Welcome back everyone! The headlines this week were not dominated by the UFC for once. In fact the news cycle was the most diverse I’ve seen in some time. Let’s dive in and wrap up the week that was in mixed martial arts.
Affliction had quite the week. First off was the huge announcement that Fedor Emelianenko will once again headline Affliction’s next card in August against a name opponent, Josh Barnett. There was a lot of posturing on the part of both men about not wanting to fight each other due to their friendship but as always, if you throw enough cash in someone’s face, they’ll beat the crap out of just about anyone.
Affliction better hope that Fedor’s last two fights have started to build a real following in the U.S. because after the hit the last show took in terms of attendance and PPV buys this next show might be sink or swim for the promotion.
However, on a more positive note, another big addition was made to the card.
It had been rumored that a fight between a resurgent Vitor Belfort and former DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi was in the works. However, due to the fact that Mousasi no longer wants to cut to 185 lbs that fight didn’t make any sense and turned out to just be conjecture.
What is real, though, is a fight with Renato Sobral.
Sobral, who recently pulled out of his title fight for Strikeforce this week, apparently will have ample time to spend with his new born to train for this fight in August. Mousasi, who is coming off his first win outside of the middleweight division against Mark Hunt in the DREAM super hulk grand prix, apparently is looking to take on stiff competition right away at light heavyweight.
This appears to be a slap in the face to Strikeforce who was looking to have Sobral defend his belt in August as well. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. Now you can understand why the UFC has exclusive contracts.
Speaking of Strikeforce there was more unfortunate news for Rafael Cavalcante this week. First he loses his title shot at Sobral but at least he was to be featured on the main card. However, this week his second opponent Jared Hamman got injured and now he will be replaced by Mike Kyle.
Apparently Strikeforce couldn’t afford to keep a low profile fight like this on the main card with so many other name fighters on the card. So Cavalcante went from getting a title shot in a co main event to being on the undercard within a matter of weeks. Hopefully Cavalcante wins and gets another shot asap.
News From Japan:
Two DREAM 10 match ups were announced this week. The first one is Shinya Aoki will move back down to lightweight after being destroyed at welterweight by Hayato Sakurai. He will take on tough Brazilian Vitor Ribeiro. This fight will not be for Aoki’s Wamma lightweight belt. This will only be Ribeiro’s second fight back after almost a two year absence from MMA.
The second DREAM 10 match up features the return of star crossed fighter Paulo Filho. Filho has battled addiction over the past couple years and was promptly cut by Zuffa once the middleweight division of the WEC was folded into the UFC. Filho will not be stepping in against a tomato can either which is somewhat surprising.
Filho will face famed Dutch striker Melvin Manhoef. This should be an interesting test for Filho who will have to be in great shape and use his full grappling tool belt to not get knocked into next week. If he comes into this fight like he did in his last two outings, it could get ugly.
Last but not least there was a big signing this week for Japanese MMA fans. Japanese national hero and 2008 heavyweight Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii signed with the World Victory Road promotion this past week. He had been flirting with the UFC for some time but ultimately decided to stay at home. No time table for his debut was announced.
Editor’s note: Ishii actually had a signed contract with Zuffa and was scheduled to make his MMA debut on season ten of The Ultimate Fighter, but Dana White released him so he could work closer to home.
Brian Bowles will finally take on Miguel Torres for his bantamweight title at WEC 42 in August.
Bowles was supposed to get his shot back in April but missed out due to an injury. Hopefully Bowles can stay healthy enough to get in the cage and see what he can do against the monster that is Miguel Torres.
This week it was announced that Rory Markham would meet TJ Grant at The Ultimate Fighter Nine finale coming up at the end of the month. This card, much like UFC 98, has had its rash of injuries. This fight will help fill out the undercard of a card that is still pretty top heavy considering they already lost the fight between Matt Brown and Anthony Johnson.
It was also made official this week after weeks of speculation that Mirko Filipovic, AKA Mirko Cro Cop, will return to the UFC. He will make his return in just a couple weeks at UFC 99 in Cologne, Germany against Mostapha Al-Turk.
The biggest news for the UFC was that they announced the coaches for the tenth season of The Ultimate Fighter. Dana White and co. couldn’t let one of the best in cage smack talk sessions go to waste so they booked Quinton Jackson and Rashad Evans as the coaches for TUF 10 which will feature heavyweights.
Of course this will keep both Evans and Jackson out of action for quite some time as they won’t meet until December to see who gets a crack at Lyoto Machida. This leaves the door wide open for someone like Forrest Griffin, Mauricio Rua, or as a dark horse Luis Cane, to step into the title picture before either of the two coaches.
That’s it for this week. Stay tuned next week as I bring you the best and latest in MMA. Until then,
Enjoy the fights!
Tags: Affliction, Anthony Johnson, Brian Bowles, Dana White, DREAM, Fedor Emelianenko, forrest griffin, Gegard Mousasi, Jared Hamman, Josh Barnett, luis cane, Lyoto Machida, Mark Hunt, Matt Brown, mauricio rua, Melvin Manhoef, miguel torres, Mike Kyle, Mirko Cro Cop, Mixed Martial Arts, Paulo Filho, Quinton Jackson, Rafael Cavalcante, Rashad Evans, Renato Sobral, Rory Markham, satoshi ishii, Shinya Aoki, Strikeforce, the ultimate fighter 10, The Ultimate Fighter Nine, TJ Grant, UFC, ufc 98, ufc 99, Vitor Belfort, Vitor Ribeiro, WEC, WEC 42, World Victory Road