UFC 137 has arrived, so of course MMA DieHards.com had to do another session of Counterpunch.
UFC 137 takes place Saturday, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The card consists of a main event between B.J. Penn and former Strikeforce welterweight champion Nick Diaz. The co-main event features a heavyweight battle between Matt Mitrione and Chieck Kongo, plus Brandon Vera and Jeff Curran both make their return to the Octagon.
MMADieHards.com put together a team of our finest writers to bring you Counterpunch for the event. The group independently makes its selections for each fight. Minority picks will be defended by one of the panelists making that selection.
Joining us this week will be Joe Rizzo, Aidan O’Connor, Robert G. Reynolds, Jason Kelly, and newcomer to Counterpunch and host of MMA Beatdown on the MMA DieHards Radio Network, Mike Fester.
Vera was a unanimous selection and therefore will not be defended.
Below we list the match, the fighter being defended and the author of the defense.
B.J. Penn vs. Nick Diaz
Defending Penn: Mike Fester
I must say, the fact that anyone was called upon to “defend” BJ Penn came as quite a shock to me. I can understand people thinking that Nick Diaz does pose a very valid threat to “The Prodigy,” but in my honest opinion, picking him to actually win seems like an exercise in futility.
Let me first say this: I am a big fan of Nick Diaz. I think the intensity he brings into the cage is second to none and I am a huge fan of the way he approaches all of his fights. That being said, for the last few years he’s made a career out of beating up guys that couldn’t “cut it” in the UFC. To go back and find an opponent of Diaz’s that has been a contender for a UFC title at some point in their career (Not counting a 36 year old Frank Shamrock) you would have to go back almost six years. A fight he lost to Sean Sherk.
Speaking of Sean Sherk, He was amongst the trail of bodies BJ Penn left in his wake as he tore through what is widely considered to be the most talent rich division in any MMA promotion on the planet. As a matter of fact, the only people that have ever beat BJ have been or have gone on to be UFC champions at some point. And like it or not, UFC HAS THE BEST FIGHTERS IN THE WORLD. BJ Penn has been to the top of two weight divisions in the UFC in the time it’s taken Nick Diaz to make it to the top of one division in a promotion with significantly inferior competition.
Believe me, this isn’t an exercise in MMA math. I don’t believe in the whole “he beat this guy so he should be this guy” way of thinking. What I do believe is that BJ Penn has fought the best fighters in the world his entire career. Nick Diaz hasn’t. Plain and simple. Don’t get me wrong, I think Nick is a talented kid. But I do feel BJ is on another level and I’m fairly certain this fight is going to be one wake up “call” that Nick Diaz will wish he had skipped.
Defending Kongo: Joe Rizzo
Defending Filipovic: Robert Reynolds
Contrary to what people may think Mikro “Cro Cop” Filipović is still a fighter to be feared in any fight venue combat sports world has to offer.
Okay, that may be pushing it, but coming from being the Pride Grand Prix Open-Weight Champion to UFC heavyweight contender, Cro Cop still has the ability to knock someone out with the twist of a hip.
Coming into his bout on Saturday against TUF: Heavyweights, Roy Nelson, both Filipović and Nelson will be flirting with the UFC’s proverbial three-fight losing streak axing.
The exceptional take-down defence of Cro Cop will prove to be the deciding factor, keeping the fight on their feet to employ the punishment of his stand up skills. Nelson will become fatigued quickly making anything he does predictable and slow.
Expect a second round referee stoppage due to strikes from the Croatian southpaw.
Scott Jorgensen vs. Jeff Curran
Defending Curran: Jason Kelly
Curran was widely considered one of the best mixed martial artists not signed to the UFC, therefore I do not expect him to fail in his return to the big show.
Curran has a strong jiu-jitsu base with crisp, technical boxing and I believe this will be an issue for Jorgensen and his wrestling. Jorgensen tends to throw caution to the wind during his fights, but against Curran it could prove dangerous seeing as he holds 19 submission victories on his 33-13 record. Curran should control this fight for the most part and dictate the pace to a unanimous decision victory.
I see Curran taking this bout 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards.
Hatsu Hioki vs. George Roop
Defending Roop: Mike Fester
To quote the great George W. Bush, “Fool me once,…Shame on…You? Fool me, You can’t get fooled again.”
As mindless as that quote may seem, It’s exactly how I feel whenever a highly touted prospect from the Japanese MMA scene is getting ready to make their debut in the UFC. I’ve lost track of the amount of Takanori Gomi’s that have come into the UFC, highly decorated in their respective promotions, that manage to accomplish next to nothing in their first few fights stateside.
And while I do think George Roop is very talented, has incredible hands and seems like he’s finally settling into being a full time featherweight, my pick in this fight has more to do with almost expecting to be disappointed by yet another JMMA fighter who is simply not on the level of the guys that have been fighting in the biggest promotions in the world for the past few years. Couple that with the added intensity Roop will surely feel due to the untimely passing of his coach Shawn Tompkins, I think it will be a very early night for Mr. Hatsu Hioki.
Dennis Siver vs. Donald Cerrone
Defending Siver: Joe Rizzo
Defending Griffin: Robert Reynolds
Spending the last five years with the UFC, Tyson Griffin has compiled and 8-5 record. But more impressively, Griffin has been privy to five “Fight of the Night” honors as well as “Fight of the Year” at UFC 72 against Clay Guida.
However, losing three of his last four has raised speculation if Griffin was still able to hang with the overpowering lightweight division. With the featherweights making their way into the UFC, Griffin is now able to drop down to his original fight weight of 145lbs, which he has not seen since 2006.
Griffin is also 9-0 as a featherweight, taking his last fight over Manvel Gamburyan by majority decision.
While Griffin’s opponent, Bart Palaszewski, has had a long lasting relationship with the WEC, this is going to be his inaugural performance with the UFC. Ring rust may also be a major factor for the newcomer due to lack of performance for almost a year, which was a loss to Kamal Shalorus at WEC 53.
Both fighters have the stamina to go the distance, but Griffin will out-perform Palaszewski to take it via unanimous decision.
Ramsey Nijem vs. Danny Downes
Defending Nijem: Robert Reynolds
Ultimate Fighter finalist, Ramsey Nijem is looking at his second fight with the UFC against WEC veteran Danny Downes.
Both, Nijem and Downes made their premier appearance on The Ultimate Fighter 13: Finale in losing fashion.
The one part of the fight game that Downes has struggled with is the ground game and wrestling, one of which Nijem happens to be proficient in. Nijem is a NCAA D1 wrestler, which may pose to be a major problem for Downes.
Nijem is not going to want to stand with Downes, so expect to see an early takedown and a rear naked choke submission victory for Nijem in the first round.
Defending Carmont: Robert Reynolds
Hailing from Paris, France, Francis Carmont has found a home training with UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre out of the Tristar Gym in Montreal, Canada.
In his inaugural fight with the UFC, Carmont has developed a 16-7 record over the last seven years and has finished last five fights before the third round.
Opponent, Chris Camozzi, who recently stepped away from the UFC after a loss to Kyle Noke for a brawl with the Shark Fights organization, is not going handle the high action beating that Carmont is going to put down.
Fights against Carmont do not last long and neither will Camozzi. Carmont is going to finish the fight via second third submission.
Dustin Jacoby vs. Clifford Starks
Defending Jacoby: Aidan O’Connor
With both Jacoby and Starks making their debuts with MMA’s premier organization at UFC 137, neither possesses a home-field advantage when it comes to entering the Octagon. There isn’t much to distinguish the two in the way of conditioning either, Jacoby has fought five times in 2011 already, whilst Starks has made four outings of his own.
Looking at other ways to break down the fight, Starks has a case for competing against more elite competition coming into the UFC, having fought in notable regional promotions King of the Cage and Shark Fights. However it is the physical attributes that swing in the favour of Jacoby. His 6’4” frame significantly overwhelms Starks, who stands at 5’10”, and Jacoby has used his impressive height and reach to finish all six of his professional fights – five by TKO, 1 by submission. Jacoby has looked particularly effective at using his range, head movement and long legs in stand-up exchanges in bouts under the Capital City Cage Wars banner. Men of such height as Jacoby are rare to come by at middleweight and it is unclear whether Starks has faced such a test of stature so far in his relatively young fighting career.
It’s been a good year for Bellator. Just ask the company’s CEO, Bjorn Rebney.
Bellator 1 took place on April 3, 2009 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla. Since then, the promotion has cultivated into a premier mixed martial arts outfit. Instead of attempting to mimic the UFC out of the gate, Bellator created a tournament format and aired on television.
Starting off on ESPN Deportes and then moving to Fox Sports, NBC and Telemundo, and currently on MTV2 and Epix, Bellator has continually taken steps forward in its cable television endeavors.
Then they made a giant leap.
Bellator this week sold a majority share to entertainment mogul Viacom, the parents company of MTV Networks, and Rebney discussed the details with MMADieHards.com.
“We were in a great position about a year ago when we partnered with MTV2, and we have been talking about this for a long time,” Rebney explained. “We’ve been working through it and trying to get everything in place and announce it. It’s a great situation for the future of Bellator and an awesome situation for mixed martial arts. It’s an all-around good situation. If you love mixed martial arts, this is a good thing.”
Viacom has some of the largest entertainment brands as a part of its portfolio. In addition to MTV, the company owns brands such as Paramount Pictures, Spike TV, Comedy Central, and Nickelodeon, among others. Its reach is world wide, and Rebney finds the benefits both domestically and internationally.
“Domestically we will benefit enormously with Spike TV,” Rebney said. “Viacom is in 600 million homes across the world, so internationally we will benefit enormously. Hopefully we can continue to put on quality programming that makes people want to come to MTV2 or to Spike and tune in. This will be a great relationship for years to come.”
Unlike the majority of aspiring and upstart MMA promotions that attempt pay-per-view shows, Rebney realizes the importance of a cable network deal. He admitted that pay-per-view may be in Bellator’s future, but establishing themselves and building their brand comes is first. Bellator preliminary bouts are aired on Spike.com, however, in about a year’s time the promotion’s main cards will run on Spike TV.
Rebney believes PPV is an avenue that has been proven to succeed with the sport.
“To enjoy success in pay-per-views you have to have a very prolific cable television partner to fuel that success,” Rebney explained. “Nobody reaches pay-per-view success without having a vested, devoted television partner who continually promotes their promotion. One of the things that excites me about this deal is that people from Viacom will now sit at the table with me and discuss building the brand. That tells me they’re tremendously invested.
“We saw what Spike did for the UFC, so following the people who basically wrote the book on how to promote mixed martial arts on television is a great thing. When you think mixed martial arts on cable in the United States, you think Spike.”
Another thing beneficial to the ownership of Bellator by Viacom is the people on the board.
Rebney, who remains CEO as part of the sale, has a new group of experienced minds that he can speak with as the company moves forward. Having people around that genuinely care about the success of Bellator is vital to Rebney, and he is looking forward to the vast improvements in the future.
“I can now turn to the people at Viacom for their insight, their contacts, their creative ideas and their opinions as a true business partner,” Rebney said. “To have a group like Viacom, SpikeTV and MTV2 in that capacity is awesome.”
With all the success Belator has endured in the past 12 months, Rebney sums it up as good.
“It’s been a good day, a good week,” he said, “and actually a good 2011.”
Jeff Curran is back in the big show and he’s bringing the family along.
Curran (Twitter: @BigFrogBJJ), owner of Curran BJJ, is returning to the Ultimate Fighting Championship to square off against Scott Jorgensen at UFC 137 this Saturday, at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Curran experienced a single bout under the UFC banner and suffered a decision loss against Matt Serra at UFC 46 in January 2004.
Since then, Curran has competed in the WEC, Pride, Strikeforce, the IFL, KOTC and just about any organization that can be thought of. The Illinois native has also claimed a reputation as one of the best fighters to not be signed to the UFC.
Now that Curran has returned to the Octagon, he is picking up where he left off under the Zuffa umbrella.
“They said they’re going to bring me back where I left off, and where I left off was being a top contender in the WEC,” Curran told MMADieHards.com. “I wouldn’t want it any other way. I want to fight the best in the world and they know that. I’m not looking for fights to build me up. I feel I have done that in my career. It’s time to put up or shut up.”
Curran is elated to return to the world’s premier MMA organization.
As a mixed martial artist, or athlete of any sport, the dream is to be on the big stage. No combatant ever wrapped their wrists with aspirations of making it to the regional show. For any fighter that admits their plan is not to make it to the UFC, Curran sums it up as an opportunity that has not yet been granted.
“This is the ultimate goal, and anybody who says this isn’t their goal is probably not in a position where anything is even close to happening to achieve that goal,” Curran stated. “Aside from the stacked divisions, it’s the organization that exposes the fighter the most.”
Curran’s preparations for Jorgensen took place at his own Curran Martial Arts Academy. Aside from his regular team that consists of cousin and Bellator standout Pat Curran, Jens Pulver, Bart Palaszewski and Mackens Semerzier, among others, Waylon Lowe was also brought in periodically.
Jeff Curran utilized the formidable training partners heading into UFC 137, but he fells that it is not about domination, but instead having an edge.
“I don’t think anybody dominates anybody at these levels,” Curran explained. “I believe you can have an edge in certain areas. I think he’s got an edge in certain areas, and I have an edge in certain areas, jiu-jitsu being mine and wrestling being his. As far as standup goes he’s more of a high output type of guy and he likes to apply the pressure. I’m more of a boxer.
“I don’t want to say I can dominate here or there. I just keep my mouth shut and let my fighting do the talking.”
Curran managed to operate his gym while preparing for his bout, but is intending to make some changes for the better at his academy.
“I have a plan to downsize my responsibilities,” Curran explained. “(I want) to get a gym with a better layout that fits me better and fits the school better. It’s all positive stuff to move in the direction of building a solid fight team and allow me to instruct my regular classes.
“It’s a lot of good things that allow me to focus on building the next big guy. We got a few up-and-comers that are going to be killers, so I’m looking forward to being able to put those guys through the ringer a lot more.”
As a 13-year-veteran of the sport, Curran has amassed a slew of sponsors over the years. Currently sporting logos that consist of Clinch Gear, Alienware Gaming Systems, Battleware Technology, Blue Grace Logistics and SuckerPunch Entertainment, Curran has added another sponsor for his upcoming bout.
“I got my uncle’s carpet store I grew up working for sponsoring me,” Curran explained. “Kenny’s Floor Covering. My uncle Ken is going to sponsor me and have a huge UFC party. It’s cool to just give back to the family that taught me about work ethic and all that kind of stuff.”
A victory at UFC 137 will be credited to the entire Curran family, not just Jeff.
Eliot Marshall knows first-hand the sting of being cut from the UFC roster and having to fight your way back.
Marshall meets Brandon Vera at UFC 137 on Saturday at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. This will be Vera’s return to the UFC after a strange occurrence of events following a bout against Thiago Silva found “The Truth” released from the organization, but then reinstated without competing outside the promotion.
That’s not the way it went for Marshall.
After losing to Vladimir Matyushenko at the UFC Live on Versus in which Vera was battered by Jon Jones on March 21, 2010, Marshall was served with walking papers and had to string together three consecutive victories to get back to the big show.
“He didn’t have to work his way back,” Marshall told MMA DieHards.com. “He didn’t have to go win any tough fights somewhere else. I did, I know what it’s like. He doesn’t.”
Marshall understands that Vera will more than likely be eager to get this victory after encountering the threat of being released from the UFC. But what Vera does is out of Marshall’s hands.
“I’m prepared for the best Brandon Vera,” Marshall said. “If the best Brandon Vera shows up I’ll be prepared. If the best Brandon Vera doesn’t show up, I’ll be prepared. Whether he is hungrier or not, I can’t help that. You can’t control what somebody else is going to do, so I just have to focus on myself.”
Focusing on himself took Marshall all over the place during preparations for this bout.
Marshall has been a member of the Grudge Training Center in Denver since prior to his stint on the eighth season of The Ultimate Fighter. He trains under the tutelage of Trevor Wittman, and alongside the likes of Justin Wren and Gerald Harris.
However, Marshall got a few new looks heading into this fight.
“I’ve had a great camp,” Marshall said. “I was everywhere. I was at Grudge, I was in Albuquerque. (James) McSweeney was down here, so I trained at his gym a little bit. It was just some sparring to get ready, you know, just some Thai boxing.”
Just over five years into his MMA career, Marshall admitted that fighting Vera puts him on par with where he should be professionally.
“I want to fight tough fights and he’s a tough fighter,” Marshall admitted. ”I don’t want easy fights, I want to fight the best people I possibly can at this point. I’m past that point in my career. I like to have tough fights where we go in and really do it, and win or lose I can get on with my life.
“I agree with Chael (Sonnen) in that sense, that if I can’t be up there with the best then I’ll just walk away.”
Fortunately for Marshall, he has surrounded himself with the proper people to ensure he achieves success. They look out for his best interests and Marshall admitted that he could not have prepared for Vera without them.
“This was a team effort,” Marshall confessed. “I have to thank my coaches, my training partners, my wife, my family, and everybody that helped me get ready for this fight. It was a total team effort from everybody involved.”
Mark Munoz is stuck in the middle and professionalism is the only way out.
Munoz (Twitter: @mark_munoz) was a guest on MMA Beatdown on the MMA DieHards Radio Network and he commented on the recent activity between Brendan Schaub and Fabricio Werdum, two mixed martial artists that train at Munoz’s gym, Reign MMA in Lake Forest, Calif.
“It’s weird, because Brendan Schaub, I met him in New Orleans and we talked about him coming to Reign’s and him making it his home gym.,” Munoz said of the UFC heavyweight.
“Fabricio Werdum has been training here, but he also trains at Kings MMA. It’s kind of hard because, when there’s high-level guys training together and they’re the same weight class, chances are they might fight. Jason “Mayhem” Miller trains at my gym and he’s a very good friend of mine, (and) there’s a chance we might fight. Being professionals, we know that there’s a chance.”
Munoz stated that he did not hide the fact from Schaub that he would be training with a potential opponent from Strikeforce if he decided to join Reign MMA.
“I was forthcoming in telling Brendan Schaub that Fabricio Werdum is training over here, and he knew full-well that (Werdum) was training there. I just heard about them calling each other out, its news to me, so I would rather not have it happen, but if it has to happen they just got to be professional about it.”
danawhite Dana White
I just land in NYC and what do I always say!? I have to deal with bad sh*t everyday!! GSP is out with an injury!!! #oneofthosedays
GeorgesStPierre Georges St-Pierre
Went straight from Tristar to the doctor this afternoon, very frustrated. Can’t wait to get back at it. Tks for all the support, means a lot
danawhite Dana White
It’s GSP’S knee. We will sit Carlos to wait for GSP. It’s looking so far like he could be ready in a couple months. Still early to tell tho
JoeLauzon Joe Lauzon
Tough decisions: Wait in bed under blanket for spring… or, get up and put the heat on. Dammit.
Steven Seagal Is a Munster? tmz.com/2011/10/23/ste…
kurtpellegrino kurt pellegrino
Walk up to a girl tell her what kind of drink u want when she ask who R u tell her “I’m the f*cking man & u R 1 lucky girl” #KurtPickUpLine
tikighosn Tiki Ghosn
RamseyNijem Ramsey Nijem
None of my clothes fit me, I’m going to have to buy a wardrobe for when I’m making weight, or become more of a G…. #wewillsee
jamievarner Jamie Varner
Ok so it’s getting late need to get my hair braided
AMAFightClub Mike Constantino
@jamievarner r u drinking?
mayhemmiller Jason Mayhem Miller
@Rampage4real your gym is close enough to my house to throw a rock and hit it. Bisping train there? I have a lot of rocks at my house.
@mayhemmiller thanks 4 coming,D is gonna b a big boy,ill see ya after yo fight,take care,don’t train 2 hard! Hahaha jk don’t throw rocks
MaximumFighting Mark Pavelich
Majority of MMA fighters can’t Box. They have really poor Boxing skills. I figure your wearing a 4 oz glove in MMA you might want 2 learn.
mattmitrione Matt Mitrione
well @MiguelTorresMMA I just smashed beets and apple juice. I miss u
JimMiller_155 Jim Miller
It has been a great week so far. Anything special in your world this week? #fans
GeorgeRoop George Roop
@JimMiller_155 I kinda have a UFC fight next week. Does that count?!
ZachFunSize Zachary Makovsky
Think when I’m done fighting I’m gonna follow @Almeidabjj and start judging mma…
bensaundersMMA Ben Saunders
Heading to the Academy to meet up with my coach… Only hard work will make my fortune cookie a reality… Lol
Scottjorgensen Scott jorgensen
That’s a wrap! Camp is done!!!
danawhite Dana White
I’m hearing UFC dropped the ball on the Nick Diaz no show today!! SUCKS
“Anderson just feels that he doesn’t deserve it yet. He doesn’t deserve it yet. … A lot of people are interested in the fight. It’s a big fight. Anderson’s not ducking him. Anderson, right now, is focused on recouping his shoulder, and basically he’s going through physical therapy on that just to get that back 100 percent. … if Dana wants to put the fight on again, we’ll cross that bridge when it comes.
“I’ve been hearing a bunch of different people. Let someone try that hasn’t fought for the belt yet. Why do we have to keep repeating these fighters? We fought Rich Franklin twice. We’ll probably end up having to fight Chael twice. We’re going to end up fighting probably Dan Henderson twice. It’s just like, it would be nice to see some new faces in there getting a crack at it.”
- Ed Soares explained to Sherdog why Chael Sonnen shouldn’t get a second shot at Anderson Silva’s title.
“That was a spur of the moment type of thing. I’m trying to pick a fight with this guy. This is the most confusing thing I’ve ever been part of in this sport. You’ve got an alleged champion letting me talk to him that way while he sits fifteen feet away … with his head down. You’ve got a guy like me sticking his finger in his chest day after day, hour after hour, and he can’t say a word. The one time he finally speaks up is to say ‘I don’t want the rematch. I don’t want to fight you.’ I don’t understand how we can call this guy champion.
“That offer was good when I made it, but it’s like any offer, you know, they’ve got to expire. Apparently, that didn’t work. I’m doing anything I can to lure him out, and yes, I would have absolutely done that. I’d have done a winner-takes-all, I’d have done any stipulation he wanted. All he needed to do was stand up and give me a thumbs up. He wanted to accept that offer, all he needed to do was nod to me, or have one of his handlers come into the back and says ‘Anderson accepts.’ He did the exact opposite. He went to the media and said ‘I do not want to fight that guy.’ So what can I do? Now I have to come up with a new offer.”
- Sonnen was a guest on the Jim Rome Show and he spoke of Silva and the possibility of luring the champ into a rematch.
“My training partners believe I belong there, and most of them are in the UFC. My coaches believe I belong in there and they’re really pushing for me. I feel I’m ready to get in there and compete against those guys. There have even been instances where UFC guys call me to help them prepare for their fights. If I’m good enough to help them get ready for their fight, that’s an indicator right there.”
- Justin Salas expressed his desire to fight in the UFC to MMA DieHards.
“I’m very confident. It’s going to be a knockout victory in the first round. He’s not going to get out of the first round. It will not come to the second round. He’s a strong guy, a very dangerous guy. But I think I’ve got what it takes to stop him. And I got what it takes to stop him in the first round.”
- Alistair Overeem gave a prediction on the outcome of his upcoming fight against Brock Lesnar to FightStar TV.
“Honestly, I think Brock will win pretty easily.
“I think we’re going to see the closest thing to a grappler versus striker match you’ll see nowadays. Brock is going to cover up; maybe throw one jab. He’ll rush Overeem to the cage, reach down for a leg and rip him down.
“I don’t think he’s going to get off his back. I’d be very shocked — I’d applaud Overeem if he got off his back.”
- Frank Mir gave his prediction on the outcome of Lesnar vs. Overeem to ESPN.
“I’m kind of disappointed with this stuff, fighting and not getting paid… I don’t want people comforting me, I just want what is mine. That’s the third time I fight and not get paid. I was threatened of death by people I own here in Niteroi.”
- Paulo Filho spoke to Tatame about the future of his career.
“The recovery, I want to do it well, I don’t want to do it too fast. Because now I had an injury and I tried to train on it and maybe made it a little bit worse. I need a good four weeks to do my physio and do it right.
“I would say maybe end of January, possibly the beginning of February (for my return) … Super Bowl, around this time.”
- Georges St-Pierre detailed his rehabilitation to Sportsnet.
“Oh, shut the [expletive] up. I’m pretty disappointed, man. That’s, wow. Just disappointed, that’s all I can say. But I gotta go, brother.”
- Carlos Condit said to mmajunkie when he found out St-Pierre pulled out of their UFC 137 main event.
“It’ll be a very difficult fight for us to do. It will have to be worth it to us financially. We share the same coaches and the same management team. We’d have to address this as a group, with [manager] Bob Cook, Javier. I don’t want to be just a good fighter. I want to be the best in the world. I could be in line for a championship but if it came down to us, I’d much rather go to 205. That would eliminate a lot of things. We have a great thing going at AKA, to avoid a lot of negatives, to avoid people having to choose sides, I’d rather move to 205, maybe beat someone, and then face Jon Jones. I’d have to have that fight instead of Cain.”
- Daniel Cormier explained to Yahoo! that he would drop a weight class to avoid fighting teammate Cain Velasquez.
“I want to be compensated accordingly and that’s it. I’m more than willing to do a five-round fight. If Dana wants a five-round fight, just give me a call and we can put it together right now.
“Or if Cesar wants to make it a five-round fight and he wants to compensate me personally, he can put his money where his mouth is, it’s that easy. I’ve been training to fight. I’m ready to fight.”
- B.J. Penn spoke to MMA Weekly about the possibility of a five round fight against Nick Diaz.
“I didn’t even know about a call. I woke up, my phone was dead and my brother told me that I was supposed to be on the call. I didn’t get any notice. I didn’t hear anything about it until about fifteen minutes ago.
“When should I have known about this press conference? Somebody should have gave me a call. I don’t know who’s talking to who. I didn’t hear about it. Just like anything, I don’t hear about this (expletive) until way late. I’m not sitting here on my thumbs waiting for a call, I’m waiting for training. I’m training hard, harder than these guys and that’s why. That’s what takes up all my time, training, becoming the best in the world.”
- Diaz explained why he was late for the UFC 137 conference call on the UFC conference call.
“I don’t know who my next opponent is, but I’m going for that title shot, that title shot run, so anybody who’s a top five guy, I’m ready for them. Joe Lauzon beat Melvin Guillard, I think that would be a great fight for me.”
- Anthony Pettis told Cage Fanatic he would like to fight Joe Lauzon next.
“I think it would be an exciting fight. It doesn’t matter to me who I fight. Whoever the UFC says they want me to fight, I’ll fight. If they want it to be Anthony Pettis, I’ll fight Pettis. It doesn’t really matter to me that much. I’m up for whoever.”
- Lauzon told the Boston Herald he would accept Pettis’ challenge.
Marcos Galvao is chasing a dream.
Galvao is competing as a semifinalist in the Bellator Season 5 bantamweight tournament against Alexis Vila on Saturday at Cocopah Resort and Casino in Yuma, Ariz. “Loro” defeated Chase Beebe via split decision in the quarterfinals on Sept. 24 at Bellator 55 and has since been preparing for Vila. The Brazilian admitted that his training camp has been nothing short of excellent.
“By far the best camp I’ve ever had and the most focused I’ve been for a fight,” Galvao told MMADieHards.com. “I’ve added a nutritionist Dr. Mike Roussel and a soft tissue expert Dominique Hall. I’ve been doing my strength and conditioning at Peak Performance NYC with head coach Joe Dowdell and assistant coaches Dan Trink and Kris Kennedy. My wrestling coach is Rob Sulaver, a former Division I standout at University of Michigan. My striking coach is Victor Podgorvunsky, a former Russian spetzna and national sambo champion. In addition I’ve continued my BJJ and MMA with Vitor Shaolin and some of the fighters at his academy.”
A solid training camp is a necessity for Galvao to get passed the undefeated Vila.
Vila has seven KO/TKO finishes on his 10-0 record, as well as two submissions. The Cuban trains at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., alongside Bellator middleweight champion Hector Lombard, among others. Galvao, on the other hand, is a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black-belt fighting out of Nova União. Galvao is aware of the threats Vila imposes, but doesn’t view this as a striker vs. grappler match.
“I’ve watched a few of his fights and know of his credentials,” Galvao admitted. “He’s definitely a tough opponent but I feel prepared for this fight. I’m comfortable and confident wherever this fight goes.”
Prior to Galvao defeating Beebe, he lost a controversial decision to Bellator featherweight champion Joe Warren at a catch-weight bout of 137 pounds at Bellator 41. The judges’ decision was so outlandish that even Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney still offered Galvao a slot in the current bantamweight tournament.
Ironically, Warren suffered his first defeat under the Bellator banner when he was knocked out by Vila, a former Olympic wrestler, in the semifinals of the Season 5 tournament.
One might think that perhaps getting past Vila, who just dismissed Warren from the tourney, would be like killing two birds with one stone for Galvao. Oddly enough, that idea has not crossed Galvao’s mind.
“That fight is in the past and I’m focusing on this current fight,” Galvao said. “I don’t care who my opponent is. I’m an employee of Bellator and I’ll fight whoever they put in front of me.”
A victory over Vila will put Galvao in the finals against Eduardo Dantas or Ed West. Galvao admitted they are both tough opponents and he is thrilled about the idea of possibly facing one of them in the finals.
With the demanding schedule that participating in a Bellator tournament calls for, Galvao has not had much time to himself since Season 5 began. The Brazilian admitted that when all is said and done he has an idea of where he would like to go.
“After the tournament is over I’m looking forward to spending quality time with my family and friends,” Galvao explained. “In fact, one of my childhood dreams has been to go to Disney World, so I think that’s what I’ll do.”
Disney World may be Galvao’s dream, but the Bellator Season 5 tournament is his reality.