Archive for July, 2012

Invicta spurns cable broadcast overtures, will stream next card online

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Invicta Fighting Championships co-owner Shannon Knapp said she had three cable broadcast offers on the table to telecast the promotion’s second event on Saturday, but she and partner Janet Martin opted to stream it for free online instead.

Invicta 2 will live stream its 14-fight, all-women’s card at 7 p.m. ET on Saturday from Kansas City, Kan., at invictafc.com, its official web site.

No doubt, Knapp and Martin are hoping for viewership as good as their first event’s stream numbers. According to figures shared with SI.com, Invicta 1 drew 233,580 unique visitors over its two-hour-plus, 11-fight free stream — a staggering total when male-only events draw 12 times less as many viewers on average.

“We wanted to go out there and do one more right now to show people that we can,” said Knapp, a 10-year veteran of the MMA promotion business. “I think that’s crucial in building our brand and message and what we’re about.”

Knapp said the first event’s stream logged in viewers from Europe, Asia, and Canada, in addition to the U.S., and she wanted to make the second show just as available to the public. After the second event, Knapp said she’ll revisit broadcast opportunities.

On Saturday, Invicta will announce a double-championship headliner for its third event in October in the 105- and 135-pound weight divisions. The 135-pound weight class is the most followed division in the U.S. at the moment, due much in part to the meteoric rise of outspoken Strikeforce champion Ronda Rousey.

Invicta 2 features seven bantamweight bouts, including the main event featuring 2004 Olympic wrestling silver medalist Sara McMann (5-0) against submission-savvy veteran Shayna Baszler (14-6).

– Loretta Hunt


  • Published On Jul 27, 2012
  • Gennady Golovkin to fight Grzegorz Proksa

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    Hard hitting WBA middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin has a new opponent. European middleweight champion Grzegorz Proksa will take on Golovkin on September 1st on HBO, Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, told SI.com

    The likely venue for the fight will be Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, N.Y.

    Golovkin (23-0) has been without an opponent since WBO title holder Dmitry Pirog withdrew from a scheduled August 25 fight with a back injury. Since then Proksa (28-1), a powerful, albeit anonymous, Polish fighter whose last 13 wins have come by knockout, has been rumored to be the frontrunner.

    “Ever since Proksa’s name was mentioned, I’ve had a lot of interest from people who like the fight,” Loeffler said. “Plus, a lot of people want to see Gennady live on US TV. Proksa is a solid opponent.”

    In the televised undercard, former junior middleweight titleholder Sergiy Dzinziruk, who has not fought since a lopsided loss to Sergio Martinez in March, 2011, will take on undefeated 154-pound prospect Jonathan Gonzalez.

    - Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jul 26, 2012
  • Adrien Broner misses weight, stripped of title ahead of HBO-televised fight

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    Adrien Broner weighed more than three pounds over the divisional limit for Saturday’s super featherweight championship defense against Vincente Escobedo (10 p.m. ET, HBO) and will forfeit his title.

    Broner came in at 133½ at Friday afternoon’s weigh-in, while Escobedo weighed 130 exactly for the WBO title fight at the U.S. Bank arena in Broner’s hometown of Cincinnati.

    The 22-year-old Broner, boxing’s youngest American world champion, faces the surrender of a percentage of his purse in addition to the loss of his title, which he won with a third-round knockout of Vicente Martin Rodriguez in November.

    Rolando Arellano, who manages Escobedo, told Ring magazine’s Lem Satterfield that he has preliminarily worked out a compromise with the state commission to hold a Saturday morning weigh-in at a 140-pound limit so the fight can still go ahead as scheduled.

    “We’re trying to come up with a solution here so that he doesn’t gain an unfair advantage,” Arellano said. “Typically, the way that you resolve these issues is that you do a second-day weigh-in, and basically he has to come in within a certain amount of weight.”

    While it appears Broner’s reign will end today, Escobedo could win the WBO title with an upset of the brash Cincinnatian (who is a 12-to-1 favorite) presuming the fight still happens.

    – Bryan Armen Graham


  • Published On Jul 20, 2012
  • 50 Cent entering boxing promotion, expected to sign Yuriorkis Gamboa

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    Rapper 50 Cent (second from right), a longtime friend of Floyd Mayweather, is launching a promotional outfit that’s said to include Yuriorkis Gamboa (right). (AP)

    NEW YORK — Rapper 50 Cent is getting into the boxing promoting business.

    The platinum selling artist, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, has founded TMT Promotions — short for The Money Team — which has been licensed in New York and, according to Nevada state athletic commissioner Keith Kizer, is in the process of applying for a license in Nevada.

    In addition to working with longtime friend and pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, industry sources say TMT Promotions is expected to sign former featherweight title holder Yuri Gamboa and super middleweight contender Andre Dirrell.

    A call to Mayweather Promotions CEO Leonard Ellerbe was not immediately returned.

    Last April, Mayweather hinted during a conference call to promote his fight against Miguel Cotto that Jackson would be getting involved in boxing.

    “I think he’s going to be involved on the promotion side,” Mayweather said. “We may even put him out there, let him fight on pay-per-view one time. So we don’t really know what the future holds, but he is getting involved with boxing.”

    – Chris Mannix


  • Published On Jul 20, 2012
  • Haye sets his sights on Vitali Klitschko after knocking out Chisora

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    David Haye, Dereck Chisora

    David Haye’s only losses came against Wladimir Klitschko last year and Carl Thompson in 2004. (Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)

    LONDON — Three thoughts from David Haye’s fifth-round knockout of Dereck Chisora …

    That was a heavyweight fight. The scuffle in Munich in February set the tone, and the animosity between Haye (26-2, 24 KOs) and Chisora didn’t dissipate a bit before the bell Saturday. The tension was soup-thick. When the bell rang, Haye and Chisora tore into each other, Chisora bulling forward, trying to back Haye into the ropes, Haye backing up, boxing, winging power shots when Chisora let his guard down.

    Chisora ate some big punches in the first four rounds, but it wasn’t until the fifth when Haye, backing up again, dropped him twice with a pair of crushing right hands. Chisora (15-4) got up after both but was badly hurt following the second one, forcing the referee to stop the fight.

    Read More…


  • Published On Jul 14, 2012
  • Chris Weidman makes a statement with elbows, words at UFC on Fuel TV 4

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    Chris Weidman (above) derailed Mark Munoz’s hopes for a title shot against Anderson Silva on Wednesday night in San Jose, Calif. (Ezra Shaw/Zuffa LLC)

    Nice 1-2 punch by Chris Weidman.

    The “1” was not actually a punch but an elbow, which connected to the head of Mark Muñoz and crumbled him in the main event of UFC on Fuel TV 4 on Wednesday night in San Jose, Calif. What a knockout blow. It knocked Muñoz out of the fight (at 1:37 of the second round, after Weidman had followed his fallen opponent to the mat and unleashed a finishing flurry that really wasn’t needed), out of the No. 1 contender position in the middleweight division and out of a presumed matchup with champion Anderson Silva.

    That brings us to the “2,” which also was not a punch. It was a verbal challenge. “I want Anderson Silva,” Weidman (9-0) said afterward in the cage. “Every single time I’ve had a full training camp, I’ve gotten a finish. Give me a full training camp, and I’d love a shot at the man.”

    Talk about seizing the moment. Weidman seized Muñoz’s — Mark was expected to be next in line for Silva, since he had been slated for a No. 1 contender’s showdown with Chael Sonnen back in January before injuring an elbow — and then the unbeaten New Yorker seized his own with the respectful but no-nonsense challenge.

    It wasn’t merely the victory that allowed Weidman to step to the front of the line. It was the way he won. He came into this fight as an underdog — although no one with any sense was counting him out because, well, we’d never seen him lose. But the thinking was that the title shot was Muñoz’s for the taking, and if he didn’t snatch it up, then guys like Michael Bisping and Alan Belcher would lay claim to it. But Bisping is coming off a loss and Belcher is no more high-profile a fighter than Weidman, and he doesn’t have the kind of signature win that Weidman authored on Wednesday night.

    How’d it happen? Once again, we were taught the enduring lesson of the octagon: Wrestling is different from MMA wrestling. Weidman was an All-American at Hofstra but his singlet credentials don’t measure up to those of Muñoz, who was the 2001 NCAA Division I champion at 197 pounds. On those wrestling mats, however, you can go for a takedown without worrying about a punch, knee or kick to the face. And it was within that context that Weidman seized control, getting a takedown in the bout’s first minute, then threatening Muñoz with submissions and punishing him with fists while the fighters were on the ground. Weidman also began the second round with a quick takedown. And when Muñoz got the fight back to standing and tried to change the momentum with a looping overhand right, Weidman was quicker to the punch. I mean, the elbow.

    It was Weidman’s moment to shine. And to think about the shiny brass-and-leather belt that’s long been in the possession of Anderson Silva. “My takedowns are pretty good,” he said. “I’ll get him down, and I think, I really do believe, that I can submit him.”

    That’s the kind of confidence you can pull off convincingly when you’ve never lost.

    –Jeff Wagenheim


  • Published On Jul 12, 2012
  • Five things we learned from UFC 148

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    Anderson Silva pounced on Chael Sonnen in Round 2 in moving to 30-4. (Mark J. Rebilas/US PRESSWIRE)

    Five things we learned from Anderson Silva’s second-round TKO victory over Chael Sonnen in Saturday’s rematch at the MGM Grand Garden Arena …

    1. A slip turned this fight around. The Chael Sonnen-Anderson Silva rematch started a lot like their first fight. Sonnen dominated the first round and was even in a good position for the last minute but couldn’t get a submission in. Things changed in the second: Silva blocked a few tough takedown attempts, Sonnen attempted a spinning kick – and slipped. It was over. Silva pounced, hit him with a killer knee to the body. That did enough damage; Silva didn’t let up, ending it with a TKO in the 1:55 of round two.

    2. Silva is in the discussion for the best mixed martial artist ever. Silva’s last win over Sonnen wasn’t a fluke, but he was dominated before winning on the late submission. This time Silva didn’t let it get that far. He had one small opening after Sonnen’s slip and essentially ended it there. He’s defended his title 10 times, a UFC record. The man hasn’t lost since a DQ in 2006 in Japan. He’s nearly unstoppable.

    3. Tito Ortiz lost, but went out like a Hall of Famer. It looked like Tito Ortiz might get a KO in his final round. He felled Forrest Griffin early in the third with a killer left hook — “I was lost for a second,” Griffin said — but Griffin rolled through after the punch and came on late in the third round to win a unanimous 29-28 decision in their rubber match.

    The crowd booed the decision, but Griffin landed way more strikes — even if Ortiz hit the highlight-reel punches. Ortiz was clearly gassed in the final two minutes of the fight and Griffin probably cemented his victory there even though he wasn’t able to put him away at the end.

    4. UFC delivered on the undercard. The UFC promoted this card like the second coming. Chael Sonnen called it “the biggest fight of all time.” Joe Rogan sounded like Gorilla Monsoon plugging the pay-per-view beforehand: “When I tell you that the air here is electric, I am not kidding. This has been the craziest week in Vegas… The weigh-in yesterday was the biggest weigh-in in Nevada combat sports history.”

    Counting the preliminary card, the first six fights went the distance. And then things picked up: Chad Mendes countered a Cody McKenzie kick with a killer body shot, ending it in 31 seconds. Then Demian Maia got in a good position on Dong Hyun Kim and broke his rib with a takedown 47 seconds in. Forty-year-old Cung Le getting his first UFC win kept things rolling before the co-main event. The early-arrving crowd was into everything, too, building a great atmosphere.

    The most fun extracurricular was after the Griffin-Ortiz fight: Griffin attempted to run to the back immediately after his fight ended, and Dana White chased after him until he was able to drag him back to the ring. There was something for everyone!

    5. Sometimes, watching UFC can hurt. The pre-PPV card was an all-decision affair. Fans even chanted “boring.” But there was a little action: John Alessio got kicked below the belt.

    Alessio took the worst of quite a few low blows on the night. There was a short delay while he recovered, but Alessio still went the distance, losing by unanimous decision to Shane Roller. That kick had to feel worse, though.

    – Dan McQuade


  • Published On Jul 08, 2012
  • UFC 148 undercard results and quotes

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    John Alessio (right) connects with Shane Roller during a three-round lightweight bout on the undercard of UFC 148 in Las Vegas. (Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

    LAS VEGAS — A look at the results from Saturday’s UFC 148 undercard fights at the MGM Grand Garden Arena:

    Forrest Griffin def. Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision

    Griffin: “I’m going to be linked to Tito forever. We have had three really close fights. He was throwing the kitchen sink at me and I was too tired to get out of the way. It always comes down to fatigue. I don’t know who won that fight to be honest. I’m going to need to watch that back.”

    Ortiz: “Forrest hit me with a little more strikes but that never hurt me. I dropped him a couple of times. I got a little tired. I’m not looking for any excuses — I fought a great fight.”

    “I put in the work – no excuses. I was at 100%. In my mind I was ready to fight. But Forrest was good, Forrest was tough. He came in to fight. I thought me dropping him would give me more points but I wasn’t looking for points – I was looking to knock him out, try to take him down and beat the (expletive) out of him.

    He won tonight. Looks like he doesn’t have to retire. I was retiring either way. I came in I gave it all – no regrets.”

    Cung Le def. Patrick Cote via unanimous decision

    Le: “This is one the biggest accomplishments in my career. To get my first UFC victory, I’m so happy.

    “He came in, he was very tough. I hit him real hard with him some kicks and one time he ducked and I clipped the top of his head. I could have swore I broke my foot but I said I’m going to gut it out and fight to the end because I don’t have any give up in me. I wanted to win.”

    Cote: “I thought it was tricky. I was about to push the pace but he had a lot better footwork than I was expecting.”

    Demian Maia def. Dong Hyun Kim via first-round TKO

    Maia: “It means a lot to win like this because I was having some problems in my camp. I was trying to bring my jiujitsu back so I did it my whole camp and concentrated on takedowns. That’s what took me to this point and helped me win tonight.”

    “It was a great test for me as he had just one loss. It was a great challenge. I’m very happy and I just want to fight again.”

    Chad Mendes def. Cody McKenzie via first-round TKO

    Mendes: “It’s very rewarding to go through a long and hard training camp with the best fighters in the world and to get in the Octagon and get it done fast like that. I had seen what he had done in past fights and I was prepared. I’m glad I’m here standing with you.”

    Mike Easton def. Ivan Menjivar via unanimous decision

    Easton: “It feels good. I’m very happy for the win. Ivan is an incredible fighter. Usually when I throw my power it offsets everything and I think my strategy helped me come away with the win tonight.”

    “I want to fight for a belt. That is my goal. I want to keep getting better, keep getting better and keep getting better.”

    Menjivar: “I realized I didn’t put much pressure. The judges gave it to him because he looked more aggressive even though he didn’t connect. I was too calm.”

    Melvin Guillard def. Fabricio Camoes via unanimous decision

    Guillard: “I went out – I wanted to fight hard, fight strong and get back in the winning column. I definitely didn’t play it safe but I had to be very smart and not get too wild and crazy and get caught. So, I took my last two fights that I lost and broke them down myself. In one (fight), I was too aggressive and the other I was too patient. This fight I wanted to be aggressive enough and still be patient so I think I was successful enough in that area.”

    Camoes: “I’m disappointed because you always want to step in the cage and win. My mistake was letting the decision go to the judges. I thought it was a good fight and I reached a few good positions, but ultimately, my mistake was that I shouldn’t have let it get to the point of going to a judges decision.”

    Khabib Nurmagomedov def. Gleison Tibau via unanimous decision

    Nurmagomedov: “The record wasn’t really that important to me. It was more about getting this victory – it was very important. It’s my second fight in the UFC. I had to get it.”

    “I think that my speed, agility and endurance was more to my advantage. He’s had a lot more fights than I’ve had but I’m younger and hungrier.”

    Tibau: “It was a hard fight. He controlled the fight a little more up against the cage so there were a lot of moments where it was tough to shake him off.”

    Constantinos Philippou def. Riki Fukuda via unanimous decision

    Philippou: “Honestly I couldn’t see (following being poked in the eye). But I knew I there was less than three minutes left so I moved around with what I could see out of my right (eye).”

    “I had the first two rounds, I was sure. I got a few punches at the end and gave the fans a little bit more but I disappointed them at the beginning. I wanted to finish and give them a bit better fight. Next time I want to give them a better show.”

    Fukuda: “This was my third fight in the UFC but the worst of the three. I couldn’t commit myself to get closer to him and be more aggressive. If I have another chance in UFC, I will be much more aggressive.”

    Shane Roller def. John Alessio via unanimous decision

    Roller: “It was a tough fight. I had to grind it out with him. Wrestling was the game plan but I have been working on my standup. He has good standup, but you know that’s part of MMA. It’s not a boxing match… He’s heavy handed and a pretty big guy and I felt his hands had good power.”

    “I approach every fight as a must-win. All my fights are pretty exciting fights.”

    Rafaello Oliveira def. Yoislandy Izquierdo via unanimous decision

    Oliveira: “That was awesome. I came from two losses in a row so there was a bit of pressure and I had a broken hand after my last fight.”

    “I want to keep coming through and I love this event, UFC 148. I’m really happy and grateful for this fight. His stand up was really good, but you know, you have 15 minutes to go in there and just do it it, so that is what I tried to do. Now I just want to get healthy and enjoy my family.”

    Izquierdo: “The way I look at it is I need to go back and work at my ground game. I need to put on more muscle because guys in the UFC seem to be stronger.”

    – SI.com staff


  • Published On Jul 07, 2012
  • Dan Henderson wants to teach Jon Jones a lesson at UFC 151

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    Dan Henderson (above) is embracing the underdog role ahead of his fight with light heavyweight champion Jon Jones. (Bryan Armen Graham/SI.com)

    LAS VEGAS — Dan Henderson thinks Jon Jones still has a lot to learn — and that he’s just the one to teach it to the youngest champion in UFC history when they meet in September.

    “He’s still young and unorthodox, that’s his biggest asset, [but] he’s young and sloppy a little bit,” Henderson said Saturday afternoon in the media center at the MGM Grand, just hours before tonight’s Anderson Silva-Chael Sonnen title fight. “He’s done well with his style but I feel like he’s never fought anybody like me.”

    Henderson sat at the long end of the dais, circled by a gaggle of media eager to discuss his forthcoming challenge for Jones’ UFC light heavyweight title. The fight, initially confirmed following Jones’ defense against Rashad Evans back in April, was officially announced Saturday for September 1 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

    The 41-year-old Henderson is a 4-to-1 underdog against Jones, who is coming off his third defense of the UFC light heavyweight title since becoming the youngest beltholder in the organization’s history in March 2011. The Rochester, N.Y., native has now beaten four current or former world champions in a row since a third-round TKO of Mauricio Rua to capture the UFC’s 205-pound strap.

    “For me it’s about beating the top guys out there, and everybody thinks he’s unbeatable,” Henderson said. “I love having the odds not in my favor.”

    Henderson said the sinewy Jones, who is 10-1 since joining the UFC (16-1 overall), poses some unique physical challenges — a 13-and-a-half reach advantage, for starters — yet nothing he won’t be prepared for.

    “I guess the difference is he’s got arms twice as long as everybody else I’ve fought,” Henderson said. “But it’s not rocket science. I’ve been doing it a while. There’s certain things I need to be careful for that he does well. I’ve just got to be aware of that, and implement what I want to do with him.”

    When asked about the 17-year age difference between the two, Henderson quipped, “I guess I’ll have to show him what he can look forward to.”

    The next time the UFC holds a card as big as tonight’s Silva-Sonnen headliner, it will be Henderson in the spotlight. For tonight he’s content to watch from the wings, where, appropriately, he expects another underdog to rise to the moment.

    “Chael,” he said matter-of-factly when asked for his prediction. “It seems like his head’s where it needs to be at.”

    – Bryan Armen Graham


  • Published On Jul 07, 2012
  • Thoughts from Wladimir Klitschko’s win over Tony Thompson

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    Wladimir Klitschko improved to 58-3 with Saturday’s win. (ALESSANDRO DELLA VALLE/EPA)

    BERN, Switzerland — Three thoughts from Wladimir Klitschko’s sixth round knockout win over Tony Thompson …

    1. Well, that was predictable — In 2008, Klitschko knocked Thompson out in the 11th round. It only took six this time around, and after an awkward first three rounds Klitschko started to tee off, putting Thompson down with a crushing — a crushing — right hand in the fifth and dropping him again in the sixth. Thompson beat the count, but couldn’t walk without the help of the rope and the referee wisely stopped the fight.

    The outcome was expected: Thompson is 40 and doesn’t have the kind of power a 6-foot-5 heavyweight might be expected to have. Klitschko’s team didn’t want any part of this fight, preferring some fresh meat. But Thompson was the IBF mandatory and Klitschko is never voluntarily giving up a piece of the title. Thompson came, he saw, and he went down, which given his status as a 33-1 underdog, is not at all surprising.

    2. Can Klitschko be beaten? — Anything can happen in boxing; Buster Douglas proved that. But Klitschko is so big, so disciplined, so powerful — that right hand he drilled Thompson with in the fifth round was the hardest punch I’ve ever seen — that beating him is going to be more complicated than a Rubik’s cube. At 36, Klitschko has little wear and tear on his body and is poised to be fighting at a high level into his early 40s.

    But let’s play the obligatory ‘who’s next’ game, shall we? The pool of opponents is pretty shallow. There is Chris Arreola, who is sending signals that he isn’t interested in fighting Klitschko this fall. There is Tomasz Adamek, who is available but unlikely, due to issues between the two promoters. There is Seth Mitchell, Bryant Jennings and Deontay Wilder, but none of those three are ready for that kind of fight.

    There is one intriguing opponent: Dereck Chisora. Chisora, if you recall, was scheduled to face Klitschko twice, only to have those fights canceled for various reasons. Next week, Chisora has a grudge match with countryman David Haye, who he brawled with after his loss to Vitali Klitschko in March. If Chisora wins that fight, he would seem like an ideal opponent for Klitschko.

    Klitschko, however, doesn’t sound interested. When I asked him about possibly facing the winner of Chisora-Haye, he answered tersely.

    “Two Klitschko losers are fighting,” Klitschko said. “Why should I care?”

    3. Got motivation? — There are a couple of things that keep Klitschko training at a high level. First, the undisputed championship. Klitschko’s brother, Vitali, holds the WBC belt, the lone piece of the heavyweight pie Wladimir doesn’t have. Wladimir doesn’t begrudge his brother for having the belt, but those around him say he wants it. Badly. Vitali is scheduled to defend his title in September, after which he will turn his full attention to the Ukrainian parliament elections. It’s possible he could retire, vacating the belt and giving Wladimir the opportunity to become the undisputed champ.

    The other thing is his legacy. Joe Louis holds the heavyweight record for consecutive title defenses, with 25. The win over Thompson was Klitschko’s 13th defense. Reaching that mark, friends say, is important to Klitschko, and will help to keep him sharp when it seems like so many of his opponents are overmatched.


  • Published On Jul 07, 2012


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