukuda - Middleweight
  • Adriano Pereira vs. Javier Vasquez - Lightweight
  • Mike Pyle vs. Ross Ebanez – Welterweight

  Wednesday - January 24, 2007
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Ultimate Fight Night 8 Preview:
Evans Takes on Salmon to Headline Event

By Dustin Lee DePue

Ultimate Fight Night returns this Thursday with its eighth installment on Spike TV, a card that will be broadcast live from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida. Part of a cavalcade of UFC programming set to run throughout the evening, UFN 8 features undefeated light-heavyweight Rashad Evans, an exciting lightweight match-up between Hermes Franca and Spencer Fischer, a middleweight match-up between top contenders Nathan Marquardt and Dean Lister and, of course, the UFC debut of Heath "The Texas Crazy Horse" Herring.

In the main event, Rashad Evans puts his undefeated record on the line against Wisconsin fighter Sean Salmon. Evans, the winner of TUF season two, is coming off a knockout victory over the tough Jason Lambert. He continues moving forward in his "Sherman's March to the Belt" getting ever closer to Chuck Liddell and his light-heavyweight title. While a victory over a UFC newcomer may not bring him much closer, it does offer Evans the chance to further prove his knockout power and win over those remaining fans who still see him as a one-trick, decision-addled bore.

For Salmon, a chance to take out a big name fighter in his UFC debut should give him all the motivation necessary to come fully prepared. If the fight ends up on the mat, which it most likely will at some point, Salmon will no doubt be looking for his bread and butter submission, the key lock, which he has used to finish in four of his six submission victories.

While hardcore MMA fans are still wiping the drool from their chins in anticipation of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic's first UFC appearance, UFN 8 marks the debut of another Pride veteran in Heath "The Texas Crazy horse" Herring. Fighting on American soil for the first time in seven years, Herring is a credible and exciting addition to the UFC's long-ailing heavyweight division. New fans of the sport may not recognize the name or the inevitable crazy hair-style, but expect a lot of new "Texas Crazy Horse" fans by nights end.

His opponent, Jake O'Brien, is undefeated in his relatively short MMA career, with two victories in the UFC against Kristof Midoux and Josh Shockman who have a combined record of six wins and seven losses.

For O'Brien, Herring represents a mountain of experience he'll have to overcome. Forged in the hellish pits of Fedor's mauling ground and pound; Cro Cop's deadly left high kick (and liver kick); and Nogueira's submission prowess, Herring has been in there with the best and beaten the rest. With convincing victories over Tom Erikson, Mark Kerr and Igor Vovchanchyn, Herring has all the tools to become a huge success here in the States. Look for him to come out throwing those big tree-trunk leg kicks of his and lord help O'Brien if Herring gets a chance to use those new toys (think left and right elbows).

Hermes Franca versus Spencer Fischer has the potential to be the most exciting fight on the card. For one, you've got two fighters with a ton of experience who both know how to end a fight at a moments notice. Fischer has a ridiculous eighteen of nineteen victories ending before the final bell. He's bounced back from a tough split decision loss to Sam Stout with two TKO victories at UFC 60 and 64. He's hungry, well-rounded and composed, and meeting one of the toughest lightweights in the UFC.

Somewhere amidst the legal mumbo-jumbo of the UFC's contract with Hermes Franca there must be a clause that states, "Thou shalt not participate in a boring match lest ye be stricken with fever blisters and debilitating jungle rot." How else can you explain all of his great battles? Whatever the reason, Franca will no doubt be ready to dazzle fans (and the "King" Fisher if he's not careful) with his multifaceted submission attack and tremendous heart.

The swing bout offers up an intriguing and important match-up between middleweight contenders Nathan Marquardt and Dean Lister. Marquardt, the former King of Pancrase, is 3-0 in the UFC and has shown a solid all-around game anchored by his strength and ability to control the pace of a fight.

Lister is an Abu-Dhabi champion who brings with him a very advanced submission game to the UFC's middleweight division. 2-0 in the UFC, Lister looks to do what Ivan Salaverry and Joe Doerkson couldn't: overcome Marquardt's smothering ground control and finish with the submission. A win for either fighter would put him in prime position for a title shot at some point in the near future.

Main Card Bouts
Rashad Evans vs. Sean Salmon
Heath Herring vs. Jake O'Brien
Hermes Franca vs. Spencer Fisher

Swing Bout
Nathan Marquardt vs. Dean Lister

Preliminary Bouts
Josh Burkman vs. Chad Reiner
Ed Herman vs. Chris Price
Din Thomas vs. Clay Guida
Rich Clementi vs. Ross Pointon
(Seth Petruzelli vs. Hector Ramirez is off due to an ankle injury suffered by Ramirez)

Main card airs live on Spike TV on Thursday, January 25 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (ET/PT)

The Northern Touch

Bocek Defeats Mahlow at King of the Cage-Freedom Fight

One of Canada's leading Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, Mark Bocek, defeated John Mahlow this past weekend at Saturday night's, King of the Cage-Freedom Fight event, which was held in Gatineau, Quebec. Bocek submitted Mahlow at 4:09 of the first round with an arm-bar, dropping the veteran's record to 7-7. The win for the lightweight fighter and 2006 ADCC North American Trials Champion Bocek, extends his MMA record to 3-0.

"John Mahlow is a tough opponent," says Bocek in recalling his latest victory. "I have a lot of respect for him and I never overlooked him. I noticed that he was more of a wrestler, BJJ guy who didn't mind mixing it up with strikes, so my game plan was to get it to the ground, once I was there I used some ground and pound, eventually got his back and applied a triangle, armlock. It was a fast paced first round. This has been my toughest MMA test so far, John is a seasoned veteran. However I'm always looking for ways to improve my game and I'm awaiting the next challenge, nothing signed yet, but now more people will know who I' am and know what to expect from me."

The win for Bocek is another victory for him against reputable opposition, as the BJJ instructor also submitted Kevin Manderson in the first round at last October's Apex "Night of Champions" event. Bocek, who has been training in BJJ now for over a decade, has also been cross-training in striking and wrestling now for quite some time, to prepare himself for his still relatively new MMA career.

"I have cross trained in all the other arts for the last 6 years," says Bocek. "I train wrestling with members of the Canadian National team, boxing with a former Olympic coach and Muay Thai with guys that have fought in Thailand. I always try to stay as well rounded as possible and I always keep an open mind with no ego. I want to fight as much as possible and remain active. I have Abu-Dhabi in May but I would like to have one more MMA fight before that and as soon as Abu-Dhabi is over, right back to MMA. That is the reason I originally got into BJJ for and that is what BJJ was initially designed for, fighting not sport."

Saturday's event was the first card co-promoted by King of the Cage Canada and Freedom Fight, and Bocek is looking forward to competing again for the two organizations.

"King of the Cage, Freedom Fight was a very well run and professional event that I was glad to be a part of," Bocek tells FCF. "This was their first show in Quebec so that is a big step forward for them. I have always wanted to fight in KOTC and I'm looking forward to the next one. Also the exposure on TSN is good too. I would like to thank everyone who helped me get ready for this fight."

Also that evening, KOTC Canada's Lightheavyweight Champion Travis Galbraith, successfully defended his title against Craig "Farmer" Brown, stopping the Ontario fighter at 22 seconds of round two. The win for Galbraith pushes the champion's record to 11-4, while Brown's drops to 3-1. In other action from KOTC, Freedom Fight, TJ Grant submitted Nicholas Portieous with a first round arm bar, Chester Post tapped out Markhaile Wedderburn at 4:18 of round two with a guillotine choke, and Brett Portieous got the first round TKO win over Jean-Marc Lalonde. All in all, KOTC Canada promoter Ken Kupsch was very happy with the event, the company's first venture into Eastern Canada.

"Brett Portieous versus Jean-Marc Lalonde was the most exciting fight of the night," says Kupsch when asked to give his personal highlight of the evening. "These guys exchanged shot after shot and kept standing. Unbelievable! Pete Rodley (Freedom Fight promoter) really did an awesome job of putting this all together and I think you'll see another KOTC in the east very soon. We had 1,800 fans which sold out the area. We would like to book a bigger one next time as I hate to see people turned away. The fans were really into the fighting and seemed to know exactly what the fighters were doing at all times."

Upcoming Canadian MMA Events
  • National Fighting Challenge 7 - January 26th, Squamish Nation's Rec. Centre, North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Gladiator Fighting Series, Colosseum 4 - January 26th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Maximum Fighting Championship "Gridiron" - February 3rd, Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta
  • TKO 28 "Inevitable" - February 9th, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
  • Extreme Cage Combat 5 - March 31, Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Ultimate Cage Wars - April 7th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba

  Tuesday - January 23, 2007
Pride 33 "The Second Coming" Card Beginning to Take Form
Diaz to Meet Gomi in Non-Title Bout
By FCF Staff

UFC 49: Nick Diaz - Photo by Joel Gold
Three more fights have been officially added to the upcoming Pride 33 card to be held February 24th at the Thomas and Mack Center, in Las Vegas, Nevada. In what has been rumored for sometime now, Pride's website now confirms that UFC veteran Nick Diaz has indeed been signed by the Japanese promotion, and will be facing the organization's lightweight champion, Takanori Gomi in a non-title bout. Diaz, (14-6) has looked impressive in his last two fights, stopping Gleison Tibau in the first round with strikes at UFC 65 on November 18th last fall, and prior to that, submitting Miletich fighter Josh Neer with a kimura at UFC 62 last August. Despite the fact that Diaz has lost six times, his losses have come way competing against the UFC's best welterweight fighters, including Diego Sanchez, Karo Parisyan and current UFC Lightweight Champion Sean Sherk. The Cesar Gracie fighter, who also has notable victories over Drew Fickett and Robbie Lawler, should present a tremendous challenge for the Japanese champion. Diaz, who has been competing at 170 pounds, will have to drop ten pounds for his fight with Gomi, a weight loss that should have little effect on the 23 year old fighter.

Gomi has won his last three fights in a row, including his recent victory over Mitsuhiro Ishida at Pride's New Year's Eve "Shockwave" event, where Gomi stormed through his highly regarded opponent, stopping Ishida with strikes in the first round. Pride's lightweight champion went 3-1 in 2006, avenging his loss to Marcus Aurelio in April at Bushido 10, by working his way to a unanimous decision victory over the American Top Team fighter at Bushido 13 in November. In between his bouts with Auerlio, Gomi defeated David Baron at August's Bushido 12 card. Gomi, will bring a record of 27-3 when he faces Diaz on February 24th.

Another intriguing bout that has been added to the card will feature Frank Trigg taking on Kazuo Misaki in a Pride welterweight bout. (183 pounds) Trigg has of course recently re-invigorated his fighting career in fine form by stopping Jason Miller with strikes at Icon Sport "Unstoppable" on December 1st. Since exiting the UFC, Trigg has gone 2-1, losing to Carlos Condit at Rumble on the Rock 9 last April, after defeating Rhonald Jhun at ROTR 8 on January 20th, 2006. Trigg's current record now stands at 14-5.

The veteran Misaki (18-7-2) has entrenched his reputation for being one of the sport's more resilient fighters over the last year, going 4-2 in that time competing against some of worlds better 183 pound fighters. Misaki defeated Denis Kang by decision on November 5th, last fall to lay claim to Pride's Welterweight Grand Prix Title, after Paulo Filho, who had defeated Misaki earlier that evening, was unable to continue due to injury. Misaki also went 1-1 in 2006 against Pride Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, and also defeated Phil Baroni by unanimous decision on June 4th at Bushido 11.

Veteran American fighter Travis Wiuff (43-9) will make his Pride debut against Kazuhiro Nakamura (11-6) in the lightheavyweight division. Nakamura, who dropped a unanimous decision loss to Mauricio "Shogun" Rua at Pride's Shockwave event last month, will be looking to rebound against Wiuff, who went 3-3 in 2006.

The announcement by Pride confirms 5 fights now for the upcoming event, which will also include Wanderlei Silva defending his middleweight title against Dan Henderson, and Mac Danzig's Pride debut against Hayato Sakurai.

From the event's promoter:
The Lightweight TITLE FIGHT!!

Brawl at the Mall 5 poster

When? Saturday February 10, 2007
Where? Vision Quest Sport and Fitness center at the Auburn Supermall.

Tickets available at:
  • AMC Kickboxing & Pankration - Kirkland - 425-822-9656
  • Vision Quest - Auburn - 253-333-7771
Who's fighting? See list below, subject to change.
  • Adam Harrison vs Taureen Washington 160 MMA
  • Anton Tsiberkin vs Chris Zaragoza 160 Kickboxing
  • Drew Brokenshire vs Ian Wallace 145 MMA
  • Mawi Miwas vs Luke Pitman 160 Kickboxing
  • Nick Gibbons vs Nick King 205 MMA
  • Mike Richardson vs Demetrious Johnson 130
  • Kickboxing Heather vs Danelle Miyamoto 105 MMA
  • Josh Chinchin vs Shane Friesz 145 MMA
  • Caros Fodor vs Jared Teer 160 Muay Thai
  • Brian Roberge vs Jason Perry 185 #1 ranking bout MMA
  • Zach Mukai vs Jett Lafayette - Lightweight Title

Clayton French:
New KOTC Lightweight Champ Responds to Danzig

By Kelsey Mowatt

Newly crowned King of the Cage Lightweight Champion Clay French has responded to some of the statements Mac Danzig made to FCF in regards to their fight last weekend. French was awarded a split decision victory at KOTC "Hard Knocks", Friday night in Rockford Illinois to unseat the Pride bound former champ. In an interview earlier this week, Danzig told FCF that he did not agree with the judge's decision giving French the victory.

"I thought I won the fight," French tells FCF. "Mac fought very well, he obviously feels differently then I do, the game plan going in was to neutralize his strengths and capitalize on his weaknesses, and I felt like I was able to do that. I was able to secure quite a few takedowns and get some decent ground pound. I mean he's entitled to his opinion and I'm entitled to mine, he put on a great performance and I wish him all the best against Sakurai."

Danzig also expressed his suspicions to FCF that maybe, what he believed was a pro-French crowd, might have affected the judges scoring, a sentiment that French also does not agree with.

"It wasn't my hometown," says French. "It's four and a half hours away, yeah, I did have some friends and family there watching but it was an exciting fight, I mean a lot of the people there screaming and cheering were excited about the fight. A lot of the people there cheering weren't there to watch me, they were there to watch King of the Cage."

The win extends French's record to 9-2, and gets the Reinhardt Mixed Martial Arts fighter back on the winning track after dropping back to back losses against Justin James and Shinya Aoki last year. French, who fought Aoki last November at Pride Bushido 13 and still has one remaining fight on his Pride contract, is looking forward to life as KOTC Champ.

"Now I got to defend it," French says in regards to now holding the belt. "Danzig did a good job of defending it for a long time and I plan on doing the same thing. I just got to get motivated and give my 100% in training and when it's time to fight."

Stay tuned for the rest of the interview with French, when it can be heard on FCF Radio later this week.

  Monday - January 22, 2007
Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In the 50th episode of FCF Radio,
we talk with Spencer Fisher, Rob McCullough and Bart Palaszewski.

Click here to listen/download.  

Mac Danzig to Fight Sakurai At Pride 33
By Kelsey Mowatt

Former King of the Cage Lightweight Champion Mac Danzig has signed with Pride and will make his debut for the promotion against Japanese star Hayato Sakurai. Danzig has just over one month now to prepare for the upcoming fight that will take place on February 24th, at Pride 33, in Las Vegas, Nevada. For Danzig, who has fought exclusively now for a couple of years with KOTC, signing with the Japanese promotion is a dream come true.

"I'm really looking forward to it," Danzig tells FCF. "It's a two fight deal so what regardless of what happens in this fight, I know I'll be back. It's also non-exclusive so I can fight elsewhere; I'm not sure what's going to happen with KOTC, I just want to concentrate on this fight for now. My manager had been telling me that it was about a 99% done deal for about a week now so I've been kind of distracted."

The signing came just days before Danzig was set to defend his KOTC title against Pride veteran Clay French this past Friday, at KOTC "Hard Knocks" in Rockford, Illinois. French was awarded the split decision victory over Danzig, ending a 13 fight undefeated streak for the Millennia Jiu-Jitsu fighter and his extensive reign as the organization's lightweight champion.

"No excuses, it distracted me a little to be honest. It shouldn't have but it did," says Danzig in regards to his recent deal with Pride and its impact on this weekend's fight. "I was worried that I might break my hand, or get some other injury that would prevent me from fighting on the 24th, that maybe they would forget about me you know? I'm not really disappointed with my performance though, everyone I talked to said I won the fight. It was weird, every time he threw a punch the crowd went nuts, one time he hit me on the collar bone and the whole crowd was on its feet. He would be in my guard hitting my arms and the same thing, he's (French) a local guy, so there were a lot of people from that area there to support him. I think he won round two but that was it, I did way more damage to him, and I think I dominated the stand-up. The two judges that gave the fight to him were local judges."

Now the 16-3 Danzig must prepare for his next fight against one of the world's more highly regarded lightweights in the 26-7-2 Sakurai. The Los Angeles resident is keenly aware of his upcoming opponent's abilities and knows it very well might be his toughest test to date.

"Well the problem with Sakurai, in my opinion, is that he's the toughest guy to beat in the lightweight division," Danzig tells FCF. "He's good at everything, at least with Gomi, who's an unbelievable fighter, you can say to yourself, alright if I can get him to the ground you know you'll be okay. With Sakurai, he has good stand-up, good ground, good throws. I also think he has a great chin, I just think that Gomi hits really hard, and when he knocked him out before, Sakurai was just really tired and kind of out of it. If I beat him, it's huge for me; I just have to fight the perfect fight!"

Much of the Pride 33 card is yet to be confirmed, other than the evening's main event, which will feature Dan Henderson against Pride Middleweight Champion, Wanderlei Silva.

Breaking Even in UFC,
Marrero Seizes New Opportunity

By Derek Callahan

Carmelo Marrero - Photo by Tom DeFazio
Even with the UFC opening their doors to new competition due primarily to more television and pay per view programming, the jump from the grassroots is still a significant one to make. When Carmelo Marrero (6-1) finished off the American Top Team's Petrus Walker (2-2-1) with a TKO last June, he was just about to make that very jump. He leapt into deep waters against Frenchman Cheick Kongo (8-3-1) at UFC 64 last October. Zuffa's doorway has gotten wider since they increased their number of events per year, but Kongo developed a pedigree within the octagon and was a tough way to make a debut.

He excited fans with two straight stoppages in two straight months and earned some consideration as a legitimate contender. When Marrero made his entrance to the organization this past October he did it as an underdog. As a heavyweight who started polishing his takedowns and conditioning with the Rider University wrestling team, Marrero wasn't fazed by the striking dynamo Kongo from so far away.

"I think I sort of set the bar real high when I beat Cheik Kongo. I think it was a poor match-up for him," says Marrero.

With the win, he exposed some weaknesses of Kongo's and asserted his own strengths. Looking back on his earlier fights, Marrero was an unpolished wrecking ball of a heavyweight. The wrestling technique was there, but what stood out the most was his single-mindedness on staying tough.

"I was really just a pure wrestler," he says about his early bouts. In his second fight, fellow New Jersey collegian Chris Vuolo was able to take Marrero down in a fight that saw both men manhandle each other with undeterred strength and resolve to slug it out with punches or slams. It was a rough way to go about fighting, and no chin was left guarded. This type of style had consequences for Marrero. By the time he found someone to test this 2-0 record against at Reality Fighting 9 in August of 2005, he was on a collision course with a career-changing turn of events.

He has thought about dropping to light heavyweight for some time. By the end of his wrestling career Marrero was an ex-Division I heavyweight clocking in at about 250 pounds. Sherman Pendergarst changed all that when they met at Reality Fighting. Pendergarst "shattered my jaw," he remembers. "I had my mouth wired shut and went from 250 to 215 in two weeks."

On a diet of flavored broth and any other gourmet meal that could be consumed through a straw, Marrero dropped weight dramatically. Now walking around at about 220-pounds, he has since adjusted his mass in a healthier way. That first dramatic drop was the big sign that it was possible, because it put weight in a better perspective for Marrero.

"When you're 250 making the cut to 205 it doesn't seem feasible," he says. It was, and it's opened up new doors for the soon-to-be light heavyweight. "There were plans to go to 205 before I got to the UFC. My next fight will definitely be at 205," he says.

Although the plans were in place long before the Pennsylvania-resident met Gabriel Gonzaga, the fight was a new experience for Marrero, who at the time was yet to lose a bout.

"You never plan on losing but I didn't want to be that guy looking for easier fights," he says. Although Gonzaga took a bad rap because of his snoozer with Kevin Jordan that very well could have been sponsored by Nyquil, he has put together a three-fight win streak in the octagon. It isn't an easy feat, and it came together with his first-round armbar win over Marrero. For the ex-wrestler, it was a clear-cut fight that just didn't go his way.
"Not to make excuses, but I felt like I had a lot more to show," he says. "I got caught. He was a quality opponent, took me out of my game. "Just a culmination that he was a technical heavyweight and 250 [pounds]."

Now a drop to light-heavyweight is in order and it may be made with a new training camp. In Pennsylvania without a set routine or mentor to guide him along in an increasingly scientifically approached sport, Marrero is considering a move to Georgia to train with Adam Singer and the Hardcore Gym.

"I definitely see that coming in the future," he says, although he isn't sure of the timetable. "Adam Singer's a phenomenal coach he just ties everything together." The goal is to polish out the edges that a career wrestling sharpens. Round out his skills and try his hand at the light heavyweights of the UFC, where the doors to competition are widening. For Marrero, it's his turn to try and seal them shut.

Shooto Announces Feb 17 Rematch
Between Aoki and Kikuchi

FCF Staff

Shooto's Middleweight Champion Shinya Aoki will defend his 167 pound title on February 17th against Akira Kikuchi at the Pacifico Yokohoma National ConventionCentre. Aoki (9-2) defeated Kikuchi (14-2), on the same February date in 2006, by unanimous decision at Shooto "The Victory of the Truth," and has won 4 more fights since then. Following his bout with Kikuchi, Aoki has gone on to become a major player in Pride's lightweight division, defeating both Jason Black and Joachim Hansen. At Pride's Bushido 12, on August 26th, Aoki stunned many in the MMA world when he submitted Jason Black in the first round with a triangle choke. The defeat was only Black's second in his extensive career, with his only other loss coming way of injury when he fought Shonie Carter on February17th, at King of the Cage's "Redemption on the River" event last spring. After defeating Clay French at Bushido 13 on November 5'th, with a flying triangle choke, Aoki was quickly gaining widespread international attention for the first time in his career. At Pride's "Shockwave" event on New Year's Eve, the Japanese fighter once again demonstrated that his growing reputation for outstanding submission skills was well founded. Aoki needed just over two minutes to catch Joachim Hansen with a highlight reel gogo-platta, forcing the Norwegian fighter, whom many regard as one of the world's best at 160 pounds, to tap.

Kikuchi on the other hand has not been as active as of late, and has only competed once since his first encounter with the submission wizard Aoki. On October 14th last fall, Kikuchi defeated American veteran Ronald Jhun with a first round armlock at Shooto's "Champion Carnival." The Killer Bee fighter's only other defeat was a unanimous decision loss to Jake Shields in 2003, a loss he later avenged, by earning returning the favor to Shields at Shooto's, December 14th card in 2004, where Kikuchi worked his way to a unanimous decision victory.

IFL Press Release:
IFL logo
Warner Home Video Enters the Ring as They Team up with the International Fight League on an Exclusive Home Video Agreement
Mixed Martial Arts at its Finest Comes to DVD and EST in 2007

BURBANK, Calif., January 22, 2007 -- Warner Home Video (WHV) and The International Fight League, Inc. the world's first professional team-based mixed martial arts league, have reached an agreement for the exclusive worldwide home entertainment distribution of IFL branded programming. The announcement was jointly made by Jeff Brown, WHV Senior Vice President and General Manager TV and Franchise, and Gareb Shamus, IFL Co-founder and CEO.

WHV will be the exclusive worldwide home entertainment distributor for all IFL content including sanctioned league fights, sanctioned championship fights, and IFL specials and/or events. WHV will distribute the IFL programming via packaged media (DVD) as well as through Electronic Sell Through (EST.)

The first full 11 date IFL season launched January 19 at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, California with 12 teams representing the U.S. as well as Canada and Japan. Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has experienced significant growth in the last few years with the emergence of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC.) The IFL will expand the sport of MMA in a team format to an international audience and continue to grow the brand.

WHV plans to distribute no less than four new programs each year for the next 3 years. Titles will vary from complete matches to year in review, fighter profiles and best knockouts with the first, DVD set to be released Q3, 2007.

Regarding the announcement, Brown remarked, "We are extremely excited to bring fans what we feel is one of the fastest growing sports in the world through our deal with the IFL. With the tremendous success of MMA releases, we're thrilled to bring this team oriented league to home video for the first time ever."

He added, "The IFL has done an exceptional job launching this new format of mixed martial arts and we look forward to building a long lasting relationship and producing quality home video that the fans will want to add to their collection."

Shamus said "We are thrilled to join forces with Warner Home Video on a worldwide home video distribution deal. To join their roster of sports clients is an honor for us and we will work closely with them to expand the IFL brand into the home video market."

  Sunday - January 21, 2007
The Beginning of a New Era:
Razor Takes WEC Lightweight Title in WEC's Inaugural Zuffa Show
By Steven Marrocco

(Las Vegas, NV -- January 20th) The name on the cage said World Extreme Cagefighting, but for all intents and purposes, the WEC's 26th installment was a Zuffa affair. Nixing their small pentagon for the traditional octagon, the night featured fighters from the promotion's younger days, but with a decidedly slick twist in packaging and presentation. Indeed, it seems the WEC is destined to become the Bushido of the West, grooming up and coming fighters for the big show.

A centerpiece of the new wave in talent is Lightweight "Razor" Rob McCullough, a WEC fixture for years by his own choosing. When FCF last spoke to him, he had resisted several offers to go to the Ultimate Fighting Championship due to the generally low premiums paid to starting fighters. An open invitation to season 5 of the Ultimate Fighter was turned down. Instead, he had flourished in the WEC (and the short-lived WFA), building a name amongst hardcore fans. With Zuffa practically coming to him, much was riding on his debut.

Casual friends with Rob outside the ring, opponent Kit Cope hammed it up at every opportunity, baiting Rob with a slapstick routine that drew an icy stare from the Razor. After a brief circle, Kit threw a hard kick to the body that Rob caught, slamming him with a right hand that sent them to the mat. Content to work in Kit's half guard, McCullough worked to pass Kit's guard, peppering the vaunted kickboxer with punches to the body.

Surprisingly, the much-touted stand-up war between the two turned into a ground exposition, as Cope attempting to secure a shoulder lock from the bottom. For a moment, it looked well cinched; however, Rob quickly pushed off the offending leg and went back to half guard. Not one to back down, Cope immediately spun for Razor's leg and went to work on a heel hook, then a toehold. McCullough showcased calmness on the ground, sitting on the leg in question, punching down on Cope as he worked to complete the lock.

After working out of the hold, the two stood up in the clinch, where McCullough kneed Cope in the head a few times before slamming him back to the mat. Somewhere between side mount and half guard, McCullough threw a short elbow to Cope's side. After a few seconds, Cope grimaced in pain and rolled over, tapping out at 2:53 of the first. "I don't know if it was on the takedown," McCullough pondered backstage. "I've got a saw right hand. He yelped, like when you kick a dog." Upon replay, it was not clear that the elbow had caused one of Cope's ribs to break, as Cope himself was unsure, but nevertheless, the fight was decisive.

"I want everybody to realize, I'm not just a one-dimensional kickboxer," McCullough said confidently after the show. "I trained my ass off for this fight. I'm married to this job. Mixed martial arts is the only thing I can imagine myself doing."

In Featherweight action, youngster Urijah Faber took on submission artist Joe Pearson. Pearson, coming off a big win in a recent Pride, wasted no time in working for a submission after being slammed into the cage. Faber simply overpowered him, wrestling out of each and every attempt to fire hard elbows down from Pearson's guard. Eventually, a right hand tagged Pearson a little too hard, causing him to clutch his forehead in pain. Rearing back again, Faber threw a right elbow that brought an immediate tap out at 2:31 of the first.

Welterweight John Alessio showed no mercy to vet Brian Gassaway, using a perfectly executed inside trip takedown to deposit the Chicagoan on the mat. After a steady series of strikes from Gassaway's half guard, Gassaway turned his back and succumbed to a rear choke at 4:50 of the first.

Undefeated middleweights Logan Clark and Blas Avena put on a three-round war of attrition that would determine one fighter's first loss. Indeed, Clark's cardio and heart allowed him to bounce back from a lackluster first to take Avena down in the second and ground and pound for the remainder of the bout. A series of four nasty elbows from Avena's half guard brought a TKO victory for Clark at 4:23 of the 3rd.

Despite middleweight Fernando Gonzalez's effective counterpunching and brutal kicks to the body, opponent Brendon Seguin used his overzealous striking charges to take him down at will. Smothering Gonzalez for most of the second and third, scoring consistently with elbows and punches, Seguin got the go ahead 30-27 nod from all three judges.

Popular WEC vet Olaf Alonso ran into the hammer that was Alex Karalexis' right hand, absorbing a tremendous amount of punishment on his feet and on the ground. Karalexis displayed a far more refined game on the ground, as he neutralized the submission artist and rained down elbows and punches at will. Midway through the second, a large gash had opened on Olaf's nose, prompting a doctor stoppage at 3:53 of the first.

Rumble on the Rock tournament winner Carlos Condit steamrolled vet Kyle Jensen, tapping him out with a rear-naked choke after a frenzied scramble on the ground at 2:10 of the first.

The Pit fighter Antonio Banuelos proved to be as exciting a fighter as he is a cornerman, outclassing Midwesterner Mike French at every turn. For his part, French proved to be an extremely tough opponent, taking all the punishment Banuelos dished out, but he never had a chance to mount a solid offense. Banuelos easily walked away with the unanimous decision.

The always impressive Rich Crunkilton put his bid in for the next WEC lightweight title shot, applying the under-utilized "Anaconda" choke to take Oregonian Mike Joy out at 4:23 of the third round.

Full Results:

WEC 26
Held January 20, 2007
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino
Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Rob McCullough def. Kit Cope at 2:53 of R1 by verbal submission
  • Uriah Faber def. Joe Pearson at 2:31 of R1 by TKO (strikes)
  • John Alessio def. Brian Gassaway at 4:50 of R1 by submission (rear choke)
  • Logan Clark def. Blas Avena at 4:23 of R3 by TKO (strikes)
  • Brendan Seguin def. Fernando Gonzalez at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-27)
  • Alex Karalexis def. Olaf Alonso at 3:53 of R2 by doctor stoppage
  • Carlos Condit def. Kyle Jensen at 2:10 of R1 by submission (rear choke)
  • Antonio Banuelos def. Mike French at 5:00 of R3 by unanimous decision (30-27, 30-27, 30-26)
  • Rich Crunkilton def. Mike Joy at 4:23 of R3 by submission (anaconda choke)

  Saturday - January 20, 2007
Cage Fury Fighting Championship 3: "Battleground"
Report by Gaby Genia - Photos by Keith Mills

(Atlantic City, NJ -- January 19th) "Battleground", the aptly named third installment of Cage Fury Fighting Championship, delivered an action-packed night to a sold-out house. While fans fought for a chance to meet celebrities such as Arturo Gatti, Tito Ortiz and Jenna Jameson outside the cage, inside the cage the athletes fought hard not to wither under the pugilistic pressure. In an evening of upsets, submissions and all-out wars, three new champs were crowned and a belt changed hands.

CFFC 3 (Jan 19, 2007): Jenna Jameson and boyfriend Tito Ortiz watch the fights - Photo by Keith Mills
Ortiz with girlfriend Jameson

Highlights of the night included:

Deividas Taurosevicius, the number-three lightweight in New Jersey, taking on highly-touted UFC vet Dan Lauzon, and beating him at his own game. Looking to catch his opponent in submissions, Lauzon jumped to guard at every opportunity, and paid for his folly with an onslaught of strikes from above. Tapping out the Team Aggression fighter with a rear-naked choke, Taurosevicius displayed an intensity that is sure to land him in the big show sooner rather than later.

CFFC 3 (Jan 19, 2007): Deividas Taurosevicius dominating a bloody Dan Lauzon - Photo by Keith Mills
Taurosevicius dominating a bloody Lauzon

Without question, the standout fight of the night was that of Nissim Levy vs. Alexis Aquino. These two hard-hitters spent a solid three rounds giving it their all, and there was no shortage of leather exchanged. For every punch thrown by Levy -- and there were many -- Aquino answered in kind. In the end, it was Aquino's cardio that proved to be the deciding factor. Though the unanimous decision was awarded to Aquino, there was no shame in Levy's loss; he displayed an amazing amount of heart.

Paired up against the lean and lanky Erick Charles, Dante Rivera once again demonstrated the deadly submission skills that have catapulted him to the upper echelons of the Garden State rankings. After a battle for dominance in the clinch, Rivera took his opponent to the ground and put the upstart Bombsquad rep to sleep. Next stop for Rivera: the IFL.

CFFC 3 (Jan 19, 2007): Dante Rivera pounding on Erick Charles - Photo by Keith Mills
Rivera pounding on Charles

Full Results
CFFC 3 (Jan 19, 2007): Tamdan McCory kicking Anthony D'Angelo - Photo by Keith Mills
McCory kicking D'Angelo
  • NABC Welterweight Title
    Tamdan McCory (Bombsquad - 159lbs) vs. Anthony D'Angelo (United MMA - 168lbs)
    McCory via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 2:34 of R1

  • NABC Middleweight Title
    Erick Charles (Bombsquad - 185lbs) vs. Dante Rivera (Team Renzo/Almeida - 186lbs)
    Rivera via tap out due to arm triangle at 4:51 of R2

  • NABC Lightweight Title
    Deividas Taurosevicius (Panza MMA - 154lbs) vs. Dan Lauzon (Reality Self-Defense - 156lbs)
    Taurosevicius via tap out due to rear-naked choke at 1:55 of R2

  • CFFC Welterweight Title
    Carlos Nieves (Team Renzo/Almeida - 169lbs) vs. Mike Varner (Boneyard - 168lbs)
    Varner via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 4:35 of R2

Main Card
  • Nissim Levy (TSMMA - 183lbs) vs. Alexis Aquino (TNT Fight Team - 185lbs)
    Aquino via unanimous decision

  • Rich Ashkar (Jersey Shore BJJ - 170lbs) vs. Doug Gordon (Rio JJ - 171lbs)
    Ashkar via tap out due to armbar at 2:29 of R2

  • Jarrid Palmer (Bombsquad - 242lbs) vs. Lamont Lister (Team Balance - 215lbs)
    Palmer via tapout due to strikes at 1:15 of R3

  • Jim Sweeney (Jersey Shore BJJ - 169lbs) vs. Brian DeMuro (Team Balance -166lbs)
    DeMuro via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 1:02 of R2

  • Sean McCann (Team Endgame - 201lbs) vs. Ken Owens (TNT Fight Team - 202lbs)
    McCann via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 2:05 of R1

Horn Digs Deep and Guts out Big Victory
in IFL Season Opener

Report by Steven Marrocco - Photos by Daisay Rosas

Friday, January 19 -- Despite an unruly audience and several questionable referee decisions, the IFL featured two new teams taking home victories against veterans as the Condors defeated the Tigersharks and the Lions bested the Razorclaws.

Tallied at 5,005 attendees, the event was far from a sell-out, but Commissioner Kurt Otto was still positive about the event. "What's important is that we have a great event which will translate to a great TV show," Otto said afterwards.

IFL (Jan 19, 2007): Ken (left) and Frank Shamrock - Photo by Daisy Rosas
Shamrock brothers
Otto also revealed more specifics of the sudden cancellation of the Tiger White/Raphael Davis bout, stating that White had been medically cleared by the CSAC, but had drawn "red flags" from the commission that caused them to review the fight more stringently, one being that White was over 36. The originally stated justification of White's level of experience was apparently an afterthought in the decision. "In every other state, that fight would have happened," Otto said. "The commission should really trust that these coaches are going to bring guys that can compete at this level. But that's their system and I have to respect it. I don't agree with it, but I have to respect it."

In the night's superfight, Jeremy Horn bounced back from a disappointing loss against Matt Lindland to overcome the game Falankio Vitale, wearing the Hawaiian down with a relentless assault of punches, kicks, and knees to score a split decision victory. For his part, Vitale made Horn pay at every turn, using his supremely crisp boxing skills to put two nasty shiners under Horn's eyes, but Horn's clinch work and control on the ground ultimately gave him the go ahead nod.

"I kind of lost the fight in me at some point," Horn says of his recent past. "I still enjoyed training, but when you get in the ring, you need that extra something. This fight was a chance for me to find out if I still had that."

Condors vs. Tigersharks

Lightweights: An early stoppage marked the first evening of the night, as Adam Lynn got caught with an overhand right early in the first. Though Lynn tied Lierly up, grasping the newcomer's side as Lierly sought to end the bout with hammerfists, the ref saw fit to stop it at 0:44 of the first.

Heavyweights: Despite showing well refined boxing technique, Curtis Crawford was overmatched on the ground against Antoine Jaoude and was eventually worn down by the Brazilian's assault on the mat. On all judges' scorecards, he walked away with an extra point, giving him the Unanimous 30-27 decision.

IFL (Jan 19, 2007): Curtis Crawford lands a kick on Antoine Jaoude - Photo by Daisy Rosas
Crawford lands a kick on Jaoude

Lightweights: Alternates Tristan Witt and Danny Suarez tangled in a brief, but decisive victory for Condor Suarez as he took the youngster down after a brief exchange on the feet. Witt managed to reverse his foe fairly quickly, but fell right into a triangle and tapped when Suarez added a shoulder lock that he cranked simultaneously, bringing the tap out at 1:28 of the first frame.

Middleweights: Condor Jeremy Williams continued the trend of quick submissions, falling short with a standing guillotine to sink a triangle in the opening minute. Williams cranked so hard that it was at least ten seconds before his screams of "he's out!" to the ref were heeded. After being released, Marunde slumped back, completely unconscious, at 1:13 of the first.

Light-heavyweights: In one of the most impressive performances of the evening, Tigershark Reese Andy stood toe to toe with Condor Justin Levens, outwrestling him at every turn, taking Levens out of the first round for the first time in his career. Despite throwing several hopeful bolos at Andy, Levens banked too heavily on a guillotine counter to Andy's takedowns, which were turned away unanimously. So followed the decision, with Andy taking away three 30-27 scores for his effort.

Razorclaws vs. Lions

Lightweights: After surviving a punch that dropped him in the opening exchange, Lion John Gunderson had his way with newcomer Josh Odom, controlling him for the duration of the bout. Powering his way through an armbar, Gunderson easily took the mount and nixed an easy armbar of his own to sink a triangle from the mount, rolling Odom over for the tap out at 3:05 of the first.

Heavyweights: Undefeated Lion Roy Nelson dominated the inexperienced Razorclaw Vince Lucero, driving him back to the edge of the ring with punches before slamming him onto the mat. Immediately taking the mount, he toyed with Lucero with strikes, leaving him nowhere to go as the ref stepped in to stop the punishment at 1:58 of the first.

Lightweights: In the other bizarre stoppage of the evening, Lion Joe Martin caught a big right hook in the second and clinched with Razorclaw Clint Coronel's body, as Adam Lynn had done earlier in the evening. Though he was defending and cognizant of his surroundings, the ref stepped in and stopped it to the outrage of the crowd.

Welterweights: Veteran Lion Ryan Healy grounded and pounded his opponent, Razorclaw Ray Steinbess, for a methodic and plodding three round fight. Steinbess proved to be too anxious to secure a leg lock, and fell prey to Healy's superior wrestling skills and calm under fire. Healy won a Unanimous 30-27, but did not win many fans for his measured approach.

Middleweights: Razorclaw Dan Molina and Lion Brian Foster survived a total arena power outage to leave everything in the ring, as the majority of their fight was lit by spotlight. Foster showed a remarkable toughness in his return to the competition as he defended submission attempt after submission attempt by the crafty Molina. Interestingly enough, it was a kick thrown by Foster when transitioning from a leg lock of his own that set up the TKO victory. Rocked by the kick, Molina then took four head-snapping shots before rolling onto his stomach and giving Foster the victory at 2:05 of the second.

IFL Full Results:
  • Jeremy Horn def. Falankio Vitale at 4:00 of R5 by split decision
  • Shad Lierly def. Adam Lynn at 0:44 of R1 by TKO
  • Antoine Jaoude def. Curtis Crawford at 4:00 of R3 by unanimous decision
  • Danny Suarez def. Tristan Witt at 1:28 of R1 by submission (shoulder lock)
  • Jeremy Williams def. Bristol Marunde at 1:13 of R1 by submission (triangle choke)
  • Reese Andy def. Justin Levens at 4:00 of R3 by unanimous decision
  • John Gunderson def. Josh Odom at 3:05 of R1 by submission (triangle choke)
  • Roy Nelson def. Vince Lucero at 1:58 of R1 by TKO
  • Clint Colonel def. Joe Martin at 0:45 of R2 by TKO
  • Pat Healy def. Ray Steinbess at 4:00 of R3 by unanimous decision

  Friday - January 19, 2007
Podcast logo

New episode of FCF Radio

In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Travis Lutter and Mike Swick.

Click here to listen/download.  

Across the Pond: British MMA News
By David West

Four Brits off to BodogFight

Four fighters from Cage Rage in the UK will be heading off to Costa Rica in February to take part in the next round of action for BodogFight's reality TV show. US Air Force member Pierre Guillet, who trains and fights out of Cambridgeshire, England, will face powerful South African wrestler Trevor Prangley. Both men have fought Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Prangley is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Andrei Semenov at Bodog's USA vs. Russia show that took place on December 2nd last year. Guillet is similarly coming off a big victory, his TKO over Daijiro Matsui last July, although Guillet was sidelined after that fight with a broken hand. This will mark his return to active competition.

Mark Weir's team-mate Matt Ewin will meet Andrei Semenov in a rematch. The pair first met in December 2004 at M-1 in Russia, where Semenov took the unanimous decision. However, the Russian has lost all three of his fights since the first contest with Ewin and it will be interesting to see how that affects his confidence stepping into the ring. Ewin went 3-1 last year, bringing his record to 16-8-1, although his wins were over limited opposition. He lost against Thiago Goncalves from American Top Team and will need to be on fine form against the Russian to avenge the previous loss.

Featherweight Brad Pickett was scheduled to face Ronnie Mann at Cage Rage 20 on February 10th, but now he's off to Costa Rica instead (who can blame him? London is damp and grey in February). Pickett is coming off two submission wins and is scheduled to face J.R. Simms, while Phil Norman will make a significant step up when he faces Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons. Coming from a background in Jeet Kune Do, Norman is undefeated at 5-0, but has only competed sporadically since he started fighting in 1998. He pulled off an upset over highly regarded BJJ stylist David Bielkheden in his last fight, shutting down Bielkheden's submission game. Pele, however, is a totally different breed of fighter, who will be only too happy to test Norman's chin if the JKD adept fighter chooses to stand and trade.

Seasons three and four of the reality show will be shot simultaneously in Costa Rica and it is not clear at press time which season will feature the four fighters from Britain, although they will not be the first participants from the UK in BodogFight. The UK's top female competitor, Rosi Sexton, and her husband Matt Thorpe took part in the recently wrapped up second season which was shot in St. Petersburg, Russia. Sexton took on Carina Damm from Brazil, who has fought at G.C.M in Japan, while Thorpe's opponent was Diego Gonzalez, who fights out of Sweden. The results of BodogFight: St. Petersburg are being kept under wraps until the series goes out on the ION network starting on February 6th. While Sexton had to contend with the bone-chilling Russian winter, the return to the Costa Rican location means that the four new UK entrants will do their fighting in a ring on the beach. Nice work if you can get it.

Fight Card for Cage Rage 20

The line-up for Cage Rage 20: "Born 2 Fight", is tailor made to appeal to the broadest audience with six heavyweight contests in a card of twelve matches. Eric "Butterbean" Esch is back at the top of the bill after his loss to Rob Broughton in December. This time Esch faces James "The Colossus" Thompson, fresh off his New Year's Eve stoppage of Hidehiko Yoshida in PRIDE. Butterbean may be dangerous on his feet, but if Thompson gets on top of him on the floor, he'll be in trouble as Butterbean's sheer size makes him nigh immobile on the ground. Second on the bill, rising British heavyweight Mustapha Al Turk will face Mark Kerr, who has lost his last three fights and the once unstoppable Smashing Machine has seen his comeback hopes dashed time and again. Al Turk won the European round of the ADCC qualifiers, so he's no slouch on the mat and demolished Henry Miller in his last outing, so if Kerr comes in ill-prepared he'll have his hands full with the Londoner.

Rob Broughton and Tengiz Tedoradze will get to settle just who the best of the British heavyweights is when they clash. Both have beaten James Thompson and Robert Berry and are widely considered the top two big men in the UK. All that remains is to see who is number one and who is runner up. Dave Legeno will take a huge step up when he faces UFC legend Dan Severn. With his flair for the dramatic, thanks to his career as an actor and stuntman, Legeno took a surprise win over Kimo Leopoldo in September and has been training with Don Frye in the US as well as the London-based Team Titan. Legeno only has five MMA fights under his belt with a record of 2-3-0, while Severn has fought 98 professional contests with his current record standing at 77-14-7, so the difference in experience is vast.

Recently crowned British middleweight champion Zelg Galesic will pit his lethal striking skills against Daijiro Matsui in a clash of styles. If Matsui can keep the fight on the floor he may be able to take Galesic out of his element and Matsui has shown he possesses a granite chin in the past (neither Wanderlei Silva nor Igor Vovchanchyn were able to knock him out), but he will surely be sternly tested against Galesic, who has been on a tear since the start of last year, with no one able to take him beyond the first round in his last four outings.

Robbie Olivier will contest the vacant World Featherweight title against Masakazu Imanari, the leg lock technician from Team Rouken. Imanari has fought as a lightweight in the past, losing to Joachim Hansen and Marcus Aurelio, but half of his ten wins came by leg submissions and he's a gifted grappler. Given that Olivier likes to ground and pound, this could be the fight of the night for technical fans.

Cage Rage 20 is scheduled for February 10th at the Wembley Arena, London, England.

Full Fight Card:
  1. Eric "Butterbean" Esch vs. James "The Colossus" Thompson
  2. Mark Kerr vs. Mustapha Al Turk
  3. Tengiz Tedoradze vs. Rob Broughton
  4. Dan Severn vs. Dave Legeno
  5. Daijiro Matsui vs. Zelg Galesic
  6. Mark Buchanan vs. Robert Berry
  7. Tom Howard vs. Tom Blackledge
  8. Masakazu Imanari vs. Robbie Olivier
  9. Jason Barrett vs. Jeremy Bailey
  10. Ronnie Mann vs. Ashley Grimshaw
  11. Marios Zaromskis vs. Paul Taylor
  12. Michael Johnson vs. Lee Doski

More Fights Made Official for UFC 67 Card
By FCF Staff

Patrick Cote's manager Stephane Patry confirmed to FCF today that the Canadian middleweight fighter will be fighting Scott Smith at the Ultimate Fighting Championship's upcoming February 3rd event, which will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre in Las Vegas Nevada. The UFC website is also reporting two other new additions to the card, including Sam Hoger taking on lightheavyweight Lyoto Machida, and Frankie Edgar fighting Tyson Griffin in the lightweight division.

The announcement means that 6 fights now are confirmed for the upcoming show, which will be headlined by Anderson Silva attempting to defend his UFC middleweight belt against "Ultimate Fighter" Season 4 winner, Travis Lutter. The card will also feature the UFC debuts of Mirko "Cro-Cop" Filipovic and Quinton Jackson, who are set to take on Eddie Sanchez and Marvin Eastman respectively.

  Thursday - January 18, 2007
IFL Season Opener Preview
By Steven Marocco

With a ring freshly anointed by the California State Athletic Commission, the International Fight League kicks off their first evening of team competition at Oakland's Oracle Arena on Friday, January 19th. Having extended their stay at Fox Sports Net for several more years, and announced further programming for 2007 with MyNetworkTV, this show will set the pace for the IFL promotion and affirm or deny the team concept.


Coming off one of the most disappointing losses of his career, Jeremy Horn gives it another go as he faces Falaniko Vitale, who upset Horn's last foe, Matt Lindland, at UFC 43, on June 6th, 2003, before losing decisively in a rematch at UFC 45 on November 21st of that same year. Both fighters are highly skilled at submission, but Horn's depth of experience should give him the edge in a war on the ground, which is likely to happen after the two exchange on their feet. Horn's focus and technique will definitely have to be present to avoid getting caught with one of Vitale's powerful punches.

Seattle Tigersharks vs. Southern California Condors

Lightweights: Adam Lynn vs. Shad Lierley

Lierley personifies the inexperience of the Condor team as he makes his pro fighting debut against the tough Next Generation fighter Lynn. Lynn is a solid competitor who has fought many upper level fighters before joining the IFL. When FCF last spoke to him, he was contemplating his next move after a hard loss to the Armory's Rich Crunkilton. Since then, he has gotten back to the win column after defeating Mark Moreno in Extreme Wars 5.

Welterweights: Brad Blackburn vs. Rodrigo Ruas

When we last saw Brad Blackburn, he outlasted the extremely tough Chris Wilson for a unanimous decision victory in last season's IFL Portland. Blackburn is well rounded and has great conditioning, a characteristic that gave him the edge over Wilson. Facing him is the coach Marco Ruas' nephew, Rodrigo, who has also had a truly mixed record in MMA. Ruas is coming off a two and a half year layoff, so ring rust will ultimately be one of the most pressing obstacles he faces.

Middleweights: Bristol Marunde vs. Jeremy Williams

Marunde gave the Portland Wolfpack's Matt Horwich all he could handle in a relentless three round battle. The toughness he showed in that fight impressed many and he will face yet another relentless fighter in Williams. A King of the Cage veteran, Williams has one extremely notable win, beating Yves Edwards by decision at KOTC 7. There is a strong sense that one fighter is going to get caught with a big punch, as both love to stand and bang.

Light Heavyweights: Reese Andy vs. Justin Levens

Andy is coming off a big win over the Pitbull's Jamal Patterson, handing the strong newcomer his first loss in the IFL. Though his performance was less than impressive last season's semi-finals, a focused and aggressive Andy could present his more experienced opponent many problems. Levens, an extremely quick and talented fighter, recently got back into the win column after a tough string of losses on the most public of stages in the UFC. How did he do it? By knocking his last two opponents into another zip code. If Levens brings his A game, it could be a short night for Andy.

Heavyweights: Curtis Crawford vs. Antoine Jaoude

Both fighters are coming off extended vacations from fighting, with Crawford having been absent for nearly five years after a submission loss to the currently dominant IFL heavyweight Ben Rothwell. Jaoude has a far greater wealth of experience in the ring despite his layoff, and will looking to make an example of Crawford.

Northern California Lions vs. San Jose Razorclaws

Lightweights: John Gunderson vs. Josh Odom

The tough veteran Gunderson is on a six fight win streak, including a win over Charles Bennett at Gladiator Challenge. An early candidate for the Portland Wolfpack, his inclusion on the Lions represents some intriguing match-ups for the present and future. Facing him is Odom, who made his debut last September, mangling Rob Di Cenzo's eye on his way to a TKO victory. Though he was impressive in that bout, Gunderson's wealth of experience should lead him to victory in this bout.

Welterweights: Patrick Healy vs. Ray Steinbeiss

Healy has fought a small who's who of current MMA talent on the scene and makes his IFL debut with Ken Shamrock's team tonight. Healy loves to stand and trade, a characteristic that has both helped him and hurt him in his five-year history. Interestingly enough, he helped shepherd Tigershark Brad Blackburn into MMA, knocking him out in the first 39 seconds of the fight. Arizona's Steinbeiss is coming off a tough 2006, where he dropped two losses to Claude Patrick and Nick Diaz respectively. Prior to that, he was undefeated in MMA.

Middleweights: Dan Molina vs. Brian Foster

Gladiator Challenge and KOTC veteran Molina has most of his wins by submission and a big victory over Kengo Ura at Valor Fighting. Fellow King of the Cage vet Brian Foster has fought some of the top names in the business, but has come up short and will look to pull ahead in victories in the IFL.

Light Heavyweights: Vernon White vs. Raphael Davis

This fight was scrapped by the CSAC's Armando Garcia yesterday over the apparent "unfair advantage" in experience White has over Davis. Exactly how they justified Lightweights Adam Lynn and Shad Lierley is puzzling, given that Lynn has 15 pro fights and Lierley is making his debut.

Replacing them are Lightweights Joe Martin, member of the Lion's Den, and Clint Coronel.

Heavyweights: Roy Nelson vs. Vince Lucero

After a two year absence from competition, Nelson picked up where he left off, winning three straight fights in 2006, taking his undefeated record to 6 and 0. Facing him is Rage in the Cage regular Vince Lucero, making his IFL debut after two recent losses to Eric Pele and Ruben Villareal.

  Wednesday - January 17, 2007
Cage Fury Fighting Championship 3 Preview
By Jim Genia

What: Cage Fury Fighting Championship III.
When: January 19th.
Where: Tropicana Casino & Resort, Atlantic City.

Coming off a strong debut year, CFFC returns with their third installment -- dubbed "Battleground" -- and it has all the makings of a barnburner. Featuring top East Coast up-and-comers, the card promises hard-hitting action with the likes of sluggers Anthony D'Angelo and Doug Gordon, as well as some slick submissions from such ground experts as Dante Rivera and Dan Lauzon. Here's a closer look at some of the fighters:

Anthony D'Angelo -- United MMA
A polished striker and competent grappling technician, D'Angelo has come a long way since his debut a few short years ago. Expect him to serve Tamdan McCrory a healthy portion of fist-salad once the ref says, "Go!"

Dante Rivera -- Team Renzo/Almeida
Considered a groundfighter par excellence, Rivera is at the top of the Garden State food chain, and has a tough time finding opponents nowadays. Thankfully, kickboxer Erick Charles has stepped up to the plate. Can Charles buck the trend and resist getting submitted?

Dan Lauzon -- Reality Self-Defense
So young he can't even buy alcohol, but skilled enough to fight in the UFC - that's the best way to describe Dan Lauzon (younger brother of Joe Lauzon), who's coming off a loss to world-class lightweight Spencer Fisher in his first and only venture into the Octagon. But the "Upgrade" has his work cut out for him at CFFC3, as he faces the always tough Deividas Taurosevicius. Look for Lauzon to seek his fortunes on the ground.

Jose Rodriguez -- Rhino Fight Team
Heavy-hands and serious submission skills. Yes, veteran fighter Rodriguez is the total package. Taking on the bigger Brendan Barrett, look for Rodriguez to throw down at the first opportunity.

Nissim Levy -- Team Tiger Schulmann
As one of the hottest prospects coming out of the Tiger Schulmann camp, Levy has a lot riding on his shoulders. But this kid can deliver beatings with the best of them, and with a 2-0 record, hasn't disappointed thus far. Can he keep up his winning ways?

Doug Gordon -- Rio Jiu-Jitsu
Two words: knockout power. Don't blink whenever Gordon steps into the cage, lest you miss another highlight-reel finish.

The fight card as of 1/17:

NABC Welterweight Title
Tamdan McCrory (CNY MMA) vs. Anthony D'Angelo (United MMA)

NABC Middleweight Title
Erick Charles (CNY MMA) vs. Dante Rivera (Team Renzo/Almeida)

NABC Lightweight Title
Deividas Taurosevicius (Panza MMA) vs. Dan Lauzon (Reality Self-Defense)

CFFC Welterweight Title
Carlos Nieves (Team Renzo/Almeida) vs. Mike Varner (Boneyard)
Jose Rodriguez (Rhino Fight Team) vs. Brendan Barrett (Team Ronin)
Alexis Aquino (TNT Fight Team) vs. Nissim Levy (TS-MMA)
Rich Ashkar (freestyle) vs. Doug Gordon (Rio JJ)
Jarrid Palmer (CNY MMA) vs. Lamont Lister (Team Balance)
Jim Sweeney (freestyle) vs. Brian DeMuro (Team Balance)
Ken Owens (TNT Fight Team) vs. Shawn McCann (Team Endgame)
Chino Delapena (Clemente's Vale Tudo) vs. Adam Comfort (Ithaca MMA)

The Northern Touch

Munduruca Ready for Battle at Colosseum 4

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and Winnipeg instructor, Rodrigo Munduruca, will make his return to MMA competition at the upcoming Gladiator Fighting Series "Colosseum 4" event that will take place on January 26th, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The card, which will feature both professional MMA and kickboxing bouts, will take place at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. Munduruca informed FCF that he will be fighting Arthur Cook, one of the cities better known boxers, who is currently ranked as one of the Nation's top ten heavyweight pugilists by the Canadian Boxing Federation. Munduruca is aware of his upcoming opponent's reputation as a striker, and has been working on his stand up game with K-1 kickboxer Guiseppe Denatale.

"Not that I know of," Munduruca tells FCF in response to whether or not Cook is cross-training for the fight. "I have some students that sparred with him and they all say he is a monster boxer. This is MMA though; if I play his game things won't be good for me. This should be a classic match between striker versus grappler, just like the old UFC days. I've been training for 6 weeks now with Giuseppe Denatale here in Winnipeg. He is my coach and he is getting me super ready for anyone. Every time I fight he is the guy that I go train with, he works on my stand up and cardio. After I leave his gym I train with my students and go running too."

Munduruca's connection to the Western Canadian MMA community dates back several years now, as the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor has helped train such notable fighters as Joe Doerksen, Chris Fontaine and Travis Galbraith. Due to running his own school, a fight team, and incurring several injuries, the heavyweight Munduruca has only competed in a handful of MMA fights.

"I have 3 MMA fights, last one was in 2004," Munduruca tells FCF. "I've been competing in grappling and keeping my eyes open for some MMA events, last 2 cards I was schedule to fight but hurt my knee, again! If I'm healthy and can get the training in, I would like to compete more in MMA. I have another fight in Regina in the UMC (Ultimate Martial Arts Championship) on February 17th, after that if I'm not hurt I'm looking to fight more."

As for the jiu-jitsu specialist's call on the fight, Munduruca offered FCF this prediction.

"Impose my game plan and finish him off in the 1st round."

Colosseum 4 will also showcase a few other MMA fights, including the Gladiator's Fighting MMA Middleweight Championship bout between the aforementioned Chris Fontaine and Ohio fighter, Mitch Whitesel. Fontaine, who carries a record of 10-9, will be looking to make it two wins in a row as the Winnipeg fighter defeated Neil Berry by TKO in the first round at Colosseum 3 on September 23rd. Although the veteran's record does not seem very impressive at first glance, upon further inspection one will see that Fontaine has been in the ring with some of North America's more notable middleweights, having lost to Jason Macdonald, David Loiseau, Gideon Ray, and most recently Jason Day. Whitesel, who stopped Adrian Serrano with strikes at the GFS "Festival of Fights" last year on June 3rd, will bring a record of 4-4 to Colosseum 4.

Other MMA action taking place on the card will be welterweight Dominick Blais taking on Kyle Olson and featherweight's Eric Perez fighting Mike Davis.

Upcoming Canadian MMA Schedule
  • King of the Cage Canada / Freedom Fight- January 20th, Baribeau Arena, Gatineau, Quebec
  • National Fighting Challenge 7- January 26th, Squamish Nation's Rec. Centre, North Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Gladiator Fighting Series, Colosseum 4- January 26th, Winnipeg Convention Centre, Winnipeg, Manitoba
  • Maximum Fighting Championship "Gridiron"- February 3rd, Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, Alberta
  • TKO 28 "Inevitable"- February 9th, Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec
  • Extreme Cage Combat 5- March 31, Halifax Forum, Halifax, Nova Scotia

"Farmer" Vs. "The Gladiator" Highlights King of the Cage: Freedom Fight This Saturday
By Peter Parsons

King of the Cage Canada makes their Eastern debut as they team up with Freedom Fight this Saturday, January 20 at the Baribeau Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, for what is being dubbed as King of the Cage: Freedom Fight 2007. Headlining the card will be KOTC Canadian Lightheavyweight Champion Travis "The Gladiator" Galbraith, (10-4) as he defends his title for the first time against two-time Freedom Fight veteran Craig "Farmer" Brown (3-0).

Galbraith is coming off the highest profile fight of his career, a loss at the hands of Kazuhiro Nakamura at Pride's inaugural USA show, The Real Deal. The Gladiator showed true warrior spirit in his back and forth battle with Nakamura, a fight in which he took on just 8 days notice. Despite the short notice, Galbraith turned heads on the international scene with his performance against the Pride veteran.

"I almost had the kneebar," recalls Galbraith, "I gassed in that fight, I think I would do much better with more notice."

The 25-year-old Galbraith is no stranger to top opposition. All of his losses have been against elite fighters such as Jonathan Goulet, Joe Doerksen and most notably, the current UFC World Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre. Galbraith lost by TKO to St. Pierre early in their respective careers at Universal Combat Challenge 11 in October of 2002.

When asked about his opponent Craig Brown, Galbraith replied, "I know he has heavy hands, I just have to beat him to the punch." Galbraith however is known more for his ground game, having won 8 out of his 10 fights by way of submission. Galbraith submitted Ricardeau Francois by guillotine choke to win the then vacant KOTC Canadian Lightheavyweight title at KOTC: "Widowmaker" in his hometown of Edmonton, Alberta, last June.

Galbraith will be facing the hometown fighter Farmer Brown in his first title defense. "I'm expecting to be the bad guy, but it won't faze me," Galbraith continues about the pressure of defending his title in the main event, "If I can handle the bright lights of Pride, this shouldn't be a problem."

Craig "Farmer" Brown comes into the fight with a lot less experience than the champion Galbraith, a role the 30 year old is familiar with. The victory that put "Farmer" Brown on the map was his win at the inaugural Freedom Fight event in July of 2005, a KO over the aforementioned Ricardeau Francois. "I came into that fight 1-0 and Ricardeau had like 13 fights, so it was a pretty big upset."

That upset earned Brown a return to Freedom Fight, where he last fought, scoring a first round TKO victory over Connecticut native John Clarke, at the Apex Championship Fighting: Freedom Fight 2006 event last January. So what has Brown been up to in the last year? "I had my second daughter four months ago and I recently changed gyms and I have been training harder then ever." The former Team Ronin member now hones his skills at FIT MMA, a gym that he helps manage in Ottawa.

Hailing from Kemptville, Ontario, a town just outside of the nation's capital, the self proclaimed "country boy" Brown considers it an honor to once again fight in front of his hometown fans. "It's a positive thing to have a lot of people behind you, it might add a little pressure, but I'm always relaxed." Brown continues, "I'm not one of those super serious guys, I'll sleep in the change room before a fight."

There's a good chance somebody will go to sleep in the cage Saturday night as both Brown and Galbraith have yet to have a fight go the distance in their professional MMA careers.

In feature lightweight action, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt Mark Bocek (2-0) takes on KOTC veteran John Mahlow (7-6). Having studied BJJ for over a decade, the Nova Uniao Black Belt has a long list of accomplishments in the grappling world. Most recently, Bocek won the ADCC North American trials in New Jersey last October.

October of '06 was a busy month for Bocek as he is coming off a first round rear naked choke victory over Kevin Manderson at the Apex Championship Fighting: "A Night of Champions" event. Bocek looks to continue to make his mark in the MMA world with another victory Saturday night.

Bocek's original opponent Matt Fiordirosa had to drop out due to an ankle injury. Never one to back down from tough competition, John Mahlow steps up on three weeks notice to fight Bocek. Mahlow had mixed success in '06 going 3-2, losing his last fight by majority decision to Jani Lax in November at the Ironheart Crown event in Hammond, Indiana.

Mahlow was very impressive to start off '06 with 3 first round submission victories over top Canadian lightweights Kevin Manderson and Tyler Jackson, as well as Pride veteran and Team Miletich fighter Joe Pearson. These three straight victories earned Mahlow a shot at the KOTC World Lightweight title against champion Mac Danzig. Mahlow took the champ the distance losing a unanimous decision. He hopes to get back to his winning ways against the undefeated Mark Bocek.

In a battle of East vs. West, undefeated welterweights, TJ Grant (4-0), from Dartmouth, Nova Scotia takes on Nick Portieous (3-0) fighting out of Vernon, BC. After defeating his first three opponents by arm bar submission, Grant most recently showed that he can also strike when he dropped BTT Canada fighter, Eric Beaulieu with an overhand right, which he followed up with a barrage of strikes to earn the 33 second TKO victory at the Extreme Cage Combat 4 event in Halifax, NS. Grant has had 3 out of his 4 MMA fights in the Halifax based ECC where he made his MMA debut at ECC 1 last April.

This will be Portieous' second appearance in King of the Cage. He is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Jacob MacDonald at KOTC: Widowmaker last June. Portieous began his MMA career with back to back victories in the Ultimate Generation Combat promotion in November of '05 and May of '06. This is a great opportunity for both of these young undefeated prospects to make a name for themselves on national television.

King of the Cage: Freedom Fight 2007 is scheduled to be televised on Canada's leading sports network TSN, within the next month, according to Freedom Fight promoter Pete Rodley.

Full Card:

205 lbs: Travis "The Gladiator" Galbraith vs. Craig "Farmer" Brown

155 lbs: Mark Bocek vs. John Mahlow

170 lbs: TJ Grant vs. Nick Portieous

155 lbs: Barry McDonald vs. Derek Giroux

185 lbs: Markhaile Wedderburn vs. Chester Post

155 lbs: Jean Marc Lalonde vs. Brett Portieous

170 lbs: Stephane Lamarche vs. Garrett Venroy

145 lbs: Nick Denis vs. Chris Myra

250 lbs: Wayne Xilon vs. John Cole

170 lbs: Yan Fortier vs. Allen Harvey

220 lbs: Jason Bissonette vs. Vailancourt

McCullough Vs Cope Clash Headlines WEC This Weekend
By Kelsey Mowatt

The World Extreme Cagefighting organization is set to host its next event this weekend, its first since the announcement came earlier this year that the WEC had been purchased by the seemingly ever expanding UFC. According to all reports thus far regarding the recent purchase, the UFC intends to continue to run the WEC as a separate fighting circuit, and this weekend's action will offer a first glimpse at the organization under new ownership. This Saturday's January 20th card will take place at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada, and business discussion aside, the night's line up should offer some compelling MMA action.

Headlining the night's card is a lightweight championship bout between "Razor" Rob McCullough and Kit Cope for the vacant WEC title. Both Cope and McCullough had resounding successes in their respective professional kickboxing careers and as a result, it's likely that many are expecting this Saturday's fight to be an all out stand up war. McCullough has transitioned quite well into an MMA career thus far, currently holding a record of 13-3. The 29 year old fighter will come into this WEC event riding a 7 fight win streak, a series of victories that includes wins over Olaf Alonso, Ryan Healey, and most recently Harris Sarmiento. At the World Fighting Alliances' "King of the Streets" card on July 7th last summer, McCullough avenged a 2004, split decision loss to Sarmiento at WEC 9, by working his way to a unanimous decision victory in the rematch.

Cope has gone 1-3 to begin his MMA career, and clearly does not have the same amount of experience as his upcoming opponent does in MMA competition. It is interesting to note however that McCullough also struggled somewhat after making the move from professional kickboxing, going 2-2 in his first 4 MMA fights. Cope has not fought in MMA since his loss to Kenny Florian at The Ultimate Fighter 2 Season Finale on November 5th of 2005, when the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt tapped out Cope in the first round with a rear naked choke. If the fight with McCullough does spill to the mat, it will be interesting to see how far along Cope's ground game has come over the last year, and whether or not McCullough has a decided advantage. Chances are though this fight will be decided on its feet.

The other title bout of the night will showcase WEC Featherweight Champion Urijah "California Kid" Faber, looking to defend his title against Miletich fighter Joe Pearson. Faber fought 6 times in 2006, going undefeated, while defeating Cole Escovedo by TKO at WEC 19, on March 17th, to lay claim to the promotion's featherweight title. Faber currently holds a record of 16-1, with his only loss coming to Tyson Griffin, who defeated Faber by TKO in the third round at Gladiator Challenge 42 on September 10th of 2005. The California Kid, who had a storied freestyle wrestling career in college before he began competing in MMA, also holds notable victories over Naoya Uematsu, Enoch Wilson and Charlie Valencia. Widely regarded as one of North America's best 145 pound fighters, Faber also currently holds the King of the Cage and Gladiator Challenge titles in his division.

Pearson has been fighting since 2002, and since that time has amassed a record of 17-7-1. After enduring a 4 fight losing streak that began in late 2005 and ran through until April of last year, the Miletich fighter has been on a tear as of late, winning 7 fights in a row. Most recently, Pearson defeated highly acclaimed Yoshiro Maeda (19-4-1) at PRIDE Bushido 13 on November 11th last fall, choking out the Japanese fighter in the first round. The veteran fighter Pearson also holds wins over Tommy Lee and Jay Estrada, and has also competed against the likes of Miguel Torres and Hatsu Hioki. Pearson represents one of the more experienced and well rounded fighters that Faber will have faced, and could very likely be one of his toughest tests to date. If Faber gets by Pearson and goes on in 2007 to have continued success, it will be interesting to see whether or not the California Kid has any impact on the UFC introducing its own 145 pound division.

The event's under card also features some notable names and match-ups, one of which features John "The Natural" Alessio (17-10) taking on his welterweight opponent Brian Gassaway (23-15-1). After looking impressive in his decision loss to undefeated star Diego Sanchez at UFC 60 on May 27th last spring, Alessio has struggled in his last two fights. At WEC 23 on August 17th, The Natural narrowly got by tough Russian fighter Alex Serdyukov with a third round near naked choke, and dropped a unanimous decision loss to Thiago Alves at UFN 7 on October 10th. Gassaway also has a loss to Sanchez on his resume, as the veteran was stopped by the Team Jackson fighter with strikes in the second round at UFC 54 on August 20th, 2005, and has since lost 2 of his last 4 fights.

In what could turn out to be the sleeper hit of the evening, Carlos Condit (18-4) will meet up with Kyle Jensen (29-9-1) in another welterweight fight. Condit's introduction to many MMA fans came in January and April of last year, when, the relatively unheard of fighter at the time, defeated UFC veterans Renato Verissmo and Frank Trigg at Rumble on the Rock 8 and 9 respectively. Since losing to Jake Shields in the ROTC Welterweight Tourney finals by unanimous decision and Pat Healey by submission at Extreme Wars 3 last June, Condit has won 3 fights in a row competing for Pancrase.

Although Jensen does not have a "big-name" victory on his resume like Condit, the veteran fighter has been in the ring with such notable fighters like Jason Black, Jonathan Goulet, and Josh Neer. Jensen has won 4 fights in a row, and most recently, the fighter recorded a rear naked choke submission win over Joe Winterfeldt, at the Dakota Fighting Championships 7 on October 7th.

In other action scheduled for this Saturday's WEC, middleweight fighter Brendan Seguin (12-10-1) will take on Fernando Gonzalez (10-3), the undefeated Logan Clark (8-0) will fight Blas Avena (1-0) in another 185 pound match-up, lightweights Olaf Alonso (5-6) and Alex Karalexis (3-2) will do battle, and bantamweight fighter Mike French (7-7) is scheduled to fight Antonio Banuelos (12-3).

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In our latest broadcast,
we talk with IFL Commissioner Kurt Otto and Din Thomas.

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  Tuesday - January 16, 2007
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IFL Press Release:

Weekly Programs to Air on FSN & MyNetworkTV This Season

New York & Los Angeles, January 16, 2007 - FSN and MyNetworkTV have reached a strategic, three-tier television and new media programming alliance with the International Fight League (IFL). The joint announcement was made today by FSN President Bob Thompson, Twentieth Television President Bob Cook, and IFL CEO Gareb Shamus.

International Fight League, Inc. (IFLI:OTCBB), co-founded by Shamus and Kurt Otto, is the world's first team-based professional Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) league. The IFL launches its first full 11-date season this Friday, Jan. 19, 2007 in Oakland, Calif. The IFL operates as a single entity with 12 teams, 10 of which are based in the United States (New York, Seattle, Chicago, Los Angeles, Tucson, Portland, San Jose, Reno, Orange County and the Quad Cities), along with teams in Tokyo and Toronto.

Under terms of the alliance, FSN has multi-year rights to televise 22 one-hour late night event programs, produced by the IFL, beginning in the second quarter of 2007. FSN also has the right to produce related ancillary programming, pay-per-view events and video-on-demand product.

The agreement also calls for FSN and the IFL to establish a joint venture to manage, maximize and distribute IFL-related digital media rights including online/Internet, broadband video and mobile, with the potential to leverage Fox's powerful digital assets including Myspace, IGN, Fox Mobile Entertainment's new global distribution partnerships and other potential third party digital platforms.

"Mixed martial arts, which has evolved tremendously in recent years, is one of the fastest growing sports in the world," said FSN's Thompson. "In addition to FSN committing a regular weekly window to the IFL to help establish the league, News Corp's broad array of digital platforms positions us perfectly to unlock and maximize the tremendous value of the league's new media potential."

In addition to FSN's weekly program and the digital media joint venture, MyNetworkTV is planning to broadcast 22 two-hour IFL-produced programs to begin in mid-2007. The IFL produced programs for MyNetworkTV will be an exciting combination of event action, highlights, features, vignettes and the league's latest news.

"We are thrilled to be working with the IFL and we look forward to developing action-filled programming based on their events for our viewers," said Cook. "The dynamic nature of IFL's teamwork and competition also provides a colorful backdrop to go beyond the athletes' lives outside of the ring."

"This is a historic day for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, and we want to thank everyone at FOX for seeing this great opportunity and making it a reality," said Shamus, IFL co-founder and CEO. "This partnership will give MMA in general and the IFL in particular a chance to showcase the personalities, training regimen and great skill and discipline that these athletes and their coaches have to a much wider audience both in the United States and eventually around the world."

The IFL was assisted in the negotiation of the partnership by the William Morris Agency.

Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 competes in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, Aug. 2 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, Sept. 15. Each of the nine regular season IFL events consists of four teams – each with an athlete in five weight classes competing. The team that wins the best three of five match setup wins, similar to collegiate and high school wrestling meets. The coach of each team is a world-renown MMA champion, who has assembled his team (the athletes all train as a team together) in a specific city and training center.

The IFL also differs from other MMA organizations in that the bouts are held in an oversized five-rope boxing ring with three, four-minute rounds, each designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience. The IFL has also exceeded the state regulations for safety in the ring, by outlawing elbow strikes to the head. The rules also prohibit head butting, hair pulling, elbows to the head or face, and strikes to the spine, kidney, throat or back of the head. Fighters are not allowed to use abusive language in the fighting area or any form of unsportsmanlike conduct that causes injury to an opponent.

All events will be subject to the rules and approval of the state athletic commissions in each state in which the event will be held. The scoring system is similar to professional boxing as well. However, in the event of a draw, a fourth round takes place to decide a winner.

MMA Gamers Get Ready, Video Game Giant THQ Announces Partnership with UFC
FCF Staff

The Ultimate Fighting Championship's website is reporting that entertainment software company THQ Inc., has reached a deal with the UFC to produce video games for the MMA promotion through the year 2011. According to the statement, the games will include many of the past and current fighters that have competed in the UFC, and will of course include the organization's trademark Octagon. The announcement further states that THQ has secured the rights to produce games for all video game consoles in addition to PCs.

Regardless if you are a "gamer" or not, the announcement from the UFC and THQ could represent another significant revenue stream for the MMA promotion. When one considers that video games now are a multi-billion dollar industry, and that the UFC is currently riding an extremely high popularity wave, the revenue generated from the upcoming games could be enormous.

Prior to the recent boom that has hit the sport over the last two years, there have been a few MMA video games released, including the UFC's "Tap Out" series and one self-titled offering from PRIDE.

No dates were given in the statement as to when the first UFC game by THQ is to be released.

  Monday - January 15, 2007
Rizzo to Battle Eilers at March 9th "Art of War"
FCF Staff

Pedro "The Rock" Rizzo will take on Justin Eilers in the main event of the International Fighters Association's premiere event, which will take place on March 9th. The card, which is the combined efforts of the IFA and the SUN Production Group, will take place in Dallas, Texas, at the American Airlines Center. SUN, is a professional sports and entertainment management company, and through its association with the IFA, the new MMA promotion hopes to hold ten Art of War events in 2007.

Justin Eilers - Photo by Joel GoldPedro Rizzo - Photo by Tom DeFazio

For the veteran Rizzo (14-7), the upcoming fight against Eilers (15-5-1) will serve as an opportunity to right the Brazilian striker's career, as The Rock has lost his last two fights, being stopped with strikes by both Sergei Kharitonov and Roman Zentsov at PRIDE Critical Countdown and PRIDE 31 "Unbreakable" respectively. Eilers, on the other hand, has been on a tear since his knockout loss to Brandon Vera at UFC 57 on February 4th last year, and has won six fights in a row, a streak that includes victories over Sherman Pendergarst, Jimmy Ambriz and Josh Diekman.

The Art of War website also has several other fights listed for the March 9th card, some of which include; Carlo Prater taking on Dennis Levensky, Alex Andrade fighting Klas Akesson, Kenneth Rosfort against Buddy Clinton, and Eric Schambari meeting up with Christian Smith.

IFL Announces Lawler, Pamplona "Superfight" for February 23rd Card
FCF Staff

The International Fight League has announced that Miletich middleweight fighter Robbie "Ruthless" Lawler will fight Eduardo Pamplona at the organization's upcoming February 23rd card to be held in Atlanta, Georgia. Lawler, who has a record of 12-4, will be hoping to build upon his recent performance at PRIDE 32 on October 21st, in Las Vegas, Nevada, when he quickly knocked out Joey Villasenor with a highlight reel flying knee at 22 seconds of the first round. Since his back to back UFC losses in 2004, where Lawler lost to Nick Diaz and Evan Tanner at UFC 47 and UFC 50 respectively, the 24 year old fighter has gone 4-1 in the last two years, with his only loss coming to Jason "Mayhem" Miller, via a third round side-choke at Icon Sport 47 on September 2nd last fall.

Pamplona will bring a record of 5-1 to the upcoming fight with Lawler, and has not lost a fight since his MMA debut in 2002, where the Brazilian fighter lost by unanimous decision to Sanae Kikuta at Pancrase: Spirit 8. Most recently, Pamplona defeated veteran fighter Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons by unanimous decision at Showfight 5 on November 9th, 2006.

The February 23rd event's IFL team match-ups include the Toronto Dragons taking on the Portland Wolfpack, and the Chicago Red Bears versus the New York Pitbulls. The Red Bears will be making their IFL debut that night, a team that is mostly comprised of Russian fighters who will be coached by Igor Zinoviev.

The IFL is scheduled to hold 11 events in 2007, with the league's semifinals to take place on August 2nd in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and the championship finals slated for September 15th at the Forum, in Los Angeles, California.

Here is the complete line up for the upcoming February 23rd event in Atlanta, which will take place at The Arena at Gwinnett Center.

Dragons (Toronto) vs. Wolfpack (Portland)

155 lb: Wagnney Fabiano (4-1) vs. Ryan Schultz (North Platte, Neb.) (14-9-1)
170 lb: Claude Patrick (6-1) vs. Chris Wilson (11-3)
185 lb: Brent Beauparlant (4-3) vs. Matt Horwich (17-8-1)
205 lb: Wojtek Kaszowski (0-4) vs. Aaron Stark (3-3)
265 lb: Rafael Feijao (2-0) vs. Devin Cole (6-4)

Red Bears (Chicago) vs. Pitbulls (New York)

155 lb: Gocha Markoziya (1-1) vs. Erik Owings (2-1)
170 lb: Mark Miller (5-1) vs. Delson Heleno (7-2)
185 lb: Andrei Semenov (25-8-2) vs. Fabio Leopoldo (3-1)
205 lb: Alexander Zubachev (0-0) vs. Jamal Patterson (2-1)
265 lb: Dmitry Zabolotny (0-1) vs. Bryan Vetell (1-1)

185: Robbie Lawler (12-4) vs. Eduardo Pamplona (5-1)

  Friday - January 12, 2007
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What's on your mind?

FCF Survey

Give Us Your Thoughts...

FCF would like to hear who you think should be picked as fighter of the year for 2006 and why. We'd also like to know what you think the fight of the year was. The results of the survey and some of the commentary we receive may appear in the upcoming issue of FCF.

Click here to take the survey

Kickstart My Heart:
Overachiever Dan Henderson to Fight Wanderlei Silva for Title as Pride Moves Forward in the States
By Steven Marrocco

Only in Hollywood. Motley Crue's Tommy Lee marked the second stunt casting in Pride's pre fight presser, stepping behind the mic to announce the main event and proclaim his love for Pride. Strangely, Mike Tyson was nowhere to be found.

Announced formally was Pride 33, "The Second Coming" at the Thomas and Mack Center on February 24th, as Pride attempts to build its audience and establish roots in the US. Welterweight Champion Dan Henderson, looking to settle a score and add some silver to his mantle, will challenge Wanderlei Silva for the Middleweight title.

When probed for the reasoning behind Henderson getting the shot as opposed to another Middleweight, placing him in the position of defending two belts, Executive VP Jerry Millen had two words.

"Why not?" he said breezily.

Pride FC Press Conference (Jan 11, 2007): DSE CEO Nobuhiku Sakikibara - Photo by Steven Marrocco
CEO Nobuhiku Sakikibara also officially announced Pride's schedule for the year, with three more events to come to the U.S. (at unspecified locations) after Pride 33.

As to be expected, Wanderlei was extremely confident in another victory. With Silva the poster child for soccer kicks and stomps that are the signature of the promotion, the question was posed how the NSAC's rules would affect his game plan. "It's going to take me a little more time to knock him out, but I'm going to knock him out," he said through his translator, Jorge Olivera. "I will destroy him."

Sensing heat, Millen playfully goaded Henderson by asking him what he thought of that.

"He's a funny guy," Henderson shot back to the laughs of the audience. Wanderlei was not smiling.

"This is something I've been wanting for a couple years now," Henderson continued. "I think it would look nicer at my house anyway."

If he manages to win both belts, Henderson said wryly, "I'll be busy this year."

"I fought in the United States eight years ago," Silva concluded. "I've had forty fights in my career, but this is going to be one of the best for my career."

Only in Hollywood.

  Thursday - January 11, 2007
The Northern Touch

Apex "Caged Inferno" Postponed

This weekend's Apex event that was scheduled to take place in Gatineau, Quebec, on January 13th has been postponed, the promotion announced earlier this week. In a press release that stated "circumstances that are beyond our control" as the reason for the postponement, Apex also informed fans that full refunds will be available for tickets at the original site of purchase. The announcement did not go into any details as to what the "circumstances" might be as to why the show has been delayed, citing "potential legal implications" as the reason for the non-disclosure.

The card's main event had been set to feature an Apex Canadian Middleweight Championship bout between Fritz Paul (8-3) and Sean "Pimp Daddy" Pierson (4-3). The Shah Franco fighter was returning to MMA action for the first time since 2003 to take on Paul for the title, who recently defeated Nabil Khatib at Apex's "Night of Champions" on October 14th. Khatib, whose record stands at 5-1, was also scheduled to fight at "Caged Inferno"; Edmonton's Daryl Bonar (3-1) was his upcoming opponent for the organization's number one middleweight contender position.

The press release from Apex also stated that an announcement about the re-scheduled date for the card would be released in the near future.

Valimaki to Meet Kilkenny At MFC "Gridiron"

FCF was informed by Maximum Fighting Championship promoter Mark Pavelich this week, that one of the promotion's biggest stars, Victor "The Matrix" Valimaki, will take on up and comer Lethbridge fighter Jared Kilkenny at the MFC's upcoming February 3rd event. Valimaki will be returning to action for the first time since his recent UFC debut, where the Edmonton fighter lost by split decision to David Heath at Ultimate Fight Night 8 on December 13th. The MFC's Lightheavyweight Champion will bring a record of 8-3 when he meets Kilkenny, who is dropping down to 205 pounds for the fight. The 6'5" tall Canadian Martial Arts Centre fighter had previously competed at heavyweight, and has caused a bit of a stir in Western Canada, going 5-1 to begin his professional MMA career. Valimaki, who has fought Vernon White, the aforementioned Heath, and Kilkenny's teammate Jason Day in his last 3 fights, will continue to face top quality opposition.

"No more babysitting," says MFC Promoter and Valimaki's manager Mark Pavelich in regards to his fighter taking on yet another talented fighter. "You know I could have called up some guy with a losing record to fight Victor, but after his last fight in the UFC I decided he's made it to the UFC and he's going to continue fighting guys of that caliber, whether it's there or in the MFC. We're done baby sitting."

For Valimaki, not only will Kilkenny be his first title defense since defeating Day for the LHW belt at MFC 10 on September 8th, but the fight could determine if and when the Edmonton fighter competes in the UFC again.

"He could probably not fight and get back into the UFC," Pavelich tells FCF in regards to Valimaki's return to the MMA titan. "But he's fighting full time now and he needs to stay busy, Kilkenny's a dangerous fight for him, but if Victor wins there's a possibility he might be back in the UFC for April."

Another fight that is scheduled for February 3rd that will likely garner considerable attention in Alberta's Capital City, is Professional Edmonton Eskimo football player Mike Maurer (1-0-1) taking on LHW Roger Hollet (3-0). Maurer is allowed to pursue his MMA career during the Canadian Football League's off season, and his previous fights have captured a lot of attention from the country's mainstream media. Hollet, who hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been touted by some as one of that Province's best up and coming fighters and will likely be Maurer's toughest test to date.

"Same thing that goes for Victor, goes for Mike," Pavelich tells FCF. "No more babysitting for him either, I decided that I would put together fights that were best for the fans, Mike's first fight against Darran Apels was almost comical, do I and the fans want to watch him fight Hollet? You bet."

Some other notable match ups slated for "Gridiron" include the MMA debut of Maurer's Edmonton Eskimo teammate Adam Braidwood against Ryan Jimmo, Jason Day (11-6) will be taking on TKO veteran Yan Pellerin (8-9), and Ryan McGillivray (2-0) meets Aaron Gallant (1-0) in a welterweight match up.

Macdonald Teams Up With Team Jackson

Jason "The Athlete" Macdonald will be training with the famous Team Jackson in New Mexico to help prepare the fighter for his upcoming UFC 68 fight with former UFC Middleweight Champion Rich Franklin on March 3rd. Pavelich, who is also Macdonald's manager and one of his trainers, informed FCF that "The Athlete" will spend over 2 weeks with Greg Jackson's team during this training camp. Team Jackson has quickly come to be noted as one of North America's most talented fight teams with a roster that includes, Diego Sanchez, Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine and Nathan Marquardt.

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From the event's promoter:
Brawl at the Mall 5
At the Auburn Supermall - February 10, 2007
Inside the Vision Quest Sport and Fitness Center
Brawl at the Mall 5 poster

Featuring the Lightweight Grand Prix Final!

Super fight Champion Caros "The Professional" Fodor, Taurean "The Raven" Washington, and many more!

Tickets available at:
  • AMC 425-822-9656
  • Vision Quest 253-333-7771

From the event's promoter:
IFL logo

Two Original IFL Franchises, Two New Squads To Compete At Reliant Arena; Superfight between World Champion Carlos Newton and Olympic Silver Medalist Matt Lindland

NEW YORK and HOUSTON, January 11, 2006- The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the worlds first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today announced the 11-bout card at Reliant Arena in Houston, set for Friday, February 2, beginning at 7:30 p.m. The event will feature two flagship IFL franchises in the Los Angeles-based Anacondas, coached by world MMA champion Bas Rutten, taking on the Silverbacks, led by fellow world champion Pat Miletich. The second team matchup will feature the Tokyo-based Sabres, led by Antonio Inoki, taking on the Tucson-based Scorpions, led by World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc. and MMA world champion Don Frye.

In addition to the compelling team matchups, fans will get to see a special Superfight between MMA world champion Carlos The Ronin Newton and MMA world champion and Olympic wrestling silver medalist Matt Lindland. The Houston card is the first IFL event in the Southwest and is part of the full 11-event IFL 2007 schedule, the most comprehensive advance schedule in the history of fight sports.

Below are the matchups for the Houston event. Bout order is to be determined by coaches choice, selected prior to the weigh-in on February 1.

Sabres vs. Scorpions (IFL, Overall)
155 lb.: Savant Young (Pasadena, Calif.) (0-0 IFL, 5-4 overall) vs. Ed West (Tucson, Ariz.) (0-1, 8-2)
170 lb.: Antonio McKee (Lakewood, Calif.) (0-0, 17-3-2) vs. Gabe Rivas (Tucson, Ariz.) (0-0, 12-9-1)
185 lb.: Kazuhiro Hamanaka (Tokyo) (0-1, 4-3-1) vs. Shane Johnson (Tucson, Ariz.) (1-0, 8-4)
205 lb.: Vladimir Matyushenko (Los Angeles) (0-0, 15-3) vs. Dwayne Compton (Tucson, Ariz.) (0-0, 2-0)
265 lb.: John Marsh (Hawthorne, Calif.) (0-0, 7-5) vs. Chad Griggs (Tucson, Ariz.) (0-0,. 4-0)

Anacondas vs. Silverbacks
155 lb.: Chris Horodecki (London, Ontario) (3-0, 7-0) vs. Bart Palaszewski (Wonderlake, Ill.) (5-0, 25-7)
170 lb.: Jay Hieron (Las Vegas) (2-1, 10-3) vs. Rory Markham (Chicago) (4-1, 10-2)
185 lb.: Benji Radach (Castlerock, Wash.) (0-0, 12-3) vs. Ryan McGivern (Bettendorf, Iowa) (3-2, 9-3)
205 lb.: Alex Schoenauer (Las Vegas) (2-2, 10-6) vs. Mike Ciesnolevicz (Williamstown, Pa.) (2-2, 10-2)
265 lb.: Krzysztof Soszynski (Winnipeg, Man.) (2-1, 11-5-1) vs. Ben Rothwell (Kenosha, Wis.) (4-0, 19-5)

Carlos Newton (Newmarket, Ont.) (0-1, 13-11) vs. Matt Lindland (Eagle Creek, Ore.) (1-0, 11-6-1)

Tickets are available through www.ifl.tv or via Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com, by telephone or at Ticketmaster outlets.

Each of the nine regular season IFL events will consist of four teams each with an athlete in all five weight classes competing along with a special Superfight, for a minimum of 11 bouts per card. The team that wins the best three of five match setup will be declared the team winner for the match, similar to collegiate and high school wrestling meets. The IFL also differs from other MMA organizations in that the bouts are held in an oversized five-rope boxing ring with three, four-minute rounds, each designed to create the most compelling in-arena experience for local fans.

Each of the 12 IFL teams for 2007 will compete in three regular season events; the teams with the top four overall win-loss team records will advance to the semi-finals, which will be held on Thursday, August 2, 2007 at Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, N.J. The 2007 IFL Finals will then be held at The Forum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 15, 2007.

The 10 venues for the 2007 season (The Forum in Los Angeles will host two events) will scale to between 7,000 and 13,000 seats, which has been consistent with the IFLs plan of managed growth.

  Wednesday - January 10, 2007
Capital City Capitalizes on MMA:
DC Legalizes the Sport

By Jim Genia

(January 10th, 2007) Slowly but surely, the sport is taken over the country. By a unanimous vote, the DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission last night legalized professional mixed martial arts in the Nation's capital -- making Washington, DC the latest addition to the growing list of MMA-friendly locales.

"I think that there's a huge wave on the horizon and DC has got to get near the crest of the wave and ride it on in," said Commission Chairman Dr. Arnold McKnight. "Our citizenry is crying for the intensity that mixed martial arts brings."

In adopting the Unified Rules of MMA (the same rules used by such states as New Jersey and Nevada), the DC Boxing & Wrestling Commission has opened the door for such big promotions as the UFC and IFL, as well as a plethora of smaller events, to come calling -- and with a high-capacity venue like the MCI Center in the downtown area, this dense population hub is certainly a prime place for a visit.

Said McKnight: "I'm overwhelmed how [pro] wrestling can sell out at the MCI Center, or at least give us twelve- to seventeen-thousand [in attendance], then at a recent boxing show here in the District we got as few as a thousand people. And yet wrestling can sell out a venue! As you well know, wrestling is scripted. Mixed martial arts is not scripted, and I am sure it's going to bring a fan base as large as wrestling."

Just how soon can fans expect an event in Washington, DC? "We will have everything in place in six weeks," said McKnight, who mentioned fledgling MMA promoter Omar Olumee as someone already planning to promote a show. What if someone wanted to put on a show sooner than that? "If a promoter said they wanted to put on a show two weeks or three weeks from now, we'd utilize the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board's referees and judges to make sure the event was carried on in a professional way."

As for the sport's burgeoning amateur scene, the District of Columbia will follow the Garden State's lead. "We're going to meet with the head of the recreation department here in the Nation's capital," said McKnight. "We want to start staging events here on an amateur level. I talked with [New Jersey Commissioner] Larry Hazzard about that and he thought it was a great idea."

Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Miami, Los Angeles, and now Washington, DC -- from the looks of it, mixed martial arts will definitely be coming to a city near you.

For more on the legalization of MMA in Washington, DC,
check out the upcoming issue of Full Contact Fighter

  Monday - January 8, 2007
Signs of the Times:
MMA Graces the Pages of The New York Times

By Gaby Genia

In yet another demonstration of mainstream media's growing affinity for the once maligned sport, The New York Times has run back-to-back articles on the increasingly popular pugilistic pursuit.

While Sunday's sport section featured an article about a young female fan and her love of MMA, today's topic was the enigmatic New York City underground show. This isn't the first time the underground show has gotten mainstream press in its hometown: in May, FCF's own Jim Genia had an article on the event published in the alternative weekly the NY Press.

The New York Times is just one of a growing number of well-respected media outlets to cover MMA in recent months. 60 Minutes, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times - all have turned a curious eye towards the sport. MMA is making its mark in the media, and gaining new fans along the way.

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In our latest broadcast,
we talk with Sam Stout and Sean Pierson.

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  Friday - January 5, 2007
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Minotauro Talks About His Win Over Barnett
By Marcelo Alonso

Antonio Rodrigo 'Minotauro' Nogueira - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Right after his revenge win against Josh Barnett, Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira spoke with Full Contact Fighter about the fight. Asked if his violent strategy had something to do with Barnett's statement at a press conference before the fight (Barnett promised the break his leg this time), the Brazilian Top Team fighter said no: "Josh always tries to take away his opponents' concentration. In the first time he got it, but now I did exactly what I planned to do. Unfortunately I was not in my best condition, I caught [the flu] five days before the fight, but even in this shape, I felt I got very close to knocking him out twice." When asked about why he didn't try to pass the guard and get mount as he typically does, Minotauro explained: "Fifteen days before the fight, I got two broken toes [when escaping from a footlock]. After that, I was in serious pain whenever I took mount, so I was avoiding that. Also, this time I wanted to keep his back on the ground. Josh is strong from the top, but weak when his back is on the ground, so that was part of my strategy too."

Minotauro also commented on Barnett's guillotine in the last round: "I don't remember the last time I tapped out in a guillotine during training, but I remember escaping at least 15 attempts just in the week before the fight, and all of those were much tighter than Josh's choke," assured the Brazilian, saying that he has no reason to celebrate the second place in the Pride ranking (since Mirko went to the UFC). "I am not worried about the Pride ranking, I just wanted to defeat him. Josh is such a strong fighter, but I knew I could beat him." After spending 48 hours trying to recover from his illness in the Hotel in Tokyo, Rodrigo went to visit his mother in Miami, where he will stay until January.

  Wednesday - January 3, 2007
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New Jersey State Athletic Control Board Press Release:

Date: January 3, 2007

Subject: Use of Instant Replay for Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts, and Kickboxing Matches

      As some of you already know, New Jersey allows a combative sports contestant to appeal a decision made by the referee during the course of a bout. This appeals process, which is free, consists of a Commissioner's review and if requested, a full Board Members hearing. Obviously, this process does not start until the bout has concluded and the outcome (i.e. decision) of the bout has been rendered and announced.

      The use of instant replay would allow the Commissioner's review to commence in a more timely fashion, namely, on the night of the bout itself.

      The use of instant replay would allow the Commissioner to review a controversial decision or a missed call and apply the proper and just ruling for the benefit of the contestants, fans, promoter and all involved or interested parties.

      It seems very logical to embrace this technology given the amount of money and prestige that is at stake during contests. Furthermore, available technology should be utilized if it helps to render a more fair and equitable outcome.

      In fact, instant replay is often already provided to the spectators when replays are shown in between rounds on screens at the arena and also during the television or web broadcast. Instant replay is already in place for several other types of professional sports.

      We are very proud of the outstanding referees that we utilize in our State, however, no referee can be expected to always make the right call with absolute accuracy. A simple mistake or oversight that can be corrected, should be corrected.

      We will be notifying all promoters, by copy of this release, that instant replay can be utilized during combative sporting contests to review a referee's call or lack of a call. To be clear, instant replay will be utilized at the discretion of the lead promoter. This agency will not force a promoter to utilize instant replay, but we will not deny the promoter the opportunity to do so. This agency does not have the technology readily available, so it will be up to the promoter to provide the necessary equipment.

      The use of such technology would allow the Commissioner to review issues such as :

knockdowns versus slips,
accidental versus intentional fouls,
if a cut was the result of legal strike,
if a fighter beat the count,
low blows, and
whether or not a strike landed before the bell rang.

      The Commissioner, if approached during a round by the contestant's chief second, would review the issue at the end of the round. The bout would be temporarily stopped during the rest period and the Commissioner would have a maximum of three minutes to render a decision or choose to reserve his judgment because further review is needed. Upon the Commissioner's ruling, the bout would then be restarted and would continue.

      This policy will immediately go into effect for all regulated professional boxing, mixed martial arts and kick boxing contests held here.

  Tuesday - January 2, 2007
The Northern Touch

UFC Reports GSP Injured, Will Not Fight Serra at UFC 67

Georges St-Pierre  - Photo by Joel Gold
The Ultimate Fighting Championship announced this week, via their website, that Georges St-Pierre will be unable to compete at the upcoming February 3rd, UFC 67 event due to injury. The UFC reports that St-Pierre has incurred a knee injury during his training that will postpone his scheduled title defense against Matt Serra.

"He hurt his knee first, training in New Mexico with Keith Jardine, Rashad Evans and Nate Marquardt," St-Pierre's manager Stephane Patry tells FCF. "He went to see the doctor and he told him to take a week off, when Georges came back it still was hurting him so we sent him to a specialist. They informed him that he has a sprained MCL and PCL, and wouldn't be able to train for 4 weeks. If he doesn't rest it, he's risking a very serious injury, so with not being able to train for a month there is no way he'll be ready by the third."

Serra was to be St-Pierre's first opponent since taking the UFC Welterweight Championship away from Matt Hughes at UFC 68 on November 18th. Serra, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor under Renzo Gracie, had earned his shot at the title by defeating Chris Lytle at "The Ultimate Fighter" finale on November 11th.

Stout to Defend Title Against Holanda at TKO 28

TKO's Lightweight Champion Sam Stout will defend his belt versus Fabio Holanda at the upcoming TKO 28 card, to be held on February 9th, at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec. Stout recently defended his title at TKO 27 on September 29th, by submitting Jay Estrada with an armbar at 1:21 of the second round. The win for Stout avenged a 2003 loss to the American lightweight, when Estrada submitted Stout in his MMA debut at the Total Martial Arts Challenge on June 7th of that year. The Team Thompkins' fighter is looking to work his way back into the UFC after going one and one fighting for the promotion. Stout defeated Spencer Fisher at UFC 58 on March 4th, only to be defeated by Kenny Florian later last year, at the TUF 3 Finale on June 24th.

"This is a very popular fight here," says TKO promoter Patry. "It features our lightweight division's best striker in Stout, against the division's best grappler in Holanda. People might forget that Holanda is 3-1 fighting at lightweight."

Holanda is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Murilo Bustamante, and is one of the head trainers for Brazilian Top Team Canada, which trains out of Quebec. Holanda's record is somewhat deceiving at 4-4, as the talented grappler losses have come against Thiago Alves, Jay Hieron, Drew Fickett and Rich Clementi. Holanda did in fact compete at welterweight earlier in his career and most recently, has won his last two fights, including wins over up and comer Alvin Robinson and Mike Bell.

The announcement by TKO means that 3 of the organization's titles will be on the line at TKO 28, as Jonathan Goulet and Steven Vigneault are scheduled to compete for the organization's welterweight title, and Mark "The Machine" Hominick is hoping to win back the featherweight belt from Japanese fighter Hatsu Hioki.

Antonio Carvalho Heads To Japan

One of Canada's better fighters at 145 pounds, Antonio Carvalho, has decided to relocate to Tokyo, Japan. The Shah Franco fighter, who holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Professor Shah Franco and Professor Sylvio Behring, will be making the move early this month.

"I will be living in Tokyo and training at the AACC team (Abe Ani Combat Club)," Carvalho tells FCF. "The head instructor is Hiroyuki Abe. He once knocked out "Pequeno" (Nogueira). They also have the top female fighter Megumi Fuji and the 123lbs Shooto champ "BJ" Kojima. Josh Barnett is known to train there while in Japan as well."

Carvalho, who holds a record of 9-2, holds notable victories over Tommy Lee, Japanese legend Rumina Sato, and Takeshi "Lion" Inoue. In a rematch with "Lion" on May 12th last year, Carvalho failed to win the Shooto Championship at 143 pounds, losing by TKO to the Inoue at 3:06 of round 1. Carvalho also injured his knee in the fight and has been "on the shelf" ever since.

"As far as competing goes, I will not be ready for another 3 months at least," says Carvalho. "I need time to establish in Japan and get comfortable training with a new team However; I am still a part of Franco, Behring Team in Canada and will carry both names AACC, Franco, and Behring. Plus, my injury is still not fully healed after the surgery. Sometimes I have good days, than I have some bad days. My main goal is to fight in Shooto for sure. Whether I ever get a chance to fight Lion for the world title I don't know."

By Karan Masching

Lethbridge, Alberta - Rumble in the Cage 21 "Seasons Beatings", held on the eve of the new year at the Enmax Centre, once again showcased the immense talent the fighters of the Canadian Martial Arts Centre (CMC) have to offer, in an extravaganza of fights exiled to round one doom. All but two of the team's eight man strong strike force walked away victorious, and the CMC's Jason Day reinforced his standing as one of Canada's top 205 pounder's in the night's main event, by securing an unconventional arm-bar submission that prompted Ontario's Scott Arnold to beg for mercy after just 1:44 of punishment.

In an evening of furiously paced pro and amateur MMA adventure, that left Hardcore Championship Fighting CEO Keith Crawford pondering how he was going to provide at least an hour's worth of action for the upcoming television broadcast, the CMC's Jason "Dooms" Day concluded the event with a stunning display of world class ground game ability, a performance that should quash any reservations that the soft spoken gladiator may just be Canada's next contribution to UFC. Although the matchmaking was solid, and Ultimate Generation Combat's Scott Arnold (4-1) certainly deserved his shot at Day (9-3), it was Day who controlled the action from the onset of the contest.

Day didn't appear to allow the deafening explosion of support from his hometown fans to sway his calm and focused march to the cage, and although his opponent seemed much more confident, Arnold learned very quickly that Day's cool exterior did not match his molten hot game. Given their go-ahead from the ref, the fighter's sized each other up for several seconds before Day launched his fists and feet. Arnold capitalized briefly by throwing Day slightly off balance when he caught Day's leg, but Day quickly recovered his equilibrium and the pair clinched against the fence. Subsequent to a high knee that connected with Arnold's jaw, Day directed the battle south, obtained side control, and secured an unconventional arm-bar submission that Arnold wisely decided to ask to be excused from.

"He is a pretty tough kid," Day commented after his win. "The word out East was that he is a good brawler and Muay Thai fighter, so I wanted to avoid being kicked by him; I threw the first kick, which he caught, and that initiated the clinch. I wanted to take him down to the ground, I live and breathe on the ground, and once we hit the ground, I had no worries. I have been working that straight armbar; it was a slick transition that worked out." (Day secured the armbar from side control mount on the opposite side of Arnold's body).

Day, who lost out in his bid for the Maximum Fighting Championship's Light-Heavyweight title against Victor "The Matrix" Valimaki in September 2006, has been on a five-fight winning streak since the defeat, and upon reflection, Day humbly explained that the loss to Valimaki helped him to refocus and helped bring him back down to earth from his previous winning spree. Day will next be fighting Martin Desilets at the February 3rd MFC in Edmonton, and he feels this will be one of his most challenging match-ups to date.

"He is a tough guy, and has gone against some of the best fighters in the country," Day tells FCF. "I feel it will be one of the toughest fights of my career, and whoever wins that fight will have a big huge step towards the UFC."

The CMC, where Day trains, is one of Canada's biggest and busiest MMA teams, and garnering national recognition has been frustrating for the CMC/Rumble in the Cage organization and its fighters, who are based out of the small southern Alberta city of Lethbridge. At the kick-off of Rumble 21 however, their ascent to notoriety appears imminent with the broadcast of the evening's action at twelve Cineplex-Odeon theatres across Canada, and with their recently inked Hardcore Championship Fighting (HCF) contract. Beginning with Rumble 21, the Rumble events will be broadcast on the Score Television Network - a cable sports television network available across the Nation. Rumble in the Cage founders Lee Mein and Alan Sabey, in conjunction with Keith Crawford (HCF), worked out the deal to not only expand MMA in Canada, but to make Canadian MMA history.

"It's a pleasure to be a part of Hardcore Championship Fighting Series," Mein explains to FCF. "We feel it is a great opportunity for Rumble in the Cage to showcase our world class events to the public. Our goal is to put on the best show in Canada; this will give fight fans and fighters a chance to see our show, and be a part of something big. We look forward to working with all the fight teams and other events in Canada to help the sport grow".

Rumble in the Cage 21 Results

Jared Kilkenny def. Marcus Hicks - Submission (strikes) 0:38 R1
Neil Berry def. Jesse Loyer - TKO (ref stoppage - strikes) 2:35 R1
Dan Chambers def. Joel Jackart - TKO (ref stoppage) 1:02 R1
Kevin Manderson def. Jordan Mein - Submission (rear-naked choke) 4:14 R1
Justin Tavernini def. Paul Eberjer - Submission (armbar) 0:37 R1
Jason Day def. Scott Arnold - Submission (armbar) 1:44 R1

Amateur Bouts
Mike Richardson def. Logan Dukes - Submission (triangle choke) 0:26 R1
Kevin Olsen def. Szymon Rusnak - KO - 0:18 R1
Tim Smith def. Tyson Larone - TKO (ref stoppage - strikes) 4:54 R1
Dwayne Lewis def. Jordan Murray - TKO (ref stoppage - strikes) 0:33 R1
Billy Buekart def. James Scott - Submission (guillotine choke) 0:26 R1

From the event's promoter:
IFL logo
Teams to be based in Brazil, France, San Diego and South Korea added for IFL second season

NEW YORK, January 2, 2007- The International Fight League (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, today announced the addition of four teams expected to begin competition with the 2008 season. The addition of these four teams, to be based in Brazil, France, San Diego and South Korea, brings the number of IFL squads to 17, with 12 competing in the first 11-date IFL season (which begins January 19, 2007, at ORACLE Arena in Oakland, Calif.) and at least five more expected to begin in January 2008.

"We are very excited to continue our worldwide growth by adding these four teams for 2008," said IFL Co-founder and Commissioner Kurt Otto. "Making this announcement now gives these teams the ability to train together with world champion coaches for a full year so that they are ready to go for their first full season in 2008."

Expected to coach the four new teams are PRIDE welterweight champion Dan Henderson (coaching a San Diego-based team), 2000 K-1 world champion and world super heavyweight champion Jerome LeBanner (coaching a French team), four-time Korean national champion of judo D.B. Park (coaching a South Korean-based team) and three time world jiu-jitsu champion Mario Sperry (coaching a Brazilian team). These four are in addition to the 2008 British team to be coached by Ian Freeman that was announced in late September. Nicknames and logos for the new squads are to be announced.

The IFL already has teams based in Toronto and Tokyo, in addition to its 10 United States-based teams for 2007. The full 12-team, 11-date IFL 2007 season can be found at www.ifl.tv.

The Silverbacks, coached by Pat Miletich and based in Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill., claimed the 2006 IFL World Team Championship with a 4-1 victory over the Wolfpack, coached by Matt Lindland and based in Portland, Ore., in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., on Friday, December 29. Miletich's squad also won the 2006 IFL Legends Championship in June.

From the event's promoter:

MONTREAL, QUEBEC (CANADA), January 2nd 2007 - TKO Major League MMA is delighted to give their loyal fans an astonishing New Year's present with the announcement of a third Championship fight to the already stacked, TKO 28: INEVITABLE card! TKO World Lightweight Champion, SAM "HANDS OF STONE" STOUT (10-2-1) returns to defend his title against Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, FABIO "THE MASTERMIND" HOLANDA (4-4-0). This fight has been anticipated for many years by knowledgeable Canadian MMA fans who appreciate how intriguing and exciting this match-up is! If there was any doubt about this being the best card in Canadian history, there's certainly none now!

Holanda has a black belt in jiu-jitsu and he was Georges St-Pierre's grappling instructor for many years. One should be careful not to judge him by his .500 record. All of his losses came to top notch UFC veterans. He's only lost once since dropping to 155 lbs. Holanda looked tremendously impressive in his last TKO appearance stopping the undefeated Alvin Robinson via ground and pound, late in round two. Holanda knows he can grapple with the best in the world at 155 lbs and he plans to utilize those skills to capture the TKO World Championship!

Stout is also coming off a remarkable performance as he exacted his revenge by submitting the submission artist, Jay Estrada. Stout is undoubtedly one of the most exciting Lightweight fighters in the world. His ruthless aggression and punishing strikes have made him a TKO favorite; He's also been in some of the most memorable battles in the company's history such as his fights against Dave Goulet, Donald Ouimet and Tyler Jackson. Stout is very young and hungry and he's determined not to let anything or anyone come between him and his title!

This is a battle between TKO's best Lightweight striker versus TKO's best Lightweight grappler! If Holanda can take Stout down, he'll try to end the fight quickly as he did against Canadian Lightweight standouts, Kultar Gill and Blake Fredrickson. On their feet, Stout's striking is in a different class and he is also known for being a cardio machine and will likely posses the edge the longer this five round fight lasts.

Although the rule of thumb is that the superior grappler normally defeats the striker, Stout's recent victory by armbar proves that he can't be considered a one dimensional fighter. Still, Holanda's ground game is on another planet compared to most! This fascinating championship fight is set to rock the Bell Centre!

TKO would also like to announce one fight card change as Tyler Jackson has withdrawn from his scheduled fight against STEPHANE DUBE (3-1-0). JAMES MARTINEZ (4-7-0) will step in to get his well deserved rematch! Their last fight was one of the most anticipated fights of the night for TKO 27, however it came to an abrupt end after Martinez' vision was obstructed after receiving a toe in the eye from Dube's kick. Dube was awarded the victory by TKO, but he promised to give Martinez another chance. Now, these two outstanding strikers will step back in the ring in what promises to be one of the most exciting fights of the New Year!

Tickets are available by calling 1-800-361-4595 or 514-790-1245. Tickets will also be available at the Admission's Ticket Offices at the Bell Centre!


JONATHAN GOULET (Victoriaville, Canada, 16-5-0) vs. STEVE VIGNEAULT (Îles de la Madeleine, Canada, 11-6-0)

MARK HOMINICK (London, Canada, 12-5-0) vs. HATSU HIOKI (Nagoya, Japan, 11-1-1)

FABIO HOLANDA (Natal, Brazil, 4-4-0) vs. SAM STOUT (London, Canada, 10-2-1)


LUKE CAUDILLO (Denver, Colorado, 10-6-0) vs. SAMUEL GUILLET (Montreal, Canada, 4-3-0)
JAMES MARTINEZ (Honolulu, USA, 4-7-0) vs. STEPHANE DUBE (St-Constant, Canada, 3-1-0)
DAVID MEDD (Port Colborne, Canada, 2-1-0) vs. CHRIS CLEMENTS (London, Canada, 3-1-0)
JASON ST-LOUIS (Vernon, Canada, 9-5-0) vs. STEVE CLAVEAU (Victoriaville, Canada, 4-6-0)
MARTIN GRANDMONT (Drummondville, Canada, 3-3-0) vs. DAVE PARISEAU (Victoriaville, Canada, 5-2-1)


DANIEL BOISSONEAULT (Victoriaville, Canada, 1-0-0) vs. YVES LEMELIN (Drummondville, Canada, 0-1-0)
DAVID FRASER (Riviere-du-Loup, Canada, 0-1-0) vs. BOB LANDRY (St-Jean, Canada, 0-0-0)
JOSEPH PAQUET (Toronto, Canada, 0-0-0) vs. JEAN-FRANÇOIS BEDARD (Drummondville, Canada, 0-0-0)
SEBASTIEN GAUTHIER (Chicoutimi, Canada, 1-0-0) vs. STEPHANE PINET (Quebec, Canada, 0-1-0)

  Monday - January 1, 2007
PRIDE "Shockwave" 2006: Hunt Surprises Many in Loss to Fedor, Gomi Destroys Ishida
By Kelsey Mowatt

2006 may not go down as the best year for Japan's preeminent MMA promotion PRIDE, the loss of its television deal with Fuji TV unquestionably hurt the promotion financially, number one heavyweight contender Mirko "Cro Crop" Filipovic is UFC bound, and legendary fighter Kazushi Sakuraba left to fight for PRIDE's number one national competitor, K-1 Hero's. Despite the rumors and speculation about what the future holds for the staggering MMA Giant, this year's PRIDE "Shockwave" served as a brilliant reminder that the organization still holds one of the more talented and entertaining fighter pools on the planet. The Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan hosted the New Year's Eve festivities, an event that would showcase PRIDE Heavyweight Champion Fedor Emelianenko retaining his position as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter, despite a spirited effort from his opponent Mark Hunt.

After the opening bell sounded, Emelianenko quickly closed the distance with Hunt, taking the New Zealand fighter to the mat with a body lock sweep from the clinch, after a brief striking exchange with the highly regarded K-1 veteran. It appeared that the fight would end rather abruptly as Emelianenko swung around into an armbar attempt from full mount, a submission that Emelianenko has time and time again utilized rather effectively in ending fights. Hunt, however, no doubt surprised many in attendance and watching around the world, by nimbly rolling out of the submission attempt, demonstrating new found grappling skills as he quickly gained sidemount on Emelianenko. From there Hunt maintained the position for some time, effectively distributing his weight, administering some, albeit limited, punishment to the champion. Eventually Emelianenko was able to work his way back to his feet and, after another brief striking exchange, attempted to throw Hunt once more, only to have his opponent wind up in sidemount again. In perhaps what was one of the more shocking moments of the night, Hunt once again displayed techniques from his new skill set, attempting several Americana armlocks on Emelianenko. Although the champion effectively defended the submission, the Saitama Arena gasped as Hunt worked his way into a brief full mount, only to see Emelianenko quickly bump the New Zealand heavyweight off.

With the fight once more at its feet, a seemingly angered Emelianenko picked up the pace, hurling himself at Hunt in search of a takedown. After several failed throws, Emelianenko once more took Hunt to the mat from the clinch, this time winding up on top, in sidemount. From there, it was the beginning of the end for Hunt, as the Russian champion executed a textbook Kimura, causing Hunt to tap out to the submission at 8:16 of the first round. Although the loss drops Hunt's MMA record to 5-3, and is his second loss in a row, the former K-1 star continues to impress; and, with even more time to develop a ground game, Hunt will be a top-flight contender. Emelianenko's record now stands at 25-1.

Japanese superstar and PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi was scheduled for a non-title bout against Mitsuhiro Ishida, who had earned rave reviews by defeating Marcus Aurelio at Bushido 12 on August 26th, on a streak that saw Ishida win 9 fights in a row. Gomi of course was choked out by Aurelio earlier this year at Bushido 10 on April 2nd, before avenging the loss at Bushido 13 on November 5th, when Gomi earned a narrow decision victory. To many MMA observers, it was questionable as to why this fight was not a title bout, due to the fact that Ishida has been so impressive, including a dominant victory over the aforementioned Aurelio, who defeated the current Champion in a non-title match. The debate on this issue was quickly proven a moot point however, as Gomi countered a left leg kick from Ishida with a crushing left hook early into the opening round. From there, the Lightweight Champion followed up with another hard right uppercut that sent Ishida to the canvas. Gomi quickly pounced on top of his downed opponent to continue the assault. A series of stomps, hammer fists and cracking punches gave the referee no choice but rescue Ishida at 1:14 of the first round. Gomi's record now stands at 26-3 in earning such an impressive, dramatic victory, while Ishida's slips to 14-3-1.

With the departure of Mirko "Cro Cop" to the UFC, the number one contender spot in the heavyweight division was up for grabs as Josh Barnett and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were set to do battle for the second time in less than 4 months. Barnett defeated Nogueira by split decision on September 10th at PRIDE's "Final Conflict Absolute"; in what was one of this year's more compelling and entertaining bouts. The rematch would feature far more stand-up this time around, as the first two rounds mostly saw each fighter content to test the other's abilities from the striking range. As the second round neared its end, it was becoming apparent that Nogueira was winning the stand-up exchanges, as a bloodied and bruised Barnett began to fade. The third and final round saw more action on the ground, as Barnett was able to get the fight to the mat and keep it there for some time. "The Baby Faced Assassin" however was unable to duplicate the grappling artistry that he demonstrated in his September fight with Nogueira, when he caught the Brazilian heavyweight late in the round with a kneebar, which many believe turned the split decision victory in his favor. This time around, Nogueira was much more cautious, countering any submission attempts from Barnett for the remainder of the fight. There was little surprise when the judges awarded Nogueira the unanimous decision victory, that extends the perennial contender's record to 29-4-1, while Barnett's drops to 20-5.

Earlier on in the pay-per-view, two of the promotion's more popular light-heavyweights, Mauricio "Shogun" Rua and Kazuhiro Nakamura took center ring. Nakamura seemed to frustrate his Chute Boxe opponent early on; landing several decent shots to the noted striker during the early striking exchanges. By the midpoint of the first round, Rua appeared to be somewhat fatigued and sluggish, but aptly took the bout to the mat with an effective throw from the clinch. From there, Rua turned the tide in his favor, attempting to end the fight with side and rear choke attempts. Nakamura demonstrated his own grappling skills, defending the submissions well, eventually winding up back on top as the round ended. Despite a determined effort from Nakamura through the second and third rounds, Rua persevered, working his way to a unanimous decision victory through dominating Nakamura on the ground for the remainder of the fight. The win puts Shogun's record at 15-2 while Nakamura's drops to 11-5.

A world class lightweight battle was up next that featured undefeated Cesar Gracie fighter Gilbert Melendez against perennial lightweight contender Tatsuya Kawajiri. The opening seconds of the fight saw each fighter barreling right hands at the other, with both athletes finding their mark on the other. Melendez would in fact be set right on his behind, via a devastating straight right hand from Kawajiri. Despite the ferocious strikes, neither fighter was able to land any fight-stopping blows. The remainder of the round demonstrated the high level of each fighter's wrestling and grappling capabilities, with each man attacking and countering at a dizzying pace.

Round two once more saw each fighter eager to bomb away with strikes; although, this time, Melendez appeared to be finding the range more often. Melendez rocked Kawajiri with a crushing left hook, only to see his Japanese opponent quickly recover and shoot in for a double-leg takedown. Melendez, however, was able to keep the fight standing, and stretched ahead in the fight scoring. As the second round neared its end, it was Melendez who continued to find the mark more often as each fighter stood back punching, leaving it all on the line. The judges rewarded Melendez for his more precise striking and ground control, giving the fighter the unanimous decision win. With the win, Melendez remains undefeated at 12-0, while Kawajiri falls to 19-4-2.

In other action from PRIDE's "Shockwave" 2006, Shinya Aoki proved once again that he is the real deal, submitting former Shooto star Joachim Hansen with a gogo-plata at 2:24 of the first round. James Thompson stormed his way through former Olympic Gold Medal winner Hidehiko Yoshida, stopping the Japanese star with strikes at 7:50 of round 1, and Kazuyuki Fujita had no difficulty in defeating the Georgian fighter Eldari Kurtanidze in his MMA debut, who submitted to a barrage of strikes from Fujita at 2:09 of the opening installment.

  Sunday - December 31, 2006
Happy New Year!

Your friends at FCF hope that you all have a very happy and safe New Year's Eve, and we wish you all of the best in the new year.

UFC 66: Liddell Conquers Ortiz Again in Highly Anticipated Rematch
By Kelsey Mowatt

The MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, hosted the Ultimate Fighting Championship 66 tonight, and with a scheduled main event of Lightheavyweight Champion Chuck Liddell taking on former Champion Tito Ortiz, pre-fight speculation has abounded that the MMA promotion might set pay per view buy records this evening. The two were meeting for the second time in just less than 2 years, as Liddell knocked out the "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" at UFC 47, on April 2nd, 2004. Since then Ortiz has gone 5-0, while Liddell has also won 5 in a row, defending his belt 3 times.

The opening round began similarly to their first encounter, with each fighter attempting to find their range striking until a takedown attempt from Ortiz was quickly stopped by Liddell. Ortiz began utilizing some left kicks to both Liddell's legs and midsection, and appeared to be gaining confidence until a looping right hand from "The Ice Man" cut Ortiz over his left eye. A follow up left hook from Liddell moments later dropped the former Champion, and a bloodied Ortiz barley survived a vicious barrage from Liddell to make it through the first round.

Round two saw Ortiz resume throwing kicks, which seemed to give Liddell moment to pause. As Liddell sprawled once more to avoid another Ortiz takedown attempt, his back was momentarily taken by Ortiz who quickly swung around to his rear. From there Ortiz was unable to capitalize on the superior position and Liddell quickly resumed stalking his opponent for the remainder of the round.

The fights third round saw Ortiz yet again attempt a takedown from the outside, which the current Champion once again adeptly countered. Liddell began to also counter Ortiz's leg kicks effectively, seemingly diminishing the confidence of Ortiz that he had appeared to have regained during round 2. As Liddell continued to stalk his opponent, he began to find his range, eventually catching Ortiz with a lethal combination that once again put the former Champ to the mat. Liddell, similarly to round one, again punished Ortiz with right hands from above, as Ortiz turned to his side, covering his head as the onslaught continued from Liddell for several seconds which seemed like hours. Finally, referee Mario Yamasaki jumped into the fray to stop the action, giving Liddell the TKO victory and his fourth title defense. A dejected Ortiz promised he would be back after giving the current Champion Liddell full credit for yet another impressive win. Liddell's record now sits at 20-3, while Ortiz's slips to 16-5.

In what could be a main event fight on many UFC cards, rising star Forrest Griffin was scheduled to take on Greg Jackson fighter Keith Jardine. To a roaring welcome from the MGM crowd, Forrest Griffin entered the arena, to face what promised to be one of his toughest tests to date. The fight certainly lived up to its billing as a potential stand up war, with almost the entire first round seeing each fighter exchanging from their feet. Both Jardine and Griffin remained in the pocket, fiercely throwing punches and kicks until Jardine finally landed a telling right uppercut and follow up left hook to Griffin that sent the "Ultimate Fighter" star reeling. With the fight quickly spilling to the ground, Jardine's assault continued, pounding Griffin from above with several more crushing punches that gave referee John McCarthy no choice but to halt the action at 4:41 of round 1. In earning the biggest win of his career, Jardine's record's moves up to 12-3-1, while Griffin, who was visibly distraught after the bout, see's his record drop to 13-4.

The pay per view portion of the card began with "Ultimate Fighter" season 3 lightheavyweight winner Michael Bisping taking on Eric Schafer. From the outset, Bisping tested Schafer's striking capabilities and chin, landing hard right hands and a stiff right head kick that appeared to take a considerable amount of steam out of his opponent. The resilient Schafer still managed to get the fight to the mat, where Bisping displayed a capable guard, working his way out again to his feet from several dominant positions from Schafer, including a side choke attempt and a momentary full mount. As the middle portion of the opening round eclipsed, with the bout once again spilling to the Octagon floor, Bisping peppered Schafer with punishing right hands from above. A bloodied Schafer was spared any further damage as the referee intervened at 2:03. The win brings Bisping's record to 12-0, while Schafer's falls to 8-3-2.

The next fight featured the return of former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski, who was meeting the highly accomplished jiu-jitsu specialist Marcio Cruz. The Brazilian "Pe De Pano" immediately shot in for the takedown, and despite a decent sprawl from Arlovski, Cruz still managed to grab hold of Arlovski and pull him into his guard. The former Champion quickly worked his way back to his feet as Cruz continued to desperately cling to one leg eventually getting the gifted striker back to the mat. After a stern warning to Arlovski from referee Herb Dean for kicking at Cruz's head as both fighters's looked for heel hooks and ankle locks, a brilliantly timed stiff right hand to Cruz stunned the Brazilian. From there, as Cruz continued to attempt to roll into a kneebar, Arlvoski landed several more crushing hard right hands, knocking out his opponent at 3:15 of round one. Arlvoski's triumphant return pushes his record to 10-5 while "Pe De Pano's" drops to 2-2.

Next up Jason "The Athlete" Macdonald stepped into the Octagon to face Chris "The Crippler" Leben, who was looking to avenge fellow Team Quest's fighter Ed Herman's previous loss to the Canadian middleweight in October at Ultimate Fight Night 7. The opening round of the fight saw Leben getting the better of the stand up exchanges, but the tough Macdonald kept pressing forward, putting Leben against the fence several times. From there Leben displayed great takedown defense for the majority of the round, aptly countering any maneuver from his opposition. The second round saw much of the same, until finally Macdonald was able to get Leben to the mat, and began working to push through Leben's half guard. Quickly, the 31-year-old veteran Macdonald proved to the MMA world that he is in fact the real deal, securing a tight guillotine choke on Leben as the fighter attempted to reverse positions. Leben struggled for several seconds until finally attempting to tap in what appeared to be a half conscious state. The fight was stopped at 4:03 of round one, giving Macdonald the win that elevates his record to 18-7, while Leben's falls to 15-3.

A welterweight bout between Tony De Souza and American Top Team fighter Thiago Alves would set the pay per view table for tonight's main event. After an opening round that saw Alves squash numerous De Souza takedowns and ruthlessly punish De Souza until the bell sounded, Alves knocked out his opponent with a brilliantly timed knee and follow up punch shortly into round 2 at 1:10. Alves' record is now 10-3, while De Souza's sits at 10-3.

In other action during tonight's pay per view, Gabriel Gonzaga put on a grappling clinic, submitting Carmelo Marrero at 3:32 of the first round with an armbar. The victory is Gonzaga's third in a row in the UFC, raising his record to 7-1, while Marrero's drops to 6-1.

FCF New Issue Check out what's in the current issue of FCF...

UFC 66: St. Pierre upsets Hughes, Sylvia retains belt.

BJ Penn talks about the St. Pierre-Hughes bout and his future.

FCF Radio: memorable quotes from the first six months.

Exclusive contracts: An Issue of Consideration.

Matt Horwich: The travels of a peaceful warrior.

Bart Palaszewski: Silverback lightweight continues to impress in the IFL.

BodogFight: USA Vs. Russia - Roger Gracie victorious in MMA debut.

The Ins & Outs of MMA in Canada - A Christmas "wish list" from the "naughty" and "nice" of Canadian MMA.

Icon Sport 48: Trigg stops the unstoppable, captures middleweight title.

Combat in the Cage "Evolutions": Levy shines and Doyle retains his belt.

Showfight 5: Pamplona and Margarida, the legend hunters.

Cage Rage 19: Butterbean brought down by Broughton.

Ring of Combat XII: $100,000 Tournament of Champions gets underway.

ECC 4: Hollett continues streak.

Reality Fighting 14: Fall Brawl - Ligouri takes welterweight title.

Fury FC 2 - A new Silva on the scene.

Scouting Report 2006 - A review and a look ahead at standouts and "feeder shows".

The Ultimate Fighter - A look at the hit series' recent ratings drop.

Shooto Brasil returns in great style.

In our monthly columns...

FCF MMA Trivia.

Physical Therapist and Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach Paul La Bounty talks about Performance Enhancing Drugs in MMA

In Matt Hume's techniques, Jovon Curtis & Caros Fodor demonstrate Defending the Hooks.

Fight fans make their predictions on the winners of the IFL Team Championships and UFC 66.

Chris Ligouri BioFile.

Every issue of Full Contact Fighter is jam-packed with fight news from the U.S. to Brazil to Japan. FCF travels the globe to bring the fights to you. Get yours today!

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  Saturday - December 30, 2006
IFL Dec 29, 2006 Post-fight press conference: Victorious Silverbacks - Photo by Gaby Genia
Newton Robbed at IFL World Team Championship Finals
By Jim Genia

IFL Dec 29, 2006 Post-fight press conference: Pat Miletich - Photo by Gaby Genia
(December 29th, Uncasville, Connecticut) At the Mohegan Sun Arena, a crowd of 6,825 witnessed it all: the showdown between Pat Miletich's Silverbacks and Matt Lindland's Wolfpack, including another dominating performance by an emerging heavyweight star, a face-punching party between two brawling lightweights and a crowd-pleasing welterweight upset, all of it ending in a team victory for men with gorillas on their jerseys. But the one thing that will no doubt stick in the minds of those present was the crime perpetrated after the marquee bout, a rematch of jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie and former champion welterweight Carlos Newton. For while their first meeting ended with Gracie giving up the controversial split decision at Pride's inaugural Bushido event three years ago, this evening's outcome certainly helped restore a bit of karmic balance to the universe. Ladies and gentlemen, tonight Newton was robbed -- and when the always-classy Gracie took the microphone and addressed the audience, even he agreed.

IFL Dec 29, 2006 Post-fight press conference: Renzo Gracie - Photo by Gaby Genia

Of course, all felonies committed by the judges notwithstanding, the night did have its highpoints, including:
  • The sharp and dangerous striking of Silverback Ben Rothwell as he took less than one round to dispatch Devin Cole with a kick to the head.
  • The melee between Bart Palaszewski and Ryan Schultz, which ended when "Bartimus" found a home for his right hook on Schultz's chin.
  • The unbridled respect Newton and Gracie showed one another before, during and after their bout. This time around, with the controversial split decision going his way, it was Gracie who put Newton on his shoulders and paraded him around the ring.
IFL Dec 29, 2006 Post-fight press conference: Carlos Newton - Photo by Gaby Genia
Full Results

Intra-League Superfights

Renzo Gracie (Pitbulls-184lbs) vs. Carlos Newton (Dragons-185lbs)
Gracie via split decision.

Mike Whitehead (Scorpions-262lbs) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (Anacondas-235lbs)
Whitehead via unanimous decision.

Jamal Patterson (Pitbulls-204lbs) vs. Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks-205lbs)
Andy via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 3:24 of Round Two.

Brent Beauparlant (Dragons-205lbs) vs. Andre Gusmao (Pitbulls-205lbs)
Gusmao via unanimous decision.

Erik Owings (Pitbulls-154lbs) vs. Ed West (Sabres-151lbs)
Owings via unanimous decision.

World Team Championship Finals

Wolfpack (coach: Matt Lindland) vs. Silverbacks (coach: Pat Miletich)

Ryan Schultz (155lbs) vs. Bart Palaszewski (155lbs)
Palaszewski via KO at 2:16 of Round Three.

Chris Wilson (170lbs) vs. Rory Markham (169lbs)
Wilson via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 2:14 of Round One.

Matt Horwich (186lbs) vs. Ryan McGivern (184lbs)
McGivern via unanimous decision.

Aaron Stark (204lbs) vs. Mike Ciesnolevicz (205lbs)
Ciesnolevicz via guillotine at 1:03 of Round Three.

Devin Cole (237lbs) vs. Ben Rothwell (264lbs)
Rothwell via ref stoppage due to unanswered strikes at 3:16 of Round One.

The Silverbacks won the IFL World Team Championship with a score of 4-1 – congrats on the championship rings, fellas!

  Friday - December 29, 2006
UFC 66 Preview
By Steven Marrocco

Undercard Bouts:

Anthony Perosh vs. Christian Wellisch

Perosh is coming off a loss against heavyweight contender Jeff Monson in his UFC debut in July, He is a BJJ black belt under Carlos Machado, and as such, favors the ground in MMA competition. Most of his wins have come by submission in the Spartan Reality Fight promotion in Australia, where he runs a school with veteran Elvis Sinosec.

Wellisch is also coming off a loss in his UFC debut, where he fought well against Cheik Kongo before eating a huge knee that stopped the fight quickly. Based out of the American Kickboxing Academy, Wellisch has displayed a wider skill set in competition, stopping his opponents by submission as well as strikes.

Both competitors will be hungry to get in the winning column in the UFC, so this will undoubtedly be a spirited fight. If Wellisch is able to connect as Monson did, it could be a short night for Perosh. However, Perosh will most likely get an early takedown, where he will gun for a submission victory. If Wellisch has not prepared himself adequately on the ground, or slacked in his cardio, he will be submitted. Wellisch's best hope is to exploit Perosh's weakness on his feet in the initial minutes of the bout or after a restart from the ground.

Yushin Okami vs. Rory Singer

Okami is a tough veteran of the international fight game, having fought for Pancrase, Pride, and K-1. He was the beneficiary of a win over Anderson Silva in Rumble on the Rock when an errant upkick from Silva knocked him out in the opening round. Since then, he has beaten his last two opponents in the UFC, recently dominating TUF 3 contestant Kalib Starnes in a 3rd round stoppage victory.

Rory Singer has also had success in his initial UFC fights, stopping TUF 3 finalist Josh Haynes in October's UFC Fight Night and Brit Ross Pointon at the TUF 3 finale. With the exception of a single KO victory at King of the Cage, Singer is a submission artist through and through.

This is Singer's toughest challenge yet, as Okami has proven skills on the ground and has shown himself to be aggressive when standing as well. Singer could capitalize on Okami's aggression by catching him in an early submission from the bottom, but will suffer a disadvantage if the bout stays on its feet. Most likely, we will see a chess match on the ground.

Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Carmello Marrero

After recovering from family crisis in late 2005 and a last minute withdrawal at UFC 63, Gonzaga rebounded with a TKO victory over Fabiano Scherner at UFC 60. Prior to joining the UFC, Gonzaga was a successful BJJ competitor as a black belt under Wander Braga. His only loss in MMA came at the hands of ground wiz Fabricio Werdum in an early Jungle Fight bout.

Marrero is undefeated in his six professional fights, having recently defeated Cheick Kongo by split decision at UFC 64, where he was brought in on three weeks notice. Marrero is primarily a wrestler/ground and pound artist, and has a great ability to control his opponents on the ground.

With ample time to prepare, we should see a more well rounded Marrero against the also relatively new Gonzaga. After his victory against Kongo, Marrero expressed his confidence in his stand up abilities and vowed to use them in his upcoming fight. Gonzaga's bread and butter is also on the ground, but has displayed decent standup abilities as well. Look for the two to trade in the opening rounds, with either one shooting as one comes out on the losing side of the exchanges. From there, we could see a protracted ground battle with a decision.

Tony DeSouza vs. Thiago Alves

DeSouza is a longtime veteran of the MMA world, having fought for the UFC in the early 2000's. After a victory in the first WFA, DeSouza took a three-year break from MMA, returning to competition in 2004. He is primarily a submission artist, training with BJ Penn. In his return to the UFC, he defeated Dustin Hazelett by kimura at Fight Night 7.

Thiago Alves may be a younger version of Tony DeSouza, with the added capability of striking. Having racked up most of his UFC experience in the recent year, Alves is coming off an impressive decision victory over the always tough John Alessio on the same card as DeSouza. However, he has dropped two fights to two tough UFC welterweights, the first being Spencer Fisher, followed by Jon Fitch.

DeSouza's comfort on the ground will most likely take the fight there, with Thiago trying to ward off his submission attempts. If Alves is able to use his advantage in speed to inflict damage early, he could take the victory.

Maincard Bouts:

Eric Schafer vs. Michael Bisping

TUF 3 winner Bisping is making his long awaited UFC pay per view debut, having withdrawn from his last scheduled fight due to visa issues. An undefeated 11-0, Bisping tore through the competition in the reality show and dismantled Team Quest fighter Josh Haynes to take the show. Training out of the tough Wolfslair Gym in the UK, Bisping is an exciting striker with ground skills to match.

Eric Schafer is a submission artist who handily dispatched season two TUF'er Rob Macdonald with a slick transition into an arm triangle choke that rendered him unconscious.

It will be interesting to see how the layoff has affected Bisping, and should any ring rust appear, Schafer's best chance to capitalize is on the ground. An early takedown could put Bisping on the defensive early and take valuable gas out of the Brit's tank, taking the sting out of his crisp striking. However, should Bisping come ready, his striking will most likely overwhelm Schafer in the first.

Jason MacDonald vs. Chris Leben

Canadian vet MacDonald shocked many newcomers to the sport by easily submitting TUF season 3 favorite Ed Herman, tapping him out with a textbook triangle choke. The crafty fighter is on a five-fight win streak, having been a regular in the Extreme Cage Combat and Mixed Fighting Championships. Had he not been snatched up by the UFC, we may very well have seen him in Bodogfight, having fought on the majority of their cards.

Chris Leben is a member of Team Quest and an TUF season 1 alum. After suffering his first loss in two years against current UFC middleweight champ Anderson Silva, Leben rebounded with a KO victory against Jorge Santiago at UFC Fight Night 6, dropping the Brazilian fighter with a looping hook. Noticeably quieter since his humbling, Leven has refocused himself to take revenge for his fellow Team Quest fighter's loss.

It is well known that Leben loves to throw leather and will try to punch his way to a KO victory. MacDonald has shown tremendous technique and will most likely try to bait Leben into making an obvious mistake as he did with Herman. If Leben is able to stay patient and pressure MacDonald on the feet, he could wear down the Canadian later in the bout.

Andre Arlovski vs. Marcio Cruz

It's been a tough road for the former UFC heavyweight champ recently, losing two back- to-back fights against current champ Tim Sylvia. In their second bout, Arlovski injured his knee and rode out the remainder of the fight with lazy jabs that dragged the bout. Until recently, Arlovski was the poster child for a well-rounded heavyweight, having submitted Sylvia in their first meeting and knocked Paul Buentello senseless at UFC 55. With no foreseeable title shot, Arlovski finds himself in journeyman territory, knocking off contenders to the heavyweight throne until Sylvia is unseated.

Marcio Cruz came from a highly regarded BJJ background, having won championships in both the Mundials and Abu Dabi. Cruz started strong in the UFC, upsetting former heavyweight champ Frank Mir by TKO stoppage, but recently lost a controversial decision to heavyweight contender Jeff Monson.

Both fighters are looking to shake off their current demons, having recently given disappointing performances in their careers. However, the glaring difference in their respective abilities comes in striking. Arlovski's kickboxing skills far outweigh Cruz's, so much so that any time spent on the feet is dangerous for the ADCC champ. If Cruz is able to take the fight to the ground, the bout will be far more competitive. Even then, if Cruz looks to take advantage from the bottom position, as many BJJ converts do, he will find himself being punished by Arlovski. Look for Arlovski to end the fight on its feet relatively early on.

Keith Jardine vs. Forrest Griffin

Jardine fights out of Greg Jackson's Submission Fighting academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was scheduled to fight Mike Nickels at UFC 64, but Nickels withdrew last minute due to a back injury. Fortunately, UFC brass decided to up the stakes for the former bounty hunter, giving him TUF season 1 winner Forrest Griffin. After dropping a controversial decision loss to Stephan Bonnar (which most likely would have put him across from Griffin back in August), Jardine rebounded with a decision victory over Wilson Gouveia at the TUF 3 finale.

As one of the UFC's breakout stars, Griffin is a brawler who's technique has grown by leaps and bounds since the conclusion of the reality show. His striking performance against Stephan Bonnar had the look of a professional boxer, using footwork extremely well and throwing crisp combinations of punches that outclassed his opponent. It could be argued that like Jardine, he has never lost in the UFC, having been at the losing end of a decision many disagreed with.

With their respective histories, it seems UFC matchmaker Joe Silva saw an opportunity to line up a contender to the light-heavyweight crown in the relatively thin division. In the past year, both fighters have gained respect in the MMA community, and this bout should showcase their evolution as fighters. Griffith has shown the ability to take punishment and smile, and should be content to stand and slug with Jardine. If Jardine attacks Griffin's legs as he did with Bonnar, Griffin could be worn down as the fight progresses. Either way, this bout looks to be extremely competitive.

Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz

In case you've been sleeping under a rock, Liddell is the UFC Light-Heavyweight champion and the biggest name in the UFC. As a true company man, Liddell has beaten most of the names in the light-heavyweight world, and will no doubt take a place at the UFC Hall of Fame when his career comes to a close.

Ortiz is the former UFC Light-Heavyweight champion, having held the belt for three years at the start of the millennium, where his ground and pound dominated the game. Having won a controversial decision against Forrest Griffin, and elbowed Ken Shamrock into oblivion twice, Ortiz finds himself in title contention again against his old training partner.

Whether Ortiz has sharpened his boxing skills to the level of Liddell is the serious question. Liddell has accurately read the situation, stating that if Ortiz is to achieve the ultimate goal of taking him down, he will have to cross into striking range first. That puts Ortiz in the unenviable position of trading strikes with one of the most devastating strikers in the history of MMA. Should Ortiz manage to take Liddell down, the question becomes whether he can keep Liddell down for long enough to do what he does best. If Ortiz is able to make Liddell work hard on the ground for a couple rounds, the bout could be more competitive. However, if Liddell is able to do what he does best, stuffing takedowns and looking to fire his powerful right, the result could be the same as their first meeting.

  Thursday - December 28, 2006
IFL Dec 28, 2006 Weigh-ins: IFL Team Coaches & promoters - Photo by Gaby Genia
IFL World Team Championship Final:
Weigh-Ins and Weighty Announcements

By Gaby Genia

(December 28th -- Groton Naval Submarine Base) The highly-anticipated International Fight League's (IFL) World Team Championship Final kicked off this afternoon with weigh-ins in the lobby of the Naval Exchange at the Groton Submarine Base. As a standing-room only crowd of excited sailors and fervent fight fans looked on, the IFL brass wowed the crowd with announcements of four new coaches and a future superfight.

The first coach announced was none other than former Pride Grand Prix tournament winner Dan Henderson. Doo B. Park, a South Korean judoka and martial arts instructor to the US Army and NYPD, was introduced next, followed by three-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Mario Sperry. The final coach named was kickboxing legend Jerome LeBanner, of France. Joining the internationally-renowned new additions for a photo op on the stage were current coaches Maurice Smith, Carlos Newton, Renzo Gracie, Pat Miletich, Ian Freeman, and Matt Lindland.

The IFL further energized the crowd with the announcement that veteran slugger Robbie Lawler would take on up-and-coming Brazilian banger Eduardo Pamplona in a superfight to be held on February 23rd in Atlanta, Georgia.

Almost uneventful after the excitement that had preceded them, the weigh-ins themselves went off without a hitch, as each and every one of the fighters made weight with seeming ease.

In the Wolfpack/Silverbacks showdown, heavyweights Devin Cole and Ben Rothwell weighed in at 237 and 264 pounds, respectively. Both light-heavyweights Aaron Stark and Mike Ciesnolevicz made the mark at 205, while lightweights Ryan Schultz and Bart Palaszewski came in at 154 and 155 pounds. Welterweights Chris Wilson and Rory Markham weighed in at 170 and 169, while in the middleweight division, an eager Matt Horwich (185) didn't bother waiting for Ryan McGivern (184) to step on the scale before he began guzzling Pedialyte.

IFL Dec 28, 2006 Weigh-ins: Krzysztof Soszynski - Photo by Gaby Genia

In the intra-league superfights, Pitbull coach Renzo Gracie and Dragons coach Carlos Newton took the scales to a roar of applause. Both crowd favorites hit the mark at 184 pounds. Heavyweight Mike Whitehead (Scorpions) tipped the scales at a whopping 262, while his opponent, Krzysztof Soszynski, weighed in at a mere 235 pounds.

IFL Dec 28, 2006 Weigh-ins: Carlos Newton (left) vs. Renzo Gracie - Photo by Gaby Genia
Newton vs. Renzo Gracie

Light-heavyweights Jamal Patterson (Pitbulls) and Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks) weighed in at 204 and 205, respectively, as did Andre Gusmao (Pitbulls) and Brent Beauparlant (Dragons). Lightweight Erik Owings (Pitbulls) came in at 154, while his opponent, Ed West (Sabres), came in at a scant 151 pounds. The final weigh-in of the day was that of middleweight division alternates Jake Ellenberger and Ben Uker, who both came in at 183 on the dot.

As everyone made weight, the room was full of excitement and anticipation of what tomorrow will bring. And for those unable to make the trip to the sold-out Mohegan Sun Arena event tomorrow night, it was announced that the show will air on FSN on New Year's Eve.

The full fight card:

Erik Owings (154.25 lbs) vs. Ed West (151 lbs)
Brent Beauparlant (205 lbs) vs. Andre Gusmao (204.75 lbs)
Jamal Patterson (204.25 lbs) vs. Reese Andy (205)
Mike Whitehead (262.5 lbs) vs. Krzystof Soszynski (235.25 lbs)
Ryan Schultz (154.75 lbs)vs. Bart Palaszewski (155 lbs)
Chris Wilson (170 lbs) vs. Rory Markham (169.25 lbs)
Matt Horwich (185.75 lbs) vs. Ryan McGivern (184.25 lbs)
Aaron Stark (204.25 lbs) vs. Mike Ciesnolevicz (205 lbs)
Devin Cole (237.5 lbs) vs. Ben Rothwell (264 lbs)
Carlos Newton (184.75 lbs) vs. Renzo Gracie (184 lbs)

Jake Ellenberger (183lbs) vs. Ben Uker (183lbs)

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From the event's promoter:
Friday, February 9th, 7h30PM - Bell Centre, Montreal


Main Event - TKO Welterweight Championship
JONATHAN GOULET (Victoriaville, Quebec, 16-7-0) vs. STEVE VIGNEAULT (Îles de la Madeleine, Quebec, 11-6-0)

Co-Main Event - TKO Featherweight Championship
MARK HOMINICK (London, Ontario, 12-5-0) vs. HATSU HIOKI (Nagoya, Japon, 11-1-1)

Welterweight Division
DAVID MEDD (Port Colbrone, Ontario, 2-1-0) vs. CHRIS CLEMENTS (London, Ontario, 3-1-0)

Lightweight Division
JASON ST-LOUIS (Vernon, Colombie-Britannique, 9-5-0) vs. STEVE CLAVEAU (Victoriaville, Quebec, 4-6-0)

Lightweight Division
DAVE PARISEAU (Victoriaville, Quebec, 5-2-1) vs. MARTIN GRANDMONT (Drummondville, Quebec, 3-3-0)

Also on the main card : TBA vs. SAM STOUT, TBA vs. SAMUEL GUILLET et TBA vs. STÉPHANE DUBÉ


Lightweight Division
DANIEL BOISSONEAULT (Victoriaville, Quebec, 1-0-0) vs. YVES LEMELIN (Drummondville, Quebec, 0-1-0)

Welterweight Division
JOSEPH PAQUET (Toronto, Ontario, 0-0-0) vs. JEAN-FRANÇOIS BEDARD (Drummondville, Quebec, 0-0-0)

Heavyweight Division
DAVID FRASER (Rivière-du-Loup, Quebec, 0-1-0) vs. BOB LANDRY (St-Jean, Quebec, 0-0-0)

Light-Heavyweight Division
SEBASTIEN GAUTHIER (Chicoutimi, Quebec, 1-0-0) vs. STEPHANE PINET (Quebec, Quebec, 0-1-0)

Also on the preliminary card : TBA vs. PETER JACKSON

  Wednesday - December 27, 2006
IFL World Team Championship Final Preview
By Jim Genia

What: IFL World Team Championships. When: December 29th. Where: Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Capping off their inaugural year with an MMA blowout, the International Fight League returns to the East Coast with a Wolfpack and Silverback team showdown, as well as a few intra-league superfights that have "action" written all over them. Here's a look at some of the fighters:

Renzo Gracie – The Pitbulls
The consummate jiu-jitsu fighter, this Pitbull patriarch is suddenly more popular than ever thanks to a highly-favorable "60 Minutes" segment and a recent victory over MMA legend Pat Miletich. But Father Time is a tough adversary to beat, and at 40 years old, one has to wonder if the amiable Gracie – who's beaten the likes of Oleg Taktarov, Sanae Kikuta and Maurice Smith in his long career – has enough for his rematch with the always-dangerous Carlos Newton.

Carlos Newton – The Dragons
A crafty grappler and former UFC champ, Newton scored a split-decision win over Gracie three years ago at Pride's Bushido 1, but it's been a rough road since. One thing that cannot be denied, though, is that a focused Newton is very tough to beat. The question: will he be focused on December 29th?

Jamal Patterson – The Pitbulls
Following in the footsteps of Matt Serra and Ricardo Almeida, this Renzo Gracie student is a jiu-jitsu monster set to make waves in the MMA world. Scoring submission victories both times he's entered the IFL ring, Patterson is stepping up once again, this time to take on the more-experienced Reese Andy. Can he keep up his winning ways?

Ben Rothwell – The Silverbacks
If the IFL has made any stars, Rothwell is certainly one of them. A heavyweight slugger with KO power in his fists, this Miletich-trained fighter has spent years racking up a wealth of ring experience – and is the man to beat amongst the League's heavyweights.

Bart Palaszewski – The Silverbacks
Another emerging IFL star, this lightweight packs a punch, and that, coupled with his submission skills, makes him a formidable opponent for anyone. Look for "Bartimus" to keep his IFL record spotless when he squares off against Ryan Schultz on December 29th.

The fight card as of 12/27:

Intra-League Superfights
Renzo Gracie (Pitbulls) vs. Carlos Newton (Dragons)
Mike Whitehead (Scorpions) vs. Krzysztof Soszynski (Anacondas)
Jamal Patterson (Pitbulls) vs. Reese Andy (Tiger Sharks)
Brent Beauparlant (Dragons) vs. Andre Gusmao (Pitbulls)
Erik Owings (Pitbulls) vs. Ed West (Sabres)

World Team Championship Finals
Wolfpack                     Silverbacks
coach: Matt Lindland       coach: Pat Miletich
Ryan Schultz       vs.   Bart Palaszewski
Chris Wilson       vs.   Rory Markham
Matt Horwich       vs.   Ryan McGivern
Aaron Stark       vs.   Mike Ciesnolevicz
Devin Cole       vs.   Ben Rothwell

  Tuesday - December 26, 2006
The Northern Touch

Georges St-Pierre Wins FCF's 2006 Canadian Fighter of the Year Award

Georges St-Pierre - Photo by Georgia Tsao
For the second year in a row, Georges St-Pierre has been awarded Full Contact Fighter's "Northern Touch" Canadian Fighter of the Year Award. This year's finalists for the Nation's fighter of the year award were Pride Middleweight star Denis Kang, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship's newly crowned Welterweight Champion Georges St-Pierre. Due to both men's accomplishments during the year, voters were hard pressed to consider any other fighters.

Denis Kang excelled in Pride's 183 pound division this year, going 4-1 fighting for the organization in 2006, with wins over Mark Weir, Amar Suloev, Murilo Rua, Akihiro Gono. Kang's only loss, and for that matter, his first loss since 2003, came against Kazuo Misaki in the Pride Bushido "Survival" Tournament Finals. Kang also had a win competing in South Korea's Spirit MC Promotion, where the American Top Team fighter KO'ed Albert Basconcelles in the first round on April 22nd.

Defeating two of the world's best welterweight fighters, on route to securing the UFC's Welterweight Championship was ultimately, what the Canadian voter's determined was the winning criteria for GSP. St-Pierre was victorious in both his fights this year, first defeating former UFC Welterweight Champion BJ Penn at UFC 58, on March 4th by split decision, and then by stopping long time UFC Champion Matt Hughes in dramatic fashion at UFC 65 on November 18th.

Over 30 of the Nation's MMA fighters, trainers, promoters and media members cast their votes, to award GSP the Canadian Fighter of the Year honor, giving the Quebec fighter back to back wins in 2005 and 2006.

Here are just a few of the comments, some of Canada's MMA community had in regards to their votes for the "Northern Touch" Fighter of the Year Award.

"GSP, in a walk, he will be the UFC Champion for as long as he wants….and talk about a marketing dream."

Hardcore Fighting Championship CEO, Keith Crawford

"Denis Kang, mainly because he fought 6 times and St. Pierre fought 2 times, they both really deserve it.

Team Toshido Head Instructor, David Lea

"George St-Pierre, after such a dominating performance over the seemingly undefeatable Matt Hughes, GSP deserves top honors in this spot, but Denis Kang deserves honorable mentions for an amazing year."

Combat Athletics, John Cooper

"GSP, Rush killed it this year!"

Team Tompkins' fighter, Chris Horodecki

This year FCF expanded the awards to include categories for Canadian Comeback Fighter of the Year, and Canadian Break Out Fighter for 2006, an honor awarded to the fighter who achieved widespread international acclaim for the first time.

The final candidates for the Nation's Comeback Fighter were Krzysztof Soszynski, Patrick Cote, Jeff Joslin and Victor Valimaki. Both Soszynski and Cote turned their careers around in 2006 after having a somewhat lack luster year in 2005, while both Joslin and Valimaki won Apex and Maximum Fighting Championship titles respectively, making it to the UFC in the process, after having relatively inactive 2005 seasons.

In what ended up being an extremely close race, Patrick Cote narrowly edged out Krzystof Soszynski in voting to win the 2006 Canadian Comeback Fighter of the Year Award. After going winless in the UFC in 2005, Cote returned to the organization via the "The Ultimate Fighter" television show, progressing through to the show's finals on November 11th. Although Cote lost to Travis Lutter at the "TUF" finals, this year the Quebec fighter defeated Jorge Rivera and Edwin Dewees during the show's run, and secured King of the Cage Canada's Lightheavyweight Title and the MFC's Middleweight Title, with wins over Bill Mahood and Jason Macdonald respectively.

The finalists for this year's Break Out Fighter of the Year included Mark Hominick, Jason Macdonald, Kalib Starnes and Chris Horodecki. All of the first three aforementioned fighters had successful UFC debuts in 2006, arguably gaining widespread international awareness for the first time in their careers. Although Horodecki also captured the attention of the MMA world in 2006, his international exposure was via the International Fight League, competing for Bas Rutten's Anacondas.

In what was also another tight race in the voting, "The Athlete" Jason Macdonald won the Break Out Fighter Award by just a few votes over 19-year-old Team Tompkins' fighter Chris Horodecki. The subject of Macdonald immediately lit up MMA forums after his UFC debut on October 10th at Ultimate Fight Night 7, where the veteran fighter submitted the highly touted "Ultimate Fighter" middleweight finalist Ed Herman with a first round triangle choke. Macdonald went 4-1 in 2006, including a notable unanimous decision win over TUF Season 4 cast member Gideon Ray at Extreme Caged Combat 1 on April 29th. Macdonald will head to UFC 66 with his record of 17-7 this Saturday, to take on another of the UFC's rising stars, Chris Leben.

Apex "Caged Inferno" Card Set for January 13th

The Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau, Quebec, will host the latest Apex Fighting Championship event, "Caged Inferno" on January 13th. The night's main event will feature the return of Sean "Pimp Daddy" Pierson (4-3) to the MMA ring for the first time since 2003, who will be taking on Fritz Paul (8-3) for the Apex Canadian Middleweight Title. In another Canadian title match, Thierry Quenneville (9-5) will meet the undefeated Shaun Krysa (4-0) for Apex's National Lightweight Championship. Krysa has gone 3-0 in 2006, winning all three of his bouts by submission, while Quenneville lost by TKO to Damacio Page in his only bout this year at TKO 25 on May 5th.

Some of the other scheduled bouts for the "Caged Inferno" card include, an Apex Women's World Lightweight Title match between Rebecca Sweeney (2-0) and Jessica Augilar (2-1), Nabil Khatib (5-1)versus Darly Bonar (3-1) in middleweight action, and welterweight Jacob Macdonald (2-4) fighting Daniel Grandmaison (2-3).

Canadian MMA Spring Schedule
  • Rumble In the Cage, December 31st, Lethbridge, Alberta
  • Apex, "Caged Inferno", January 13th, Gatineau, Quebec
  • KOTC / Freedom Fight, January 20th, Gatineau, Quebec
  • National Fighting Challenge, January 26th, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Maximum Fighting Championship, February 3rd, Edmonton, Alberta
  • TKO 28 "Inevitable" February 9th, Montreal, Quebec

IFL Press Release:
Lindland, Miletich's Squads Ring In New Year with a one-hour show

NEW YORK, DECEMBER 26, 2006 – International Fight League, Inc. (OTC.BB: IFLI), the world's first team-based professional mixed martial arts league, will give its fans another way to ring in the New Year, with an evening of exciting MMA action on Fox Sports Net. The IFL "World Team Championship" final between the Wolfpack, based in Portland and coached by Matt Lindland, and the Silverbacks, who train in the Quad Cities and are coached by Pat Miletich, will air on Fox Sports Net on Dec. 31 in most markets. The Wolfpack-Silverbacks matchup will be a tape delay of the "World Team Championship" that will take place Friday, Dec. 29 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.

The coverage is the final part of FSN's 10 hours of IFL World Team Championship coverage this fall. Broadcast times in several regions include:
  • FSN Arizona, 8:30 p.m. MT-Ariz
  • FSN Bay Area, 9:30 p.m. PT
  • FSN Midwest, 9 p.m. CT
  • FSN New England, 9 p.m. ET
  • FSN New York, 9 p.m. ET
  • FSN Northwest, 5 p.m. PT
  • FSN Southwest, 8 p.m. CT
  • FSN West, 10 p.m. PT
  • Comcast Chicago, 11 p.m. CT
  • FSN Rocky Mountain, 8 p.m. MT
For the complete weekend TV schedule go to http://www.ifl.tv/press/FSNIFLDec.pdf.

In addition, Canadian fans can catch Rogers Sportsnet's re-broadcasts of the two-hour "Best Damn Sports Show" special across all of its networks overnight on Saturday, Dec. 30/Early Sunday, Dec. 31 (East, Ontario, HD: 12:30 a.m. ET/ 1:30 a.m. AT; West: midnight MT/11 p.m. PT; Pacific: 1 a.m. MT/ midnight PT). The World Team Championship Final will air on Saturday, Jan. 6.

  Monday - December 25, 2006
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  Thursday - December 21, 2006
Maximum Style
The UFC's golden boys grace the pages of Maxim
By Gaby Genia

There's no doubt about it, boys and girls: MMA has hit the mainstream media, and hit it hard.

If the much-touted 60 Minutes piece didn't convince you, January's issue of Maxim surely will. Usually known for its pictorials of nearly nude women, this issue features a seven-page spread of the UFC's golden boys modeling formalwear. Not wanting to stray too far from their pugilistic roots, the shoot depicts a dapperly dressed Georges St. Pierre on the receiving end of tuxedoed Chuck Liddell's famous right fist - the blood flying from GSP's mouth nicely accentuating the red velvet of his blazer. Another full page is devoted to Liddell adjusting the cufflinks below his bruised and bloody knuckles. Also appearing in the spread are the very menacing and yet dashingly debonair Jorge Gurgel, Chris Lytle and Josh Koscheck.

The January 2007 issue of Maxim is now available on newsstands

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Explosion: Gilbert Grappling Shines at Debut Event
Report by Dustin Lee DePue - Photos by Riley Kerestes

Tinley Park, IL -- Mixed Martial Arts in Chicagoland can add another notch to its belt as a new promotion has jumped into the fray. Cage Fighting Championships Underground held its debut event, "Explosion," on Saturday at the Holiday Inn Select Convention Center. The eleven fight card, cut down from fourteen for various last-minute reasons, turned out to be a real showcase for Gilbert Grappling as their fighters went 5-0 in front of nearly two thousand fans.

The fight of the night was a great match of styles as Steve Kinnison's many armbar attempts finally paid off after a grueling three-round battle. His opponent, Miletich fighter Ryan Bixler, dominated the stand-up throughout the fight, landing several hard right straights that opened a cut above Kinnison's eye. Kinnison was content to let Bixler control the pace and was selective in his punches. This worked to Bixler's favor as he landed a lot of punches and scored points for aggression and control. Bixler also secured several takedowns and added plenty of punches from the top as he easily took the first round.

Cage Fighting Championships Underground: Ryan Bixler fending off one of Steve Kinnison's many armbar attempts - Photo by Riley Kerestes
Bixler fending off one of
Kinnison's armbar attempts
The second round saw more of the same as Bixler continued to push the pace scoring punches and takedowns, however, Kinnison began to latch on armbars the second they hit the mat. Bixler would figure-four his arms in defense, nothing would happen for twenty seconds, the ref would stand them up and Bixler would score punches and go for the takedown and the whole process would repeat again for the entirety of the second round.

Going into the third, it didn't look like Kinnison was going to be able to secure the armbar. Bixler's defense was just too strong. Behind on the judges cards, Kinnison needed to catch Bixler in something he could finish. He found it after throwing a high kick that Bixler was able to catch and use to slam Kinnison. Unfortunately for Bixler, he landed right into a triangle choke that Kinnison used to finish the fight. A great fight top to bottom with both fighters showing their considerable skills. Hopefully both will be featured on future cards.

Cage Fighting Championships Underground: Tommy Lee raining down punches on Norm Alexander - Photo by Riley Kerestes
Lee raining punches on Alexander
In the Main Event of the Evening, Gilbert Grappling Tommy Lee was able to control Norm Alexander throughout all three rounds in the only fight of the night to go the distance. Lee was able to take Alexander down at will and nearly ended the fight twice in the first round with strikes from the mount. Give it to Alexander, he was a survivor and managed to hang on throughout the beating, surviving several tight looking side chokes and a fights worth of ground and pound. Lee wins by unanimous decision.

Though classified as a pro bout, Jay Estrada's fight with Josh Lee was run on three minute rounds. Had the rounds been five minutes, this likely would have been a first round stoppage as Estrada worked over the less experienced Lee. Estrada was able to put Lee on the mat with a pair of wicked hip tosses and calmly work toward finishing him. Lee scored several reversals but wasn't able to capitalize as Estrada was able to get back on top, where he created enough space to unload a truck-full of stiff ground and pound, landing several hard shots that forced the referee stoppage and earned Gilbert Grappling another "W".

As much a victim of poor management as Estrada's superior wrestling, Lee might want to find a corner man who doesn't yell for him to use moves that are illegal in Illinois (elbows on the ground) and who doesn't forget to bring his fighter water for use between rounds.

Brian McGuiness survived an early suplex by opponent Duke Oursler, escaping Oursler's rear-naked choke attempt by sneaking out the back door. Back on the feet, McGuiness was in his element as he landed a big right hand that put Oursler on the fritz. Held up by the fence, Oursler crumbled to the mat after a second punch. McGuiness wins by KO.

Dan Hornbuckle manhandled Max Fowler for just thirty seconds before a giant knee to the jaw led to Fowler's verbal submission. After the submission, Fowler was holding what may have been a broken or otherwise injured jaw.

Gilbert Grappling's Kevin Knabijan and Grant Sarver came out throwing bombs. Knabijan got the better of the exchange, prompting a takedown by Sarver. Knabijan came close with several submissions before Sarver attempted an armbar of his own. Knabijan escaped the attempt, broke Sarver's guard, got to side control and slipped into an armbar of his own for the win.

Jacob Hey hurt Mike Higgins with a big slam and knocked him out seconds later with punches from the top.

In amateur action, Gilbert Grappling's Ted Juricic nearly ripped off Jim McDonald's arm with a nasty Kimura midway through the first round.

Overall, it was a solid debut for Caged Fighting Championships Underground. Explosion should provide a workable base from which they can improve upon. Surely, Chicago-area fans are looking forward to the second installment set for March 2007 with a headliner bout featuring 135-pound sensation Miguel Torres.

Full Results

Professional - 3x5 minute rounds
Tommy Lee def. Norm Alexander by unanimous decision
Dan Hornbuckle def. Max Fowler by verbal submission (injury to jaw) 0:30 R1
Steve Kinnison def. Ryan Bixler by triangle choke 1:49 R3
Kevin Knabijan def. Grant Sarver by armbar 0:48 R2
Brian McGuiness def. Duke Oursler by KO 2:58 R1
Jacob Hey def. Mike Higgins by KO 1:11 R1

Professional - 3x3 minute round
Jay Estrada def. Josh Lee by TKO (ref stoppage due to strikes) 2:10 R2
Brandon Munson def Matt Garber by armbar 1:45 R1
Johnny Bedford def Dan Caesar by guillotine choke 0:20 R1

Amateur - 3x3 minute rounds
Justin Carr def Colt Norton by submission due to strikes 0:20 R1
Ted Juricic def Jim McDonald by Kimura 1:34 R1

  Wednesday - December 20, 2006
New Extreme Fight Shorts
Now available in the FCF Shop

FCF Extreme Fight Shorts - Olive, Royal and Ice Camo

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The Northern Touch

Ryan "The Lion" Diaz to Face Manny Tapia for KOTC World Flyweight Title in March

Both Ryan Diaz and King of the Cage World Flyweight Champion Manny Tapia confirmed to FCF this week that the two are slated to do battle early in 2007. It appears that after several previous attempts by KOTC to put together a fight between Tapia and KOTC Canada's Bantamweight Champion Diaz over the last year, it appears that the fight will now finally materialize in the spring. Although no final details have yet to be announced from the promotion as to when and where the bout will take place, both fighters have begun preparations for a March title fight. Tapia is considered by many to be one of KOTC's rising commodities, holding an undefeated record of 8-0-1. The Millenia Jiu-Jitsu fighter recently defended his 135 pound title for a second time at KOTC "Destroyer" on December 1st, by defeating Richard Montano by unanimous decision.

"In my eyes Ryan is going to be the toughest test," Tapia tells FCF. "I just hear so many good things about him, even guys like Johnny Alessio was just telling me that I'm going to have to train hard for Ryan. I saw him fight Nam Phan and I know he had to go up in weight because he was supposed to fight Urijah (Faber) at 145. That tells you what kind of man he is, that's why they call him "The Lion", because he's not going to back down."

Diaz is coming off a tough loss to Nam Phan (12-3), losing by a close decision to the Strikeforce veteran at KOTC "Rapid Fire" on August 4th. Diaz had been scheduled to fight 145 pound standout Urijah Faber, but wound up moving up to the lightweight division to face Phan when Faber was unable to fight. Diaz's only other losses in 11 fights since 2003 have come against UFC veteran Mark Hominick, losing to the former TKO 145 pound Champion at TKO 22 on September 30th of last year, and at TKO 13 on September 6th of 2003. In between those two bouts, Diaz won 6 fights in a row, including victories over Kola Koka and Ryan Ackerman. Diaz defeated Thierry Quenneville by triangle choke at KOTC Canada's "Conquest" event on December 3rd last year, to lay claim to the promotion's Canadian bantamweight belt.

Diaz holds a record of 12-10, and has been in the ring with the likes of Hermes Franca, Mamoru Yamuguchi, and Eddie Yagin in addition to such notable opponents as Hominick and Phan. Despite the recent hype that has accompanied his upcoming opponent Tapia, Diaz is extremely confident in his chances to de-throne the world champion.

"He's a tough fighter," says Diaz who also fought on the "Rapid Fire" card like Tapia earlier this month. "He doesn't have the experience that I have though, he's undefeated but he hasn't fought the guys I have, the level of fighters that I have. I believe I have the advantage standing and on the ground with him, but no matter what happens, everyone who has seen me fight before knows; it's going to be a really exciting fight."

National Fighting Challenge Announces Two Fights for Upcoming January 26th Card

National Fighting Challenge promoter, Rob Harris, informed FCF this week about two fights that have been finalized for the promotions upcoming card, to be held at the Squamish Nation's Recreation Centre, January 26th, in Vancouver, British Columbia. In the event's main event, Adam Laporte, who has a combined pro-am record of 6-1, will take on Len Tam for the organization's 145 pound title. Tam will come into the fight with an undefeated record of 2-0.

The card's other "semi-main event" will feature 2 local favorites as Myles Merola will fight Cesar Narita. In Merola's last outing, the Surrey fighter dropped a close decision to Marcus Soares' fighter Garrett Davis. Merola has a combined record of 6-3. His opponent, Cesar Narita is a jiu-jitsu specialist, running his own BJJ School in the Lower Mainland region of British Columbia. Narita has a professional record of 5-1, and won his last fight in dramatic fashion at Elite Fighting 2 on September 29th. Narita needed only 39 seconds to submit Sean Fewer by armbar to earn the first round victory.

The January 26th event will mark the 7th installment of the National Fighting Challenge MMA event.

Canadian MMA Spring Schedule
  • KOTC / Freedom Fight January 20th, Gatineau, Quebec
  • National Fighting Challenge January 26th, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Maximum Fighting Championship February 3rd, Edmonton, Alberta
  • TKO 28 "Inevitable" February 9th, Montreal, Quebec

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Assuério and Jacaré Steal the Show
at Jungle Fight Europe

By Marcelo Alonso

The freezing night was not a problem for the nearly 5,000 fight fans that packed the Dvorana Tivoli Arena in Ljubljana (Slovênia) this Sunday to see the seventh edition of Jungle Fight -- the first held outside of the Amazon. The biggest star of the night was two-time World Jiu-Jitsu Absolute Champion Ronaldo Jacaré, who needed less than three minutes to tap out Haim Gozzali with a kata-gatame choke.

Jungle Fight Europe: Ronaldo Jacaré finishing off Haim Gozzali - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Jacaré finishing off Gozzali

In the most anticipated fight of the night, Igor Pokrajac, pupil of Mirko "Cro Cop" Filipovic, fought a great fight against the 9kg heavier Assuério Silva. Filipovic drove two hours from Zagreb to see his student do battle. In the opening seconds of the first round, Pokrajac sent the crowd into a frenzy with a perfect straight-right punch that sent the former Chute Boxer to the canvas. After recovering, Silva clinched Pokrajac and took him to the ground in both the second and third rounds. On the ground, Silva began to gain the clear advantage, reaching Pokrajac's back a couple of times and giving him a hard time with his ground-and-pound game. After three rounds Silva was declared the winner by split decision.

Jungle Fight Europe: Assuério Silva back-mounted on Igor Pokrajac - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Silva back-mounted on Pokrajac

While Filipovic's pupil did not win, his former sparring partner, Vitor Miranda, who is currently considered the top heavyweight striker from Brazil, made Cro Cop proud after hitting world kung fu champion Dany Marold with Filipovic's favorite technique, a kick to the head.

To the obvious delight of the crowd, Cro Cop was invited by the event promoter Wallid Ismail to award the trophy to Ronaldo Jacare, the winner of the main event.

Jungle Fight Europe: Ronaldo Jacare is awarded the trophy by Mirko 'Cro Cop' Filipovic with JF promoter Wallid Ismail - Photo by Marcelo Alonso
Jacare is awarded his prize by Cro Cop

Full Results

Jungle Fight 7
December 17, 2006
Dvorana Tivoli Arena - Slovênia

  • Ronaldo Jacaré def Haim Gozali - Head-and-arm choke R1
  • Assuério Silva def. Igor Pokrajac - Split decision
  • Antony Rea defeated Rodrigo Riscado - TKO (ref stoppage) R1
  • Danilo Rodaki def. Klemen Fister - Rear choke R1
  • Steven Cantewell def. Leonardo Peçanha by TKO (doctor stoppage)
  • Dalibor Anastov def. Richard Montgomery - Rear choke R1
  • Vítor Miranda def. Dany Marold - KO (head kick) R1
  • Ninic Drazenko def. Leonard Sipolex - Decision
  • Jasmin def. Jovanovic Dragan - KO (knees) R2
  • Kramberger Robert def.Srdan Knjazevic - TKO R5

  Friday - December 15, 2006
By Steven Marrocco

Amidst a whirlwind of consolidations, departures, and dissolutions, a premium cable network enters the fold of MMA promotions as Showtime Networks announced an inaugural MMA show at a press conference today in Los Angeles. EXC, or Elite Xtreme Combat, partners boxing promoter Gary Shaw and entertainment exec Douglas De Luca with Jay Dee Penn of Rumble World Entertainment as the producers of the February 10th show. For their initial foray into MMA, held in the unusual location of Mississippi, EXC beat the IFL to the punch as Renzo Gracie signed on to fight against Frank Shamrock in the evening's main event. Former UFC middleweight contender David Loiseau will also return to the cage against an unnamed opponent, while Strikeforce vet Gina Carano will fight in the sole female bout.

In addition to the talent acquisitions, EXC has signed an interesting assortment of production help, signing on former WFA CEO Jeremy Lappen, who reportedly stepped in earlier in the week as the dust from the UFC's buyout of his organization settled.

The motley duo of Mario "Dancing with the Stars" Lopez and Bill Goldberg will helm the commentary booth, while the season two "Apprentice" winner Kelly Perdew will head up the online wing of the promotion.

Despite his great success flattening Ceasar Gracie in the first Strikeforce promotion, Frank Shamrock proclaimed his true ambition was for Renzo. "He's the Gracie I've always wanted to fight," Shamrock said after his introduction. "It's always been my goal. This is our moment. I've taken a lot of chances in my career. Some of them have been good, some of them have been bad, but what you will see on February 10th is Frank Shamrock baring his soul. It's a beautiful and incredibly violent thing."

EXC Press Photo (from left to right): Renzo Gracie, Frank Shamrock, Gary Shaw - Photo by Tom Casino/EliteXC
Renzo Gracie (left) vs. Frank Shamrock

Citing an unspecified "business relationship" with Strikeforce, Shamrock stated he will fulfill his fight obligations to the San Jose promotion in addition to his new role in the EXC. The exact timeline of his next Strikeforce appearance was not given, but it is presumed that it would be after his Showtime debut.

Fellow IFL coach Gracie was similarly excited at the prospect of fighting a Shamrock. "I was afraid he would wait until I was too old to fight him," he said with a laugh. "I hope to see the guy that beat Tito Ortiz, showing an unbelievable display of power and technique."

In his description of the fight during the press conference, the colorful Gary Shaw revealed a potentially staggering rule stipulation he was trying to implement, allowing fighters only 15 seconds to work on the ground before being stood up. When asked to clarify later, Shaw and his camp amended the earlier statement, saying they would most likely adopt the Nevada State Athletic Commission's set of rules, but wanted it in place nonetheless.

Also of particular note was co-promoter Doug De Luca's stated intention of holding a World Cup of MMA with a possible Olympic bid in 5 years. "It's been an exclusive situation," De Luca said of the prevailing non-cooperation between different promotions. "We are an inclusive group, and our organization will be happy to work with other organizations and to let true champions fight other champions."

Whether a World Cup of MMA is around the corner is unknown, but on February 10th, the sport will see another well financed organization take a crack at stealing market share from the dominant UFC.

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