May 19, 2013 5:38:40 PM
Mark Hunt visa issues resolved, fight with dos Santos a go
Mark Hunt's short national nightmare apparently is over.
The heavyweight, slated for the co-main event this Saturday at UFC 160 in Las Vegas, had been stuck in Australia due to a visa issue, threatening his trip to the States to compete in what amounts to the biggest fight of his MMA career.
But on Sunday, Hunt posted on hisTwitter account that he has obtained his visa, clearing the way for him to head to the other side of the world for Saturday's fight. Hunt also this past Friday received his license from the Nevada State Athletic Commission for the bout.
Hunt (9-7 MMA, 4-1 UFC) will fight former heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos (15-2 MMA, 9-1 UFC) at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in what is expected to be a title eliminator, with the winner very likely moving on to meet the winner of the night's main event current champ Cain Velasquez and top contender Antonio Silva.
The UFC 160 main card airs on pay-per-view following prelims on FX and Facebook.
With Hunt still stuck in Australia this past week, he participated in a conference call with media members and said he was hopeful the situation would be sorted out. And UFC officials said a team was working on the problem and was confident Hunt would be in the United States by week's end.
That timetable won't quite prove to be accurate, but at the very least Hunt should be in Las Vegas by the UFC's standard fight week time table, which typically has fighters arriving on Tuesday for a Saturday event.
That may not be exactly ideal for Hunt, who has said that a previous fight in Las Vegas that had him in town just four days ahead of the fight had him feeling sluggish.
"I'm just running out of time to get over there and acclimatize," Hunt said on this past Tuesday's media call.
Hunt said the problem leading to his visa issue arose from "a stupid misunderstanding" and "something that happened a long time ago," apparently a past legal issue that was holding up the process.
But with the visa hurdle cleared, the former PRIDE fighter and standout kickboxer now is set for his fight with Dos Santos – with the knowledge that UFC President Dana White has said a dominant performance could earn Hunt a shot at the belt. The New Zealand native, who now lives in Australia, has won four straight, including a "Knockout of the Night" win over Stefan Struve in March.
Hunt stepped in for Alistair Overeem, who was scheduled to fight Dos Santos, but pulled out with an injury.
May 19, 2013 5:32:34 PM
Aldo-Pettis, Maia-Koscheck set for UFC 163 in Rio de Janeiro
The UFC next returns to Brazil next month for UFC on FUEL TV 10. But in August, a return to Rio de Janerio has been confirmed.
The UFC 163 pay-per-view, as expected, will take place Aug. 3 at HSBC Arena. The card will be headlined by a featherweight title fight between champ Jose Aldo(22-1 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Anthony Pettis (16-2 MMA, 3-1 UFC), who drops down from lightweight, where he was the top contender.
In addition, a welterweight bout between Demian Maia (18-4 MMA, 9-4 UFC) and Josh Koscheck (17-7 MMA, 15-7 UFC) also is official for the card.
UFC officials made the announcement at the post-event news conference for UFC on FX 8, whichMMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) attended. UFC on FX 8 took place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil.
Though HSBC Arena has long been expected to host the event in Rio, as previously reported, final contracts had not yet been finalized. But that hurdle has been cleared, paving the way for the UFC's fourth trip to the city in the past two years.
Aldo will come into the fight on a 15-bout win streak. He hasn't lost since 2005. In February, he beat former lightweight champ Frankie Edgar by unanimous decision in his first fight in more than a year.
Pettis beat Donald Cerrone in January and was named the top contender for Benson Henderson's lightweight title, riding a three-fight win streak. But he asked for a chance to move down and challenge Aldo and received it.
Koscheck has lost back-toback fights for the first time in his career. He dropped a split decision toJohny Hendricks at UFC on FOX 3, then was knocked out by Robbie Lawler this past February at UFC 157. He'll fight in Brazil for the first time.
Maia has won three straight since dropping down to welterweight, including a dominant performance over former title challenger Jon Fitch at UFC 156 in February.
May 19, 2013 5:26:51 PM
Belfort, "Jacare," Larsen, Martins win UFC on FX 8 OTN bonuses
Vitor Belfort, Ronaldo Souza, Lucas Martins and Jeremy Larsen each earned $50,000 bonuses for their performances at Saturday's UFC on FX 8 event.
Belfort earned the "Knockout of the Night," Souza won "Submission of the Night" and Martins and Larsen picked up "Fight of the Night" honors.
UFC officials announced the winners following Saturday's card.
UFC on FX 8 took place at Arena Jaragua in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil. The main card aired on FX following prelims on FUEL TV and Facebook.
In the main event, Belfort (23-10 MMA, 12-6 UFC) turned in one of the best knockouts in recent memory when he drilled Luke Rockhold (10-2 MMA, 0-1 UFC) with a spinning back kick flush on the chin. Rockhold, the final Strikeforce middleweight champion, dropped immediately and Belfort finished him on the ground. It was the second straight head kick knockout win in Brazil for Belfort after losing a light heavyweight title fight to Jon Jones this past September.
Souza (18-3 MMA, 1-0 UFC) made an impressive UFC debut by submitting Chris Camozzi (19-6 MMA, 6-3 UFC) with a first-round arm-triangle choke. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion made easy work of Camozzi, who took the fight on short notice, moving up the card from a fight against Rafael Natal when Constantinos Philppou pulled out of the fight with Souza with an injury.
Martins (13-1 MMA, 1-1 UFC) and Jeremy Larsen (8-4 MMA, 0-2 UFC) battled back and forth for the first two rounds of the night's opening fight, trading big bombs and momentum swings. Although the first 10 minutes were a little short on technical mastery, they were high on excitement. But quickly in the third, Larsen walked right into a Martins punch while landing one of his own, and he was out on the canvas with two Martins follow-up shots for good measure.
May 19, 2013 12:34:45 AM
UFC on FX 8 main card recap: Vitor stuns, "Jacare" puts Camozzi to sleep, Natal, dos Anjos earn decisionsSource: UFC on FX 8 started a tad slow, but finished strong with a slick submission and vicious knockout. In the night’s main event, UFC veteran Vitor Belfort annihilated forever Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. In a moment of hilarity, Rockhold fell when attempting a head kick at the beginning of the bout, but hopped up before Belfort could attack. Belfort threw an, out of character, spinning head-kick that came nowhere near connecting with Rockhold. Vitor displayed his quick hands and stalked Rockhold down with punches, but the former Strikeforce standout didn’t absorb a lot of damage. Then, Belfort attempted another spinning head-kick, only this time his heel planted directly on Rockhold’s temple. The UFC debutant collapsed to the ground and Belfort finished him off with a few punches. Belfort has won four of his last five outings- that sole loss came against UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones- and he finished those four adversaries. The victory surely places Belfort extremely close to title contention. Rockhold, though, lost the fight and had a nine-fight winning streak put to an end, should still be a Top 10 middleweight in the UFC. In the opening round of his first UFC bout, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza put a stop to Chris Camozzi. Camozzi kept his distance in an effort to avoid a Souza’s takedowns. “Jacare” got a hold of Camozzi, but the American reversed Souza against the cage. Souza broke away and then accomplished a takedown. Camozzi did exceptionally well defending Souza’s superb transitions, but the inevitable ensued. “Jacare” worked intelligently, while utilizing his craftiness until sinking in an arm-triangle choke. Within seconds Camozzi was unconscious and referee Mario Yamasaki stepped in to end the match. Souza won his UFC debut and extended his win streak to four straight victories. The former Strikeforce middleweight champion also requested the winner of the main event on UFC on FX 8, Belfort, following his submission of Camozzi. Camozzi, due to the loss, had his four-fight win streak broken. Rafael dos Anjos won a close decision against Evan Dunham at UFC on FX 8. Dunham was on the defense for the first minute of the bout, but turned up the pace by mid-round. Dunham showed good speed, but didn’t utilize his reach to it’s full potential. While dos Anjos was mixing up a wide variety of strikes, Dunham was basically boxing and throwing the odd leg kick, nonetheless, the fight stayed eventful. Dunham got dos Anjos to the mat, but after a lackluster minute, the referee stood the combatants up. In Round 2, Dunham started with a flurry of hard punches and hit a double-leg takedown. It wasn’t long before dos Anjos was up and retaliating. Dunham opened a cut on dos Anjos’ right eyebrow, but the Brazilian was winning the exchanges on their feet. Dunham managed to get a takedown at the end of the second frame, but the buzzer sounded immediately after the two fighters hit the mat. Round 3 looked similar to the opening frame, as Dunham used boxing and a minimal amount of leg kicks, while dos Anjos mixed up strikes. Dunham could not complete a takedown, but he kept dos Anjos guessing. Both combatants put on an exciting show towards the end of the bout by standing in the pocket and tagging each other with punches until the time clock expired. Dos Anjos won the match via decision (29-28x3) and is on a four-fight win streak. Dunham, however, is 3-2 in his last five fights. Rafael Natal, through a combination of intelligent striking, smooth Brazilian jiu-jitsu and an opponent’s exhaustion, defeated UFC newcomer João Zeferino. Zeferino and Natal spent a large part of possible heel-hook positions. They stayed just busy enough to not get stood up by the referee due to lack of action, but the strikes thrown were not effective. The two mixed martial artists were eventually instructed by the referee to stand up, but with only 25 seconds left in the opening frame not much was attempted before the round ended. Zeferino attempted a high number of kicks and punches, but Natal remained calm and evaded any damage. As Zeferino tired, he attempted an effortless takedown that Natal denied with ease. Zeferino, on the ground from a punch Natal hit him with, laid exhausted and “Sapo” dropped into his opponent’s guard with a punch. Natal finished the round on top of Zeferino, battering him with punches. Natal pressed forward in Round 3. He elevated his output of strikes, yet avoided a drained Zeferino’s attacks. Natal took down Zeferino midway through the round and started working for a submission. “Sapo” continued bashing Joao Zeferino with fists when he couldn’t nail a submission until the match finalized. Natal won a decision (30-27, 29-28x2) and is now and has won two consecutive bouts since losing to Andrew Craig in July 2012. Zeferino’s UFC debut and seven-fight win streak were spoiled with the loss." target="ext_news">mmadiehards.com
May 18, 2013 8:54:08 PM
UFC on FX 8 preliminary card recapSource: The UFC on FX 8 preliminary card was a six-fight card full of knockouts, submissions, and back and forth battles. Nik Lentz defeated Hacran Dias in a back and forth, exciting, action packed bout. Lentz put the pressure on Dias right out of the gate. The grappling from both combatants was technical and aggressive, with reversals and defense in check. Neither fighter got the better of one another, but kept the action going until Round 1 ended. Lentz dropped Dias with a knee, but was hesitant to follow up and the Brazilian had a few seconds to regain composure. Lentz took the fight to the mat and sat in half guard, while punishing Dias relentlessly with elbows. Dias did eventually get back to his feet for a short period of time before being placed on his back again. Lentz finished the round in mount position, continuously hitting Dias with punches and elbows. In Round 3, both combatants were swinging for the win. Dias was clipping Lentz with punches, which led to the American attempting a takedown, yet he was unsuccessful. When pressed up against the cage, Lentz hit a guillotine-choke, but Dias escaped and reversed into an arm-triangle choke. Lentz held on, but appeared to be close to tapping out. In the final minute of the bout, both mixed martial artists were standing and trading punches, still trying to finish the fight. Lentz won a decision (29-28x2, 28-27) and is on a three-fight win streak. Dias had his nine-fight win streak snapped after losing to Lentz. Francisco Trinaldo defeated Mike Rio with some very impressive submission skills. Rio searched for a couple of takedowns and ate a punch in order to get the fight to the ground. Trinaldo withstood Rio’s attacks on the mat and got back to his feet. The Brazilian accomplished a takedown of his own, in spectacular fashion to boot, which led to the finish. Trinaldo secured an arm-triangle choke, but what made it unique was the fact that he pulled it off from half guard. It’s seldom seen, but Trinaldo made Rio tap from the submission that is usually applied from side guard. Trinaldo has won two consecutive matches via arm-triangle choke and has only lost once in the Octagon. Rio, aside from losing on “The Ultimate Fighter 16,” had a three-fight win streak come to an end. Gleison Tibau picked up the first submission of UFC on FX 8 with a win over John Cholish. Tibau, to no one’s surprise, hit a takedown on Cholish right after the opening bell. Cholish, however, escaped the side-control of Tibau. Cholish showed good footwork and striking, though, it didn’t affect Tibau’s performance. Tibau was able to complete another takedown before the frame ended, which undoubtedly earned him the round. Cholish was a little more creative with his striking in Round 2, even attempting a flying-knee. But Tibau was more powerful and hurt Cholish with a left punch. Cholish became wobbly, and Tibau took down his opponent. The Brazilian latched on guillotine-choke that forced Cholish to tap before going unconscious. The submission places Tibau back in the win column after losing to Evan Dunham at UFC 156. Cholish is on a two-fight losing skid after suffering a loss to Tibau. Paulo Thiago bested UFC newcomer Michel Prazeres in a three-round match. Prazeres came rushing out of his corner in an attempt to take Thiago down, but the BOPE officer managed to stay on his feet. The first round was mainly a back and forth grappling match, but neither combatant accomplished anything significant. In Round 2, Thiago punished Prazeres with a knee to the midsection and followed his opponent to the canvas. Prazeres defended Thiago’s transitions on the mat and got back to his feet. He then pinned Thiago on the canvas, against the cage and worked his ground and pound. But, in such high level of grappling match, Thiago snuck out from under Prazeres and ended up on top of “Trator” as the frame finalized. It was either combatant’s fight to win in the last round. Thiago was the more aggressive fighter off the hop, but Prazeres was able to nullify or absorb strikes coming from the UFC veteran. Thiago stayed relentless in his attacks, but the match eventuated to a decision. Thiago walked away from the cage as the winner (29-28 on all judges’ scorecards). He is now in the win column after losing two consecutive bouts. Prazeres lost for the first time in his professional career and now owns a record of 16-1. Yuri Alcantara wasted no time getting rid of Illiard Santos. Santos took the fight on short notice, and the bout was short lived. Alcantara hit Santos with a left straight that collapsed his opponent and then swarmed on him with a flurry of punches. The referee immediate halted the action and Alcantara won the match via TKO in Round 1. Alcantara has won back-to-back bouts in the UFC, both by way of TKO. Santos’ Octagon debut resulted in a loss and put an end to his seven-fight unbeaten streak. After a sketchy opening, Fabio Maldonado earned a much needed victory against Roger Hollet. Not even one minute into the bout, Maldonado was the victim of a brutal groin shot from a spinning back-kick thrown by Hollet. After a short rest, Maldonado returned to his feet and the match continued. Hollet, out of respect to Maldonado’s elite boxing skills, was quick to take the fight to the ground. Though, it was a lackluster opening to the bout, Hollet avoided damage and controlled his opponent for the majority of Round 1. Hollet, surprisingly, landed a number of punches on the Brazilian near the beginning of the second frame. However, Maldonado went to work on Hollet’s body, then went upstairs and starting landing punches on the Canadian’s head. Hollet was clearly becoming fatigued from the damage but escaped the round. Round 3 was all Maldonado. When he wasn’t landing punches, Maldonado was egging on Hollet. Maldonado turned up the pace and battered Hollet until the fight ended. Hollet showed toughness by hanging in there, but Maldonado was declared the winner via decision (29-27x2, 29-28). Maldonado snapped a three-fight losing skid with the win. The victory was Maldonado’s first since October 2010. Hollet is now on a two-fight losing streak and remains winless in the UFC." target="ext_news">mmadiehards.com