Weekly Mixed Martial Arts & K-1 News Recap – 12/16/2011
By PDG Staff
Gabriel Gonzaga Returns to the UFC
Heavyweight veteran Gabriel Gonzaga will be making his long awaited return to the UFC in Brazil at UFC 142. Gonzaga’s last UFC bout was a loss to Brendan Schaub in October 2010 at UFC 121. After a short lived retirement, Gonzaga returned to the cage in October at Reality Fighting by defeating Parker Porter. Gonzaga quickly rose to fame after his highlight reel knockout of MMA legend Mirko Cro Cop. Gonzaga will face fellow Brazilian Edinaldo Oliveira who was supposed to have faced Rob Broughton.
UFC 142: Rio – Updated Card:
UFC Featherweight Championship:
Jose Aldo vs. Chad Mendes
Vitor Belfort vs. Anthony Johnson
Mike Massenzio vs. Rousimar Palhares
Carlo Prater vs. Erick Silva
Edson Barboza vs. Terry Etim
Sam Stout vs. Thiago Tavares
Mike Pyle vs. TBA
Fabio Maldonado vs. TBA
Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Ednaldo Oliveira
Felipe Arantes vs. Antonio “Pato” Carvalho
Yuri Alcantara vs. Michihiro Omigawa
Strikeforce Reaches New Agreement with Showtime
New Deal Kicks Off on Saturday, Jan. 7, 2012 with Rockhold vs. Jardine and all Strikeforce Preliminary Fights to Air Live on SHOWTIME EXTREME.
Showtime Networks Inc. and world championship mixed martial arts promotion Strikeforce have entered into a new broadcast agreement to continue producing live MMA events on the premium television network, SHOWTIME. The agreement was announced jointly by Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports, Dana White, UFC President, and Scott Coker, Strikeforce CEO.
Under the new agreement, SHOWTIME will produce and televise up to eight live events. Strikeforce athletes such as lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez, middleweight champion Luke Rockhold, women’s featherweight champion Cris “Cyborg” Santos, women’s bantamweight champion Miesha Tate and other world-class MMA fighters will continue to compete for the organization on SHOWTIME.
The new deal kicks off during the network’s Free Preview Weekend, Saturday, Jan. 7, as champion Rockhold defends the Strikeforce 185-pound title against dangerous veteran Keith Jardine at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME at 10 p.m. ET/PT. Notable Strikeforce contenders such as Robbie Lawler, “King Mo” Lawal and Tyron Woodley are also set to compete on the televised card, which—as part of Free Preview Weekend—will be available in more than 60 million households nationwide across SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME HD and SHOWTIME On Demand.
Beginning with the Jan. 7 card, SHOWTIME will also televise undercard fights for all Strikeforce events live on SHOWTIME EXTREME. The live SHO Extreme preliminary telecasts will afford network subscribers with expanded live fight coverage by up to two hours and provide invaluable exposure for the sport’s next generation of Strikeforce contenders.
Under the new deal, the World Grand Prix Heavyweight Tournament champion will be determined when Josh Barnett battles Daniel Cormier. The winner will compete again on SHOWTIME under the Strikeforce banner in the months to follow.
“Since its advent on SHOWTIME in 2007, live mixed martial arts has always performed well with our subscribers, particularly in the younger demographics,” said Espinoza, who now heads the division of the network responsible for programming live boxing, studio shows from National Football League and NASCAR as well as multiple sports documentary series. “As the one and only premium network in the MMA business, we are proud to renew our commitment to the sport and to our partners at Strikeforce. This agreement ensures that we can continue to deliver the edge-of-your-seat programming that each live MMA event produces in the New Year and beyond.
“This exciting announcement could not have come at a better time,” he continued. “During our nationwide Free Preview Weekend a whole new crop of MMA fans will have the opportunity to sample the Strikeforce brand free of charge.”
“We’re excited about this renewal with SHOWTIME and I expect to put on some big Strikeforce events next year,” White said. “I never thought I would say this, but I am very much looking forward to building Strikeforce and working very closely with SHOWTIME.”
“SHOWTIME has been a great TV partner for us and we’re happy to renew our agreement with them,” Coker said. “Together, we’ve put on some really amazing events and we’re going to keep doing that with this new deal. We have a great core of talented fighters on our roster and MMA fans are in for a real treat.”
Bellator Season 6 Bantamweight Tournament Beginning To Take Shape
After a Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament that saw Brazilian phenom Eduardo “Dudu” Dantas (@Dudantas22) secure a title shot against reigning Bellator Bantamweight Champion Zach Makovsky, eight of the world’s top 135 pounders are back for Bellator’s sixth season, eager to claim a title shot of their own. Bellator will begin its sixth season Friday, March 2 LIVE on MTV2 and in commercial-free HD on EPIX.
“Our Season 5 Bantamweight Tournament was stacked with world class talent, but this one may be ever stronger,” said Bellator Chairman & CEO Bjorn Rebney. “There is not an easy fight anywhere in this group and we have a couple of surprise announcements coming soon that will take this to the next level.”
While all eight tournament participants have yet to be announced, the field is beginning to take shape. Fresh off a finals appearance in last season’s tournament, Alexis Vila (@Alexis_Vila135) will return to the Bellator cage for another shot at a tournament championship. “The Exorcist” became a fan favorite after delivering a stunning knockout to Joe Warren at Bellator 51 and will look to provide nightmares to the competition this season.
Bellator tournament veteran, Ed “Wild” West (@EdWestMMA) is back and looking to avenge his split-decision loss to Eduardo Dantas with a long tournament run. In his last 11 fights, West has only two blemishes on an otherwise impressive record. The losses came at the hands of World Champion Makovsky and the aforementioned Dantas, and West knows winning the tournament will guarantee a rematch and a chance to pay back one of the two world-class fighters.
“I’d love to fight Dantas again,” West said. “Either guy would be fun, but I’d love to get another shot at Dantas. I’d never look past this tournament, and I know the field is going to be really tough, but that fact is certainly present, and I’m ready to get started.”
Nova Uniao product Marcos Galvao (@MarcosGalvaoMMA) will try his hand at another Bellator tournament after suffering a controversial split-decision loss to Alexis Vila at Bellator 55. Many thought Galvao, a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, controlled the pace during his fight with Vila, but the judges felt differently and “Loro” will be looking to finish his opponents during his Season six tournament run.
Two promising Brazilians will be looking to make an impression as Luis “Betao” Nogueira (@NogueiraRFT) and Rodrigo Lima (@rodrigoratinho1) have both been confirmed for the Season 6 tournament. Lima makes his Bellator debut compiling a perfect 9-0 record, including seven finishes.
Announcements on the three remaining participants will be coming shortly, as well as tournament pairings for the highly anticipated tournament.
UFC on Fuel TV Launches January 1st
FUEL TV, FOX Sports Media Group’s dynamic entertainment and sports network for males, officially kicks off the Ultimate Fighting Championship on FUEL TV January 1 with a 24-hour marathon of UFC programming featuring five show premieres. In 2012, FUEL TV telecasts more than 2,000 hours of UFC programming, with more than 100 hours of live fights, weigh-ins, preliminary bouts, and pre- and post-fight shows. In the New Year, FUEL TV offers more UFC programming than any network has ever offered.
“We’re beyond excited for the monster launch of the UFC on FUEL TV and can’t wait for the ball to drop on New Year’s so we can finally unveil all this incredible programming,” says George Greenberg, FUEL TV Executive Vice President and General Manager. “On January 1, FUEL TV becomes the number-one television destination for UFC fans. We’re going to deliver amazing live fights, FOX-style pre- and post-fight shows with expert commentary, insightful news shows with exclusive material and powerful documentaries that followers of the UFC have never seen before.”
“We’re excited that FUEL TV will become the ultimate destination for UFC programming in 2012,” says Dana White, UFC President. “We knew when we made the partnership with the FOX Sports Media Group that FUEL TV would allow us to put on more programming than every other network. If you’re a fan of the UFC, you’ve got to have FUEL TV.”
In addition to five shows premiering on January 1, FUEL TV launches “UFC Tonight,” the official news and information show of the UFC hosted by Todd Harris, on Tuesday, January 3 at 10:00 PM ET. The first Live UFC Weigh-in (UFC RIO: Aldo vs. Mendes) is Friday, January 13 at 1:00 PM ET, followed by the first Post-Fight Show on Saturday, January 14 at 1:00AM ET. FUEL TV features the first Preliminary Bouts for UFC on FX: Guillard vs. Miller on Friday, January 20 at 6:00 PM ET.
Fedor Emelianenko versus Satoshi Ishii added to DREAM NYE Card
M-1Global and DREAM officials announced that heavyweight Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko will be facing Olympic Gold Medalist in Judo Satoshi Ishii on December 31, 2011 as part of FIELDS presents FIGHT FOR JAPAN “Genkidesuka!! Oomisoka!! 2011! The event, which takes place from the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, will be broadcast in North America on HDNet.
The event marks the return of Fedor Emelianenko to Japan after a 3-year absence.
“M-1 Global in cooperation with Dream is very pleased to announce the bout which will bring the world’s attention to Japan on December 31” – said M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan, “Fedor has been in great shape, and is ready for what we think will be a hard and competitive fight.”
DREAM: Fight for Japan – Genki Desu Ka! New Year! 2011
Saitama Super Arena
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Satoshi Ishii
Shinya Aoki vs. Satoru Kitaoka – DREAM Lightweight title match
Hiroyuki Takaya vs. Takeshi “Lion” Inoue – DREAM Featherweight title match
Tatsuya Kawajiri vs. Kazuyuki Miyata
Yuichiro “Jien-Otsu” Nagashima vs. Katsunori Kikuno – Mix rule one match (1R – 3min kickboxing rules, 2R – 5min MMA rules)
Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Ryo Chonan
Kazuyuki Fujita vs. Peter Aerts – IGF one match (IGF rules)
DREAM Bantamweight Tournament:
Bibiano Fernandes vs. Rodolfo Marques Diniz – DREAM Bantamweight Tournament semi-final 1
Masakazu Imanari vs. Antonio Banuelos – DREAM Bantamweight Tournament semi-final 2
Hideo Tokoro vs. Yusup Saadulaev – DREAM Bantamweight Tournament reserve match
The UFC Returns to Australia *Updated*
The UFC brings a welterweight battle to Sydney, as “The Pitbull” Thiago Alves takes on “The Hitman” Martin Kampmann, plus the debut of the 125-lb. flyweight division as Demetrious Johnson faces Ian McCall, and Joseph Benavidez goes toe-to-toe with Yasuhiro Urushitani – Sunday, March 3 live at Allphones Arena in Sydney, Australia!
UFC 143: Diaz vs. Condit – Card Updated
Saturday, February 4, 2012
Mandalay Bay Events Center
Las Vegas, NV
UFC Welterweight Interim Title Bout:
Nick Diaz vs. Carlos Condit
Josh Koscheck vs. Mike Pierce
Roy Nelson vs. Fabricio Werdum
Dustin Poirier vs. Erik Koch
Alex Caceres vs. Edwin Figueroa
Rafael ‘Sapo’ Natal vs. Michael Kuiper
Amir Sadollah vs. Jorge Lopez
The Ultimate Fighter ‘Brazil’ – Team Belfort vs. Team Silva
The following announcement was made on UFC.com earlier this week:
Two old rivals – Vitor Belfort and Wanderlei Silva – will finally meet again, this time as coaches on the first edition of The Ultimate Fighter Brazil, which begins auditions Wednesday in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“We could not be more excited about this,” said UFC President Dana White of the show, which premieres on Globo TV on March 25, with the finale taking place in June. “I think this show is gonna be a smash hit in Brazil.”
Middleweights Belfort and Silva first met over 13 years ago at UFC Brazil on October 16, 1998. Belfort won that night via first round TKO, and the two have since gone on to great success, Belfort winning the UFC light heavyweight title and Silva winning the PRIDE middleweight crown. Now the two icons will lead their countrymen as they battle to earn a UFC contract.
“I’m just focusing on this fight,” said Belfort, who faces Anthony Johnson at UFC 142 on January 14th before meeting Silva sometime later in 2012. “But it’s a great honor to fight Wanderlei again. I see it as a new fight and not as a rematch.”
“I’ve been waiting for this for a long time,” said Silva, nearly a month removed from his stirring stoppage of Cung Le at UFC 139. “I knew one day we would face each other again, and the time is here. This is one of the biggest rematches of all MMA and I’m very happy to give this to all of my fans.”
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