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.

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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.

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.

My K-1 Fields Dyanamite!! Predictions

Joachim Hansen vs. Gesias Cavalcante

This is a re-match in which Hansen won a close deicision, but many felt Cavalcante should have won.  This is a great match up between two really good lightweights.  Most likely the winner is a consensus top 10 whereas the loser is just outside the top 10.  These guys are evenly matched, but I have to think JZ will pull out the decision here.

Shinya Aoki vs. Eddie Alvarez

This fight is for the WAMMA lightweight title.  That is dumb because neither guy is the number 1 lightweight in the world.  The number 1 guys is B.J. Penn.  Aoki is my #3 and Alvarez is my #2.  This is the fight that should have been the DREAM lightweight grand prix final.  Aoki has incredible submission skills, but Alvarez has great striking and is very strong.  I think Alvarez will be too strong for Aoki and will win by TKO in round 1.

Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Kiyoshi Tamura

For old times sake.  Sakuraba by decision.

Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic vs. Hong Man Choi

Hong Man Choi is 7 foot tall plus some.  That will be a problem for Cro Cop.  Can his head kick reach Choi?  The body kicks will do just fine.  I think Cro Cop wins this fight in round 1 by TKO and we will see him back in the UFC. 

Mark Hunt vs. Melvin Manhoef

Manhoef takes this fight on one days notice replacing Jerome LeBanner who caught the flu.  Manhoef has had a wild year.  He has retired and come out of retirement.  Now he fights a much heavier Mark Hunt.  I think Manhoef has good enough striking to still win this fight.  It will be tough for him though.

Hayato “Mach” Sakurai vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Semmy Schilt vs. Mighty Mo Silaga

Daisuke Nakamura vs. Hideo Tokoro

Some interesting bouts under K-1 rules featuring Alistair Overeem, Gegard Mousasi, and Tatsuya Kawajiri

Who Will Sign With the UFC in 2009?

  • I am pretty sure these guys are on the UFC’s radar.  Obviously these guys could get into the UFC and have a career there.  They would all be good adds.  Some of the UFC future signings depends on things like the future of ProElite and Affliction. 

Jeff Monson

 

Nickname

Snowman

Weight class

Heavyweight

MMA Record

27-8

Ranking

Credentials

·          UFC veteran

·          World class grappler

Mike Russow

 

Nickname

Weight class

Heavyweight

MMA Record

11-1

Ranking

Credentials

·          Solid heavyweight prospect

Alistair Overeem

 

Nickname

Demolition Man

Weightclass

Heavyweight

MMA Record

29-11

Ranking

Credentials

·          Good name recognition

·          Good all around fighter

Mirko Filipovic

 

Nickname

Cro Cop

Weightclass

Heavyweight

MMA Record

23-6-2

Ranking

Credentials

·          A legend in the sport

·          Huge popularity (would be great for the Germany card)

·          Great striking ability

Rafael Cavalcante

 

Nickname

Feijao

Weight class

Light Heavyweight

MMA Record

7-1

Ranking

Credentials

·          One of the best light heavyweight prospects

·          Trains with Anderson Silva and Nogueiras

Antwain Britt

 

Nickname

The Juggernaut

Weight class

Light Heavyweight

MMA Record

Ranking

Credentials

·          TUF 8 cast member who won his way into the house, but an injury forced him out

 

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

Nickname

Weightclass

Middleweight

MMA Record

12-1

Ranking

Credentials

·          Top ten middleweight in the world

·          Huge Japanese fan base

David Lousieau

 

Nickname

The Crow

Weightclass

Middleweight

MMA Record

16-8

Ranking

Credentials

·          A solid Canadian fighter

·          Trains with St.Pierre and Cote

·          UFC vet and former number 1 contender

Joey Villasenor

 

Nickname

Smokin’

Weightclass

Middleweight

MMA Record

26-6

Ranking

Credentials

·          Has fought everywhere

·          Can hang with the best middleweights in the world

Jake Sheilds

 

Nickname

Weightclass

Welterweight

MMA Record

22-4-1

Ranking

Credentials

·          EliteXC Welterweight Champ

·          11 fight win streak

·          Great Jiu Jitsu Skills

·          A Top 5 welterweight

T.J. Grant

 

Nickname

Weightclass

Welterweight

MMA Record

13-2

Ranking

·          The best Canadian fighter not signed to a major promotion

·          A great prospect

Credentials

Gilbert Melendez

 

Nickname

Weightclass

Lightweight

MMA Record

Ranking

Credentials

·          A top tier lightweight

·          Would challenge for title right away

Mirko Cro Cop vs. Alistair Overeem Re-March at K-1 Dynamite

On September 26th Heavyweights Mirko Cro Cop and Alistair Overeem colided at DREAM 6 in a much anticipated bout.  There was a lot of words said before the fight which hyped the bout even more.  In the fight Overeem seemed to dominate Cro Cop, and then landed a couple of blows to the groin which caused Cro Cop not to be able to continue due to his testicles be pushed into his body!  I know, ouch!.  The fight was ruled a no contest.

    Cro Cop wants revenge this time and it looks like he will get it at the K-1 Dynamite show on New Year’s Eve according to a report from MMAJunkie The event takes place at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.  It should be an interesting bout between an angry Cro Cop who wants revenge against a talented fighter in Overeem.

MMABlog’s Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Below I posted my heavyweight rankings.  My other rankings will be posted today as well.  Certainly the rankings could change a litte bit following UFC 90.  I’d love to hear your debate and arguments as these rankings are somewhat subjective.

 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Arlovski (#4) 1/24

2

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Mir (#11), 12/27

3

Randy Couture

UFC

Lesnar (#16), 11/15

4

Andrei Arlovski

Affliction

Emelianenko (#1) 1/24

5

Josh Barnett

Affliction

1/24

6

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Do Santos (NR), 10/25

7

Gabriel Gonzaga

UFC

Hendricks (NR), 11/15

8

Tim Sylvia

Afliction

 

9

Alistair Overeem

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

10

Cheick Kongo

UFC

Al Turk (NR), 12/27

11

Frank Mir

UFC

Nogueira (#2) , 12/27

12

Ben Rothwell

Affliction

 

13

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

 

14

Mirko Cro Cop

DREAM

 

15

Sergei Kharitonov

DREAM

 

16

Brock Lesnar

UFC

Couture (#3), 11/15

17

Roy Nelson

Affliction

 

18

Cain Velasquez

UFC

 

19

Antonio Silva

EliteXC?

 

20

Shane Carwin

UFC

 

21

Heath Herring

UFC

 

22

Dave Herman

EliteXC?

 

23

Pedro Rizzo

Affliction?

 

24

Brett Rogers

EliteXC?

 

25

Ricco Rodriquez

EliteXC?