UFC News: Kendall Grove vs. Jason Day at UFC 96

Kendall “Da Spyder” Grove will be returning to the octagon at UFC 96 against Jason “Dooms” Day.  Grove was the winner of the Ultimate Fighter 3 and is coming off of a win against Evan Tanner.  Jason Day won his UFC debut against Alan Belcher, but then fell to Michael Bisping.   Day is coming off of an injury that forced him to withdraw from his fight against Jason Lambert at UFC 88. 

This should be a good fight on what looks to be a solid card, which will feautre Chuck Liddell.  Also on the card will be Keith Jardine, but an opponent is not yet set.  In addition we can look to see Brandon Vera return against Mike Patt and the possibility of Roger Huerta vs. Spencer FIsher on this card.

Could A New Year Bring New Faces Into the UFC?

A new year brings new possibilities.  Not to mention the fact that the UFC is being intentional in its global international expansion which could mean going hard after some of these very marketable guys.  Could we see these guys in the UFC in 2009?  Their names have been linked to the UFC recently.  Check out the possibilities.

  • Mirko Cro Cop – says he wants a farewell fight in the UFC, probably would be late in 2009.  Click here for more
  • Satoshi Ishii – is in exclusive negotiations with the UFC.  He won’t debut in the UFC, but the UFC will help with his training and development.  The 2008 Olympic Judo gold medalist will be in the UFC in some way barring a failure in his debut.  It is likely that he would be on TUF 10 which may featue heavyweights.
  • Alistair Overeem – Has been linked to negotionations with the UFC and will be at UFC 93 in Dublin, Ireland. Check it out here.
  • Jeff Monson – He may fight once more in Japan or he may come straight over to the UFC.  I know there was talk about a Monson vs. Kongo match.  He is a great grappler which would be a good add to the heavyweight division and a tough fight for Kongo.
  • Mike Russow – He is rough around the edges but he could be a good prospect
  • Bobby Lashley – His only 1-0 in MMA, but he looked impressive a la Brock Lesnar.  He just signed a 2 fight deal with PFC and if all goes well there we could see Lashley in the UFC by late 2009.  He could have a big impact and be a big crowd draw.  Knock him all you want, but he has potential and he really thinks he could hang with guys like Lesnar already.

Keep an eye on: Dave Herman and Brett Rogers

Light Heavyweights:

  • Rafael “Feijao” Cavalcante – He has made it no secret that his ultimate goal is the UFC.  How soon he gets there will depend on the future of ProElite.  It could be 2009.
  • Antwain Britt – I do not know how much thought there is to signing Britt, but he looked good in his TUF 8 fight-on fight.  He was forced off due to injury and has looked good sense.  It may be wise to lock him up.

Keep an eye on: Muhammad Lawal and Robert Drysdale

Middeliweights

  • Robbie Lawler – He is the EliteXC champ.  I would say since he is widely viewed as the number 2 middleweight in the world that he may be offered a good contract in the UFC provided EliteXC dies.
  • Joey Villasenor –  Following the collapse of EliteXC, Villasenor was one who mentioned his desire to fight in the UFC.  The status of ProElite is the barrier here.  He could end up in the UFC, but watch for Bellator and Affliction to make runs at Smokin’ Joe.
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama – Many think he is a top 10 middleweight in the world.  He could come over to the UFC since it was reported he was in negotionations with Sengoku and UFC.  Then is came out that negotionations with Sengoku broke down.  That may be a clue…or it may not
  • David Louiseau – A couple of wins since leaving the UFC and Louiseau finds himself knocking on the UFC door again.  He may be signed for the next Canada card, but he may need one more win.  Nevertheless, look for the former number 1 contender to be given another chance. 

Welterweights

  • Jake Shields – He has made no bones about it that he wants in the UFC and that he wants a fight with Georges St. Pierre.  Right now the UFC is the only place for a welterweight to go to really test themselves.  One more time ProElite is an issue here, but I am confident that eventually Shields will fight in the UFC.
  • Paul Daley – Daley said in a recent interview that he expects to be in the UFC in 2009.  He must clear his contract with ProElite first.  He is a tough English fighter who could be a good add as the UFC looks to expand worldwide.
  • Phil Baroni – He is re-invented at 170 lbs.  In a recent interview with FiveOuncesofPain Baroni said he would like to be in the UFC in 2009.  I think he could get a chance.  He may need one or two more wins though.  Baroni has said he is tired of being a “journeyman” which means he may want to fight for a US based organization.
  • T.J. Grant – He has been called the best Canadian not in a major organization.  I look for the UFC to snatch him up.  The UFc wants to push in Canada and Grant is a good prospect.  He may be signed sooner than later as the UFC will be in Canada several times in 2009.

Lightweight

  • Gilbert Melendez- He has one more fight left with Strikeforce, which should come by March.  Then I look for him to hit the free agent market.  His next fight could determine his value.  A win could make him worthwhile.  He has mentioned the UFC in several interviews as a possible home.

The UFC addes several prospects in 2008.  Look for more guys to burst onto the scene in 2009.  Some have already been signed and will make their debut in 2009 such as Denis Kang, Ronnys Torrys, Stefan Struve, Neil Grove, John Howard, etc. 

I look for about half these guys to sign in the UFC and I expect some surprises which could be dictated by the futures of Affliction and ProElite as well as the quality of TUF competitors.

Alistair Overeem in Talks With the UFC

DreamFighters.com had an interview with heavyweight fighter Alistair Overeem.  In that interview Overeem indicated that he was in negotions with the UFC as well as Affliction.  Certainly, the UFC has to be the frontrunner at this point in time for his services.   This is what Overeem had to say regarding the issue…

I am going on a holiday as I really trained hard whole 2008, beginning of February I will start training again, my management is in negotiations now, I might visit the UFC in Ireland on January 17th.  My management has been in contact with Affliction as well as the UFC

I am sure more will be learned regarding this as time goes on.  I do not know how high upthe priority list Overeem is for Dana White, but he is a solid add if they could lock him up.  I really believe he would be competitive with the top tier UFC Heavyweights in Mir, Nogueira, Lesnar, Couture, Kongo, Gonzaga, Carwin and Velasquez.  The UFC needs a little more depth at heavyweight and it appears they are striving to do so.  It is also rumored that the UFC is interested in re-signing Jeff Monson. 

Readers may note that in my list of guys the UFC may sign in 2009, Alistair was on that list.  I hope the UFC makes a good offer, but Affliction could be competitive as well.  However, could we see Overeem fight at UFC 99 in Germany? Maybe.

UFC News: Efrain Escudero vs. Jeremy Stephens at UFC Fight Night 18

The Ultimate Fighter 8 lightweight winner Efrain Escudero will make his octagon return in April according to FiveOuncesofPain.com.  The news is that he will be fighting tough UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens.  This is a tough entry into the lightweight division for Escudero who jumps right in.  A victory here would catapolt him way up into the division.  

There is some debate over what event this will take place at.  FiveOuncesofPain said it was the UFC Fight Night on April 18th, but that cannot be right as that is the date set for UFC 97.  MMAJunkie called the event UFN 19, however there is not a UFC Fight Night 18 in between.  I would assume it willbe UFN 18 unless the UFC adds a fight night in March.  Regardless, the event will surely kick off the Ultimate Fighter 9. 

Escudero was the surprise winner of TUF 8.  He beat out the guy that was widely considered to be the next “Anderson Silva” in Phillipe Nover.  He looked impressive on the reality show walking through Ido Pariente, Shane Nelson and Junie Browning. 

Jeremy Stephens is a tough opponent who has dangerous striking.  Stephens is coming off of a highlight reel KO of Rafael dos Anjos. Should be an interesting bout to watch in what will be a bout between strike and grappler.

Look for many of the other TUF 8 competitors to make it on this card as well. 

    

Shinya Aoki Is The Real Deal

Shinya Aoki was not an unknown coming into 2008, but 2008 was his year.  He exploded onto the scene during the DREAM lightweight grand prix.  Two stars emerged from that tournament: Shinya Aoki and Eddie Alvarez.  The two earned their way to the lightweight grand prix finals, but an injury forced Alvarez to withdraw.  Joachim Hansen stepped in and defeated Aoki for the DREAM lightweight title.  However, the finals bout that should have been and that everyone wanted was Aoki vs. Alvarez.  K-1 Dynamite saw that fight take place.  Most people expected Alvarez to dominate.  The bloggers and expertc figured Alvarez’s stand up, strength, size, and all around ability would be the difference. 

I hope that you have watched the video.  If not it is posted below in the previous blog entry.  I believe this fight showed us several things about Aoki.

1. He is the number 2 lightweight in the world behind B.J. Penn.  Right now there is very little debate on that.  He just beat a tough dude in Eddie Alvarez.

2. Shinya Aoki may be the craftiest MMA fighter as far as submissions go.  He sat down and crab walked to Alvarez looking for a leg to take him down.  Then he locked in that heel hook and didn’t let go.  And who can forget the “Aokiplata” he put on Nagata.  He is crafty.  If he develops his striking he may become the best. 

3. Anyone want to see Aoki in the cage against some of the best in the UFC?  How would he do against a Sean Sherk, Kenny Florian, Joe Stevenson or Gray Maynard? 

What is next for Aoki?  Time will tell, but I have a feeling he has to be considered for a shot at the DREAM lightweight belt.   A move to the U.S. could happen, which is what I am hoping for.  Here is why:  He is the number 2 lightweight in the world.  There are still several interesting matches he could have in Japan.  He could fight Gomi, a rubebr match with Hansen, or fight Kawajiri.  However, the options are limited.  He could reall become a star in the U.S.  He ought to put himself in there against some fresh meat. 

Anyways, Shinya Aoki proved he is no fluke, but he is the real deal.

Eddie Alvarez vs Shinya Aoki Fight Video

The video from the Eddie Alvarez vs. Shinya Aoki Fight at January 31st’s K-1 Dynamite card. It is well worth the watch.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Eddie Alvarez vs Shinya Aoki Fight Vi…“, posted with vodpod

 

K-1 Fields Dynamite!! Results

Quick Results:

  • Gesians Cavalcante vs. Joachim Hansen Cancelled (see below)
  • Shinya Aoki def. Eddie Alvarez by Heel Hook in Round 1 (1:32)
  • Mirko Cro Cop def. Hong Man Choi by TKO in Round 1
  • Kiyoshi Tamura def. Kazushi Sakuraba by Unanimous Decision
  • Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Katsuyori Shiabata by TKO in Round 1
  • Daisuke Nakamura def. Hideo Tokoro by Armbar in Round 1
  • Bob Sapp def. Akihito Tanaka by TKO in round 1
  • Melvin Manhoef def. Mark Hunt by TKO in round 1 (:18)
  • Semmy Schilt def. Siala “Mighty Mo” Siliga by Triangle Choke Round 1
  • Ikuhisa Minowa def. Errol Zimmerman

Notes:

  • The Joachim Hansen vs. Gesias Cavalcante bout was cancelled because of an apparent failed medical test by Joachim Hansen with a possible head injury of some type.  For more info check out Sherdog.com’s Article on The Cancellation
  • Gegard Mousasi, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Alistair Overeem all won their respective K-1 rules bouts.